JOY… and PAIN 

The Black German Heritage & Research Association in Africana Studies at Rutgers University-Camden and the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, are pleased to invite you celebrate the Seventh International Conference.

This year’s three-day, virtual event, JOY… and PAIN, will be held on February 22-24, 2024 and will be free and open to the public.“Frankie Beverly and Maze have never lied,” comments Dr. Keith Green, BGHRA Executive Director of Events & Publications. This moment, this life, in which the pairing of two simple words, joy and pain, succinctly articulates the human condition. This year’s annual BGHRA Conference: Joy…and Pain, invites us to consider what means to hold space for both, to understand that at the core, exists love.


February 22-24, 2024


Registration is free and open to the general public. The event will be held virtually from February 22-24, 2024.

Artwork titled “22 June, 2023”  by Zari Harat.



The BGHRA Conference’s film events are  made possible through the generosity of the  Rutgers Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice.

Our registered guests will have the opportunity to view our featured films  Black DeutchlandThe Black Museum and I AM and to join in conversation with the award-winning German filmmakers, Oliver Hardt   and Jerry Hoffman.

The Black Museum

The Black Museum

Documentary, Germany/USA 2018, 52 min.

A journey through the spectacular National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.. Through 100,000 square feet of exhibition space spread across eight levels, the museum explores America’s history and culture through the lens of the African American experience. Interviews with the project’s key figures give detailed insight into the challenges and conflicts during the formative stage of the museum and its overwhelming success during its first year of operation.

US festival premiere: BlackStar Film Festival, August 2018
European festival premiere: Lichter Filmfest Frankfurt International, April 2018
African festival premiere: iRep International Docfilm Festival, Lagos, March 2023

TV premiere Europe: Arte, April 2018
TV premiere worldwide: Deutsche Welle TV, May 2019

For festival inquiries please send an e-mail to:

TV world sales: NEW DOCS, Cologne

(Synopsis long)
For a hundred years it was demanded, dismissed, and postponed. But never given up. Since September 2016 it stands like a bronze beacon in the middle of Washington D.C. – the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Through 100,000 square feet of exhibition space spread across eight levels, the museum explores America’s history through the lens of the African American experience. In its first year, the museum has attracted more than 3 million visitors. The success of the project serves as a reminder that design and advanced storytelling can challenge the dominant political discourse and enable a diverse conversation.

“The Black Museum“ takes the audience on a journey through the building and the exhibitions—from the dark and low-ceilinged basement where everything starts with the history of slavery and freedom, segregation and the civil rights movement, to the upper, light-flooded galleries dedicated to African American music, visual arts and contemporary culture. Interviews with the project’s key figures give detailed insight into the challenges and conflicts during the formative stage of the museum and its overwhelming success during its first year. Additionally, the museum´s curators deliver intriguing background stories about the exhibitions and artefacts.

Among the interviewees are NMAAHC founding director Lonnie Bunch, the chairman of the museum council, former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, Columbia architecture professor Mabel O. Wilson, the lead designer of the project, architect Sir David Adjaye.

AIA DC Summer Film Series, Washington D.C. 2022
Kunstsalon, Kunstverein Hannover 2022
Café Archi, Maison de l‘Architecture de Guadeloupe 2022
Goethe Pop Up – Shaping the Past, Goethe Institute Houston 2020 (online)
Goethe Pop Up – Shaping the Past, Goethe Institute Kansas City 2020 (online)
Raumwelten Stuttgart/Ludwigsburg 2020
Counter Geographies, Architektur.Film.Sommer, Wien 2020
Black Lives Matter, Arte Special 2020
Milano Design Film Festival 2019
Architecture + Design Film Festival, New Orleans 2019
Architecture + Design Film Festival, Winnipeg, 2019
Architecture + Design Film Series, Burlington, VT 2019
BlackStar Filmfestival, Philadelphia 2018
Lichter Filmfest Frankfurt International 2018

Written and directed by Oliver Hardt / Cinematography Harald Schmuck / Sound Tobias Schinko, Mike Glöckner / Editing & Color Grading Martin Hoffmann / Music Albrecht Kunze / Sound Mix Kai Powalla / Research Anke Broszio / Graphic Design Markus Weisbeck, Christina Kral / Executive Producer Harald Schmuck, Durchblick TV / Producer Oliver Hardt, signature films / Commissioning Editor ZDF-Arte Kathrin Brinkmann

© ZDF / Durchblick TV / signature films 2018

Black Deutschland

Black Deutschland (2006/2020)

Available on Vimeo on Demand
Germany 2006, 52 min. / HD remastered in 2020

The tv documentary BLACK DEUTSCHLAND is an intimate study of how a not so small minority in Germany thinks and feels. It explores how images and counter-images, life-concepts and their reflection in the media mutually condition one another. How all of this becomes a social reality in which age-old clichés and prejudices continue to exist quite independent of people’s good or bad intentions.

Featuring Darius James, Sam Meffire, Vincent Mewanu, Tyron Ricketts, Noah Sow, Michael Basden, Ayana V. Jackson

Written and directed by Oliver Hardt
Produced by Christel Brunn, tvt film+vfx
Directors of Photography Harald Schmuck, Sebastian Frey
Sound Artur Wjeloch
Editing Anna Demisch
Online Editing Gregory Schuchmann
Graphic Design Nina Schaarschmidt
Title Animations VJ Holofx a.k.a Michael Basden, Michael Wagner
Sound Mix Jörg Kunzer
Production Managers Gerhard Hehrlein / hr, Sandra Moll / tvt film+vfx
Commissioning Editors Joachim Faulstich / hr, Pascale Cornuel / arte




Synopsis short

One day, the withdrawn Noé finds a motionless android in the forest, takes it with her and reactivates it. It’s the beginning of a strange relationship. Far too late, Noé realizes that the android is about to copy her personality.

Synopsis long

Noé has withdrawn to a small forest house to give herself room to grieve her recently deceased sister. One day, during one of her daily walks in the forest, she suddenly came across the motionless figure of a black woman lying on the ground with rigid limbs and open eyes. Her body is covered with moss, but she shows no sign of decay. It’s an android: ELA.

Noé decides to take ELA with her, clean her and charge her battery. The android activates and immediately wants to make friends with Noé. However, Noé regards ELA only as a machine, while she is extremely fascinated by her, she does not treat her with the same respect and empathy as a human. ELA tries everything to get Noé to perceive her as a person. She lets her elaborate small talk program run mercilessly. But it all seems hollow, impersonal, programmed. Only when ELA begins to imitate Noé’s behavior, her finders attitude begins to change.

More and more, Noé is getting used to the android’s presence. She is no longer annoyed, but begins to enjoy the company. Little by little she thaws out and begins to talk about herself. The buried pain over the difficult relationship with her dead sister comes to the surface. There is something liberating about the conversations with ELA. But Noé does not realize how much ELA is copying her personality more and more. ELA is also changing physically. Her hair takes the shape of Noé’s hair. She picks out clothes that are similar to Noé’s clothes. Gestures and facial expressions as well as the way of speaking are also copied more and more perfectly by ELA. Not until this identity theft is nearly complete, Noé realizes what’s going on and gets scared. Will there be two of her from now on? Or will there be a decisive battle?


I AM © Hamburg Media School Germany 2021 Length: 26:40 Min Language: German Genres: Sci-Fi, Horror, Drama, FemaleLead, AfroGerman, EuropeanBlackCinema Aspect Ratio: 1:1,85 Final Student Project Distributer/Sales Agent: Kurzfilm Agentur Hamburg e.V.



Malick Bauer

photo credit: Pascal Bünning

Malick Bauer can currently be seen worldwide in the titular role of the first German Disney+ series “Sam – A Saxon”. (Disney+ worldwide on HULU in the US)
This entrance on the global stage also lead to “best actor” nominations at the DEUTSCHER FERNSEHPREIS & JUPITER AWARDS on a national level. In 2023 he also took on a dubbing role in the film TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – MUTANT MAYHEM.
Bauer was born and resides in Germany.
He gained his first acting experience in Hamburg before completing his acting studies at the “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” University of Music and Theater in Leipzig. Meanwhile he played at the “neues Theater” in Halle. This was followed by 2 years at the prestigious Volksbühne Berlin and collaborations with directors such as Pınar Karabulut, Claudia Bauer and Susanne Kennedy. In the 2022/2023 season he moved to the Berliner Ensemble. In addition to his theater work, he can also be seen on German television, including: in “Frau Jordan stellt gleich” and “Wir.” For MDR Kultur he was the speaker for the contributions “Trauma Injustice” and “The Forbidden Rainbow”.

Mariama Diagne

“White Shadows” Poetic Steps of Healing in Afro Diasporic Performance and Thought

Mariama Diagne (Dr. phil.), is a dance scholar. Trained as a dancer at the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City, she took up the study of theater, media, and music at the University of Bayreuth after her professional dance practice and graduated with a master’s and doctorate in dance studies from the Free University of Berlin. In 2019, her book Schweres Schweben (heavy hovering) was published, in which she contextualized qualities of gravity and juxtaposed them with Pina Bausch’s movement language. Her study was awarded the Tiburtius Prize of the Berlin Universities (2019) and the Dance Science Prize NRW (2021). After research and teaching in Berlin (FU) and Vienna (mdw), she has been conducting research since 2022 at the Collaborative Research Center 1512 “Intervening Arts” at Freie Universität Berlin. In her work she investigates the intertwining of theory and practice and sets her focus on questions regarding subaltern perspectives and practices on (de/re)canonizations. With a poetological approach and anti-colonial re-readings of cultural history, she dedicates her work to procedures of diasporic writing within and alongside the canon of the (performing) arts and their social location. As a freelance dramaturge, she accompanies artists in performance and text (among others at Ballhaus Naunynstraße Berlin) in the context of anti-colonial post-migrant perspectives. From 2019-2023 she chaired the board of the Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (gtf), has been a member of the UNESCO Commission for National Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2022, and a member of the jury for the German Dance Award since 2023.

Oliver Hardt

Oliver Hardt is a director, writer and filmmaker based in Frankfurt am Main. After training and working as a theatre director and dramatic advisor, he established himself as a filmmaker in various fields.

In his documentaries, Oliver explores the social and aesthetic dimensions of architecture, design and contemporary art with a strong emphasis on black history and culture. His roster of internationally acclaimed films includes Black Deutschland (2006), a cinematic exploration of black life in Germany; The United States of Hoodoo (2011), a road trip to the spiritual sources of African-American culture; David Adjaye – Collaborations (2015), a portrait of the Ghanaian-British star architect through the eyes of his friends, collaborators, and clients; and The Black Museum (2018), a documentary feature about the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.. In 2023, Oliver won the Hessian Film Prize for his screenplay Jumoke which he wrote in preparation for his feature film debut.

Oliver´s work has been presented internationally at film festivals such as IDFA, Doku.Arts Filmfestival Berlin, Milano Design Film Festival, International Festival of Films on Art Montreal, BlackStar Filmfest Philadelphia, Revelation International Filmfestival Perth as well as at major art and design institutions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Garage Museum Moscow, Haus der Kunst Munich, the Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Deutsches Architekturmuseum Frankfurt, and the Design Museum London. His films are available worldwide on multiple VOD-platform sites.

In addition to his practice as a filmmaker and screenwriter, Oliver regularly writes texts for art magazines and curates film programs for cultural institutions in Germany.


Jerry Hoffmann


Jerry is a writer, director and actor with German and Ghanaian roots. His various short films were hugely acclaimed and screened at numerous international film festivals. I AM won the HBO Max Best Short Film Award at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, was a finalist at the 2021 Student Academy Awards and is an illustration of Jerry’s artistic flair for bold and immersive storytelling and his commitment to amplifying Black talent and perspectives. A member of the German Film Academy, Jerry is a fierce and vocal advocate for greater representation on and off- screen and has used his platform to address the lack of diversity in European Film and TV. His thesis on the history of structural racism in German film and theatre earned him the prestigious Fulbright scholarship and a place to study film production and directing at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. As an actor he is currently shooting THE NEXT LEVEL, can be seen in the Turkish Netflix series YAKAMOZ S-245, wrapped on a Netflix film and a vampire series for Amazon. His passion lies in telling inclusive and empowering stories that have been previously overlooked & bringing visually cinematic narratives to screen in a new, innovative and exciting way. Hoffmann is repped by Creative Artist Agency.

Peggy Piesche

Peggy Piesche, born and raised in the GDR, is a Black German literary and cultural scholar. At the Federal Agency for Civic Education, she heads the “Political Education and Plural Democracy” department at the new Gera location, focusing on intersectional transformation and memory knowledge, diversity, intersectionality and decoloniality (d_id) and racism-critical political education. It focuses on social dimensions and risks of discrimination and works with different communities to develop strategies for breaking down and overcoming barriers to participation. She has been active in the Black (German) movement since 1990 and is a member of ADEFRA e.V. (Black Women in Germany). She is also on numerous advisory boards, including the new Equality Advisory Board on Anti-Black Racism and Equality for People of African Descent as part of the UN Decade of the State of Berlin. She therefore continues to envision a Black feminist education center.


Peggy Piesche, geboren und aufgewachsen in der DDR, ist eine Schwarze deutsche Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaftlerin. In der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung leitet sie den Fachbereich „Politische Bildung und plurale Demokratie“ am neuen Standort Gera mit den Schwerpunkten intersektionales Transformations- und Erinnerungswissen, Diversität, Intersektionalität und Dekolonialität (d_id) und rassismuskritischer politischer Bildung. Dieser nimmt gesellschaftliche Diskriminierungsdimensionen und -risiken in den Blick und entwickelt gemeinsam mit unterschiedlichen Communities Strategien zum Abbau und der Überwindung von Partizipationsbarrieren. In der Schwarzen (deutschen) Bewegung ist sie seit 1990 aktiv und Mitfrau* bei ADEFRA e.V. (Schwarze Frauen in Deutschland). Sie ist darüber hinaus in zahlreichen Beiräten, u.a. in dem neuen Gleichstellungsbegleitgremium zu anti-Schwarzen Rassismus und Gleichstellung von Menschen afrikanischer Herkunft im Rahmen der UN Dekade des Landes Berlin. Deshalb visioniert sie auch weiterhin ein Schwarzes feministisches Bildungshaus.

Lena Whooo

Create to feel and write to heal – Lena Whooo on how creative processes help overcome pain with joy

Lena Whooo (29, Berlin based) a dedicated artist focused on amplifying the voices and experiences of the black queer community in Germany and worldwide, using their work to explore reflection, processing, emotional awareness and healing within the QTIBIPOC community.
Their art is an expressive release, mirroring their emotions and offering others the same opportunity for introspection. With a distinctive style that includes elements like their gendernonconforming cubedudes and the signature hashtag #whooomadethis, they are a versatile and passionate creator who spans various artistic genres, from TV and camera acting to poetry, sketching, and multimedia content creation such as soundscapes, cover artworks and animated lyric videos.

Elisabeth Clarke-Hasters

Elisabeth Clarke-Hasters, BGHRA Consultant: Arts & Culture studied classical ballet and modern dance in Philadelphia, in North Carolina and at the School of American Ballet in New York She began her acting studies at age 13, and was a member of the Children’s Repertory Theatre in Philadelphia and the Poor People’s Theatre in New York. She was also a member of the Dance Theater of Harlem. She came to Europe in 1971to study at the Mudra school of Maurice Béjart, and danced with the Ballet du XXème Siècle. Before turning to choreography and teaching she worked extensively with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pina Bausch, and performed as an actress in the municipal theaters of Köln, Düsseldorf and Koblenz.
Clarke-Hasters has been a choreographer for the Salzburg Festival, the Burgtheater Wien, the Maggio Musi-cale in Florence, the Oper Leipzig, among others. She was assistant school director at the Arturo Schauspielschule in Köln, and school director at Die Etage in Berlin, where she also led the dance department until 2018. She has also developed several programs for dance in schools, specifically combining dance composition and STEM curriculum. In 2010 she completed her training as a per-sonal development coach and is presently developing several new programs, including a coaching program specifically for People of Color.

Sonya Donaldson

Sonya Donaldson, BGHRA Executive Director of Media & Archive is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Colby College. She is currently completing her book manuscript, Irreconcilable Differences?: Memory, History, and the Echoes of Diaspora. She has also launched a digital humanities project, “Singing the Nation into Being: Anthems and the Politics of Black Performance,” which focuses on “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” (also known as The Black National Anthem). She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where her research focused on Afro-German autobiographical narratives. Dr. Donaldson’s academic research centers on the intersections of race, gender, class, sexual identity, and technologies

Keith Green

Keith Green is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Africana Studies Program at Rutgers–Camden. Dr. Green’s main research and teaching interests lie in African American literature, with more specific investments in the study of the antebellum era, self-referential writing, African-Native American literature, and slave narratives. He has delivered papers on Nat Turner, Harriet Jacobs, Henry Bibb, and William Wells Brown. His current book project, Not Just Slavery: African Americans Write Captivity Narratives, Too: 1816-1879, explores the various kinds of bondage and confinement–specifically Indian slavery, Barbary captivity, and state imprisonment–African Americans experienced and recounted in the nineteenth century.

Rosemarie Peña

Rosemarie Peña is the founder and president of the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA). In this role, she has co-produced and hosted five international academic conferences on Black European Studies.Rosemarie earned bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and German and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Childhood Studies at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. Her research explores displaced childhoods with a special focus on the historical and contemporary intersections of transnational adoption and child migration. Her dissertation, The Rekinning: Portraying Postwar Black German Transnational Adoption, is a discourse analysis of two historical documentary films.

Rosemarie has presented at numerous conferences and is a frequently invited keynote speaker internationally. She is a contributing author in several edited volumes published in both German and English. Her peer reviewed articles have appeared in The Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood, Genealogy Journal, and the Journal of Adoption and Culture. Rosemarie’s most recent essay, “Black Germans: Reunifying in Diaspora” appears in Silke Hackenesch’s editid volume Adopting Children across Race and Nations: Histories and Legacies (Nov. 2023).

Amazon Author Link

Emily Frazier-Rath

Emily Frazier-Rath is an educator and researcher rooted in the fields of German Studies, Migration Studies, and Feminist Studies. In addition to her work for the BGHRA, she is also currently Visiting Assistant Professor of German Studies at Davidson College in Davidson, NC. She earned her PhD in German Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder in May 2019, and her MA in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from the University of Cincinnati in 2013. Emily’s most recent publication entitled To Be Seen and to Be Whole: Black German FLINTA* on Community, Identity, and Connection appeared in The German Quarterly in fall 2022.

Emily taught the inaugural Beginning German I class for Black German adoptees and their families in May 2022, which was made possible through the generous support of the Anderson Language and Technology Center (ALTEC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Emily’s current research centers on the pedagogical effects of engaging in transnational and transcultural dialog to build mutual understanding through deep, community-based learning in the humanities classroom. This work is informed by her collaboration with Dr. Rosemarie Peña in two courses they have introduced to the Davidson College curriculum: Black German Art & Resistance and Race, Gender, Migration.

Art by Zari Harat


Zari Harat is a visual artist who has studied art, spirituality and teaching which she generously shares with others. She is a cultural merge of being born in the US, South Asian family and living in Germany most of her life. This was her choice and she worked with the women’s movement in Berlin, was as a student of Audre Lorde’s and a single mother who wanted to give her daughter a world of freedom which she believed was easier to accomplish and be an artist in Germany.

She is a traveller, she is a teacher, she is a friend, she is an artist, she is a healer, she is a bridge person who embraces life beyond Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the US. She cares about her friends and many of her pieces tell stories and speak to dialogue, tolerance, the pandemic lockdown, accidents, healing accidents and brutal encounters and looking for forgiveness to make this earth hers to share with her fellow sentient beings.

Zari is currently residing in Hamburg and was a long-time resident in Berlin having first come there in 1981 so she was at the heart of that young emergence of the hyphenated person that Audre Lorde discussed. Her work is available to purchase and you can find it on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets as well as her website, that her daughter Moira maintains and assists her with. Her daughter Moira Nanina is married to a man from Malawi and they have two daughters so Zari is truly an advocate in the world of choice and love.



The BGHRA is immensely grateful for the following sponsors whose support is making this amazing conference possible. Thank You!

Suggested Donation for BGHRA 2024 Conference to Support BGHRA Annual Spring Fundraiser

Thank you very much for registering for the 2023 BGHRA Conference, “Joy…and Pain” which will take place February 22-24, 2024.

The BGHRA is a nonprofit organization without membership dues. Funding for the conference comes from various sources. Ultimately, however, a significant portion of our budget comes from individual donations. There is no registration fee for the conference, but we would welcome those of you with access to resources to contribute to the BGHRA Annual Spring Fundraiser. Any amount will go a long way in supporting our initiatives.



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