Wildling and Joy Denalane are teaming up and hitting the road to reach out and empower people. All with the idea of (re)connecting with ourselves, supporting each other, and growing together. Finding out who we are and then designing our own path – and setting off to follow it. Bold, empowered, and confident.

animiertes gif mit einer illustration von joy denalane

Mut zur Individualität

What should a society that allows everyone the freedom to find their own individual path be like - free from social labels and discrimination? Joy Denalane, Aminata Belli, Shaheen Wacker, and Anna Yona asked themselves this question in a roundtable discussion moderated by Sarina Gachanja as part of the cooperation between Wildling and Joy Denalane in September in Berlin. Together with Joy Denalane, Wildling hopes to pave a part of this way. We want to feel the ground that gives us a firm footing, to discover freedom of movement, to explore our own direction for ourselves, and to forge our own unique paths. With shoes and with soul: EMBRACE YOUR PATH.

A talk with Joy

If you want to get to know more about the cooperation and Joy, you can already check out the inspiring interview in the Blogazine: Joy talks about coincidences, about trust and beloved brothers, about the Afropean community and role models, and about why it would make a world of difference if we all took a little more time to listen to each other.

Zum Interview
illustration von einem mädchen und einer jungen frau mit bunten spangen in ihren schwarzen haaren

Feeling secure and able to grow and develop freely

“There are many ways to connect to your own identity: through your own roots, through interacting with other people, by enjoying the freedom to be uniquely you and to change, all while standing firmly on your own two feet. Because Wildling shares these values while literally working to help people gain a firm footing and move freely, I’m delighted to have Anna, Ran, and their team as partners at my side.”

– Joy Denalane

“We interpret freedom not only as physical freedom of movement, but also as the freedom to be oneself. To define one’s own identity, as far removed from social labels and categorizations as possible. Wildling seeks to be a place where everyone feels welcome and is viewed in light of their own unique strengths and abilities – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and other factors used as a basis for discrimination against people in our society."

– Anna Yona

schwarz-weiss gif mit einer illustration von sechs frauen, die gemeinsam posieren

Identity without the hyphen

In his book Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, Johny Pitts wrote about how the term “Afropean” allowed him to see himself as complete and unhyphenated. In his book, he cites Joy as an example of Afropean identity. And she herself considers it important that this term be mainstreamed: “It completely resonates with me. The Black community in Europe doesn’t have those cross-national voices that are universally accepted because everybody knows them and everybody understands them in terms of their language, in the way that was and is possible in the US, for instance.”

But it still exists, the Afropean community, with its own experience of Black identity – and this term makes it immediately more visible.

“Let yourself be loved”

And that’s why Joy’s Afropean identity serves as a great thematic banner over her latest album and this tour. The exploration of her biographical and musical roots has led her to the music of her childhood – soul. Let yourself be loved deals with love on many different levels. But most of all it deals with identity – musical, political, personal. “For me it was about sound and feeling, about a quest for myself: Where do I come from, what makes me me? When I strip away everything else, what’s left?”

zwei schwarze junge erwachsene sitzen auf einer couch und lesen an einem laptop

Being able to see how we want to be

If we grow up without role models, how are we supposed to form our identity, how are we supposed to know who we are and who we want to become? With EMBRACE YOUR PATH, we want to raise awareness about how important it is for everyone to have role models who they can relate to and identify with. And in particular, to empower young people to forge their own path.

That’s why Wildling and Joy have joined forces to support the “Vorbilder” (role models) mentoring project led by the non-profit organization Future Of Ghana Germany e.V. in Hamburg. In this mentoring project, Black children and youth meet role models in the form of volunteer mentors who have faced challenges similar to their own and overcame them successfully.

“Green is the new black”

Wildling is currently providing support for the 2021 “Green is the new black” encounter trip, which will focus on sustainability. And soon Joy, Wildling, and “Vorbilder” will also share a visible presence to provide a platform for the initiative – like at the release events in Cologne and Paris and the talk that will be held in Berlin.

Learn more about the concept and vision of the “Vorbilder” project, about “Green is the new black,” and about the collaboration between Wildling and Joy:

Foto: Daron Bandeira Foto: Daron Bandeira