Nora Chipaumire: #PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA. 22.08.2019, Tanz im August, Sophiensæle, Berlin.

My time as an European individual is over as soon as I step into the beat-heavy atmosphere where Nora Chipaumire and fellow dancer Shamar Watt are rolling out their frenzied sing-song full of mixed messages, defiant punk strides, quick duets and count-downs, encircled by a standing crowd of a curious and slightly awkward audience, and shrouded by an overall mist of ever-changing Reggae-African Folk-bass grooves.

The air thickens, the aliveness is nearly tangible, everyone seems to be on the tips of their toes, uncertain whether they can unashamedly indulge in the rhythms that seem to pull, lure and invite – with several interspersed accompaniments by drummer Austin Matthew Williamson – or if they should pay attention to the performers‘ speech, asking them to „smash their brains“ and „crush black pride“.

As the second part begins and the DJ booths – artistically crafted from stools and chairs and draped in coloured light bulbs – are placed to frame the shifting performance space, a question from the first part keeps stubbornly fighting against the musical flood: Are we being played, are we tricked into enjoying the moves and grooves, all the while being subject to harsh cynical comments as a collective, the „Majorily White Audience“(„you got to write the books, you intelligent people“) and am I – the European individual – willing to identify with the group I have just been assigned to… who am I here… the #whitey_stiff_as_f***k who cannot use their hips or the #whitey_totally_biassed who mindlessly laps up the beats falling for the sheer power of the „African“ movement??

The black flag is hoisted and a spectator – a peculiar joker thanks to her Asian features – briefly joins into the duetting with an expression of sheer delight on her face… and by the end of the performance’s third part… I turn around… to discover myself dancing in front of a huge stack of wooden speaker cabinets, celebrating the crowned performers.

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