The picture shows a black woman sitting in front of a table. It is Amina Ousman-Daouda. Her book "Black is Beautiful" can be seen on the table in front of her. Behind her is a wall on which portraits are hung.

"Black is Beautiful – Safe Space": Stuttgart photographer and activist talks about her project

Juliane Tombiri met Stuttgart-based photographer and activist Amina Ousman-Daouda. She spoke to her about her artistic projects, the podcast "Black is Beautiful - Safe Space" and her work in the urban community. The interview was conducted as part of Black History Month 2024, in which ifa is participating with various projects.

"This is my kind of activism," says Amina Ousman-Daouda when she talks about her creative work. The 32-year-old from Stuttgart studied visual communication, is a photographer and introduces people who live in Germany and have links to Mozambique, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon, among others, in her podcast series "Black is Beautiful" They tell their stories in their podcast andexperiences with gender attributions, identity, orhow the topic of beauty has shaped their lives.  

That's why the podcast is called "Black is Beautiful - Safe Space" - it's about how to make the city you live in a safer place.

Amina Ousman-Daouda

Talking to Amina Ousman-Daouda, you can feel the passion behind all her projects. The projects extend not only to her "heart projects," but also to the atmosphere within the Black community in Stuttgart and the special nature of being a part of it. That's why the podcast is called Black is Beautiful - Safe Space - it's about how to make the city you live in a safer place. How to imagine a better society and what contribution you can make yourself,'' she says, describing her aim to have an impact on urban society. 

Through her photo project Black is Beautiful and the Instagram account, she has been sharing portrait photographs from Stuttgart's Black community since 2020. Her motivation isto show how diverse, extraordinary and beautiful the Black community is. She explores themes such as self-confidence, identity and creativity. She began by photographing her family members. Shortly afterward, friends and acquaintances, and soon she was approached by people who wanted to be part of the campaign. The motives for getting in front of her camera lens varied; some wanted to support the message of her project, but "sometimes people were just proud to be a part of it all," says Amina.  

The picture shows twelve IG tiles with portraits of Black people on the theme "Black is Beautiful"
From the portrait volume "Black is Beautiful," Photo: Amina Ousman-Daouda

She took 48 portraits, which she collected and published in her first publication. Shortly afterward, the project received touching feedback. She says: "I was simply moved by the fact that it meant so much to people. It has exceeded all my expectations.'' Her pictures tell stories that inspire and connect. 

She developed the idea of sharing stories from the Black community. After Amina herself was invited to Stephan Ferdinand's podcast "sprich Stuttgart", it occurred to her whether a podcast wouldn't be the best way to delve deeper into the stories of the people she had previously only captured photographically - Black is Beautiful - Safe Space was born. "I feel very rooted in the Black community. I have met so many inspiring and creative people. I think it's cool that you can always reconnect and create something new together."

You can see the logo of the Black is Beautiful project. It is a white lettering with a large lettering "Black" with the A turned upside down. Below it is a smaller lettering with "is Beautiful". The background is black.
Photo: Amina Ousman-Daouda

In the podcast, which now has over 20 episodes, Amina talks to all those she has already photographed about "beauty, prejudice and safe space." Thanks to the consistent structure of the conversations, her podcast paints a colorful picture of the opinions, experiences, and wishes of the Black community.

The conversation also delved into Amina's career to date and her personal journey to activism: With insight into her past experiences and self-image as a Black person in Germany, she talks about how working on these projects has impacted her sense of identity and belonging. "I've thought a lot about my past. And realized that I just let a lot of things happen. I let people get away with a lot. As a result, I sometimes had the feeling that I hadn't experienced so much racism until I thought more carefully about some things. I've worked through a lot of it through my projects."

In addition to her own experiences, there was a moment that marked the beginning of her activist work. In 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, was murdered by police violence. This event strongly impacted the Black community as a whole and led to numerous demonstrations under the motto "Black Lives Matter." In Stuttgart, too, it became clear that it stirred the Black community, which has a presence and thus wants to become part of global activism. In the course of the large "Black Lives Matter" demonstration in June 2020, "silent demos" also took place. It was one of these that deeply touched Amina: "Since then, I have wanted to actively make a positive contribution within the Black community in Stuttgart." 

"In the beginning it just came naturally, but now I have responsibility for my work. As I have learned more and more about racism over time and my channels have reached a certain reach, I feel a strong responsibility.

Amina Ousman–Daouda
The picture shows a section of an open book. There is a picture on the left-hand side and text on the right-hand side. The picture shows a young black woman with short hair and a black sweater.
From the portrait volume "Black is Beautiful," Photo: Amina Ousman-Daouda

By working on her own projects, supporting others and constantly learning, Amina has found a way to combine her creativity and her convictions: "In the beginning it just came naturally, but now I have responsibility for my work. As I have learned more and more about racism over time and my channels have reached a certain reach, I feel a strong responsibility.'' 


Amina's powerful message can be heard in "Black is Beautiful – Safe Space"

Her photo project "Black is Beautiful" can be seen on Instagram under @blvck_isbeautiful.

Editors and Authors
[Translate to english:] Porträt Juliane Tombiri, Foto: Juliane Tombiri
Juliane Tombiri

Juliane Tombiri studied visual communication at the Merz Academy in Stuttgart. She works as a designer in Stuttgart.