a personal approach to contemporary black Germany 

“schwarz is exemplary of the kind of mindful discussions that should be taking place in Black communities: discussions where nobody is shouting above anyone else to declare that the racism they’ve experienced is more damaging than what someone else has faced; where people are free to speak their piece and be heard; and discussions underpinned by empathy and active efforts towards understanding are truly safe spaces.“

– Memuna Konteh for Fringe of Colour 2021


schwarz (black) offers a glimpse into conversations amongst black Germans from Nuremberg, Bavaria. The film shows intimate conversations amongst 17 protagonists between the age of 16 and 31 who speak about their preferred self-definitions, their experiences with everyday racism and the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. Do they feel represented and appreciated in German society? Who inspires them? What is it that makes them black, or Black?

type: documentary

length: 50 minutes

format: digital, in colour

year of production: 2020


This documentary is a personal approach to contemporary black German experiences. Through locating the personal within wider society, it explores the multitude of meanings that are encompassed in the word schwarz and the political identity Schwarz. It discusses belonging, society and heritage on a human, non-intellectual, non-judgemental level. schwarz does not present a set of solutions or answers; it is an open conversation that does not explain or justify. 

Reflections and opinions are presented alongside poetry and quotes by Black feminist thinkers May Ayim, Audre Lorde and Stefanie Lahya Aukongo. Remembering their work, we pay respect to the efforts of Black activists who came before us. The contemporary relevance of their poetry highlights the longevity and extent of Germany’s socio-political problems.

director’s statement

In the current German media and political landscape where panels contend to invite one (type of) black person and accept their opinions as a truth for a whole, extremely diverse, group, schwarz pushes against these simplistic depictions of black life. Marginalised people deserve to be acknowledged in their complex individuality, rather than being subsumed under a homogeneous group.

Too often, black narratives are limited to depicting black humans as powerless victims, as angry, or as sad. The photos and analog behind-the-scenes footage used in schwarz mirror a reality in which black people live and radiate beauty and happiness despite societal and structural obstacles. We suffer from racism and fight various forms of oppression and we nonetheless lead happy lives. schwarz denormalizes violence in critical conversations. In doing so, the film reverses the white gaze as default and discusses black German life from a black perspective. 

schwarz is a time document that shows the birth of a new community in Nuremberg. Amidst the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, schwarz brought young black people together and enabled them to converse, make friends and create support system for themselves and each other. 


The protagonists are seventeen black people from Nuremberg, Bavaria, aged sixteen to thirty. Some are friends, others acquaintances, others strangers to the director. They all come to Amuna’s rose garden and open their hearts and minds in honest, soulful conversations. 


Director Amuna Wagner

DoP  Viola Karaalioglu, Tim Auzinger  and Florian Weichelt 

Camcorder Alexander Sura

Sound recordist Florian Weichelt 

Editing, sounddesign and color grading Hannah Wolny 

Set manager Assumpta Munsi 

Set photographer Yael Wagner 

Analog set photographer Alexander Sura


produced by KANDAKA