Breaking Black Stereotypes
27 October 2022

Tropenmuseum x Brainwash 2022: Breaking Black Stereotypes

Tropenmuseum x Brainwash 2022: Breaking Black Stereotypes
Thursday 27 October 2022. Doors from 19h00, programme starts 20h00 

Superheroes like Black Panther, Nakia, Sister Knight and Blade are setting a new standard for the way people of colour are depicted in films, series and advertising. 

The prevailing clichés are rapidly changing under pressure from viewers and makers. Nevertheless, some stereotypes are persistent. Unlike Black Panther’s fictional home country Wakanda, ‘Africa’ is still represented in a one-dimensional way: as a dry, red safari landscape, ravaged by poverty.

During Tropenmuseum x Brainwash Festival: Breaking Black Stereotypes we will investigate these clichés and alternatives to them, together with Omroep Zwart (‘the BLACK channel’) presenter Milouska Meulens. 

The principal guest for the evening is British author and Vice journalist Dipo Faloyin, who in his book Africa Is Not A Country puts paid to this one-dimensional representation. Director of Content and professor Wayne Modest will give a mini-seminar on the power of images. Journalist and media activist Janice Deul will shine her light on the fashion industry and Baba Touré, owner of social media agency Hammerfest, will show how media formats can put across complex messages without sacrificing pace and attractiveness.


19.00 Walk-in and opportunity to view Our Colonial Inheritance

20.00 Welcome by moderator Milouska Meulens

20.05 Images Matter
Introduction Director of Content Wayne Modest

What is the power of images and what are the effects of reinforcing stereotypes?

20.15 Africa is not a country
Talk & discussion with Dipo Faloyin

20.50 Change in fashion & media
Visual column by Janice Deul

21.05 Breaking stereotypes in advertising
Talk & discussion with Baba Touré

21.25 Closing remarks & end of programme

Speaker biographies

Milouska Meulens

Milouska Meulens is a radio and TV presenter who currently works for Omroep Zwart. She is the maker of a number of the best journalistic programmes the Mediapark has to offer: Zembla, the NOS Jeugdjournaal (News for Young People), Vroege Vogels and De Nacht is ZWART. Meulens also writes children’s books and columns, and presents the Tropenmuseum’s Thursday evening programme.

Milouska Meulens
Milouska Meulens

Wayne Modest

Prof. Dr Wayne Modest has been Director of Content at the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures and Wereldmuseum Rotterdam since 2021. Prior to that, he headed the Research Center of Material Culture (RCMC) at the organisation of affiliated museums. Before joining the Tropenmuseum, he held various management positions with museums in the United Kingdom and Jamaica. Modest is also an Associate Professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies at VU Amsterdam.

Wayne Modest
Wayne Modest

Dipo Faloyin

Why is Africa still depicted through one-dimensional stereotypes? What clichés can we finally lay to rest? Dipo Faloyin is a senior editor and writer with VICE, where his work has a specific focus on race, culture and identity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Faloyin was born in Chicago, grew up in Nigeria and currently lives in London. His book Africa Is Not A Country was published in 2022. We will talk to him about this during the programme in the Tropenmuseum.

Dipo Faloyin
Dipo Faloyin. Photo: Amandine Rorison-Powell

Janice Deul

Ever-stylish Janice Deul has been researching and commenting on expressions related to fashion and media for many years now. What has struck her about the ways in which people of colour are represented? And is a shift taking place? She will be sharing her observations with the audience during our programme in the Tropenmuseum. Janice Deul is a journalist and media-activist, co-author of the Little Black Hair Book and uses her platform Diversity Rules to advocate for greater diversity within fashion and magazines.

Janice Deul
Janice Deul. Photo: Melanie Marsman

Baba Touré

How can complex messages be put across simply, without offending people? And without destroying every nuance of the story? Baba Touré is the owner of social media & advertising agency Hammerfest, and has noticed a shift in advertising messages during the past two years in particular. He will be talking about how stereotyping works in our brains and during the programme, alongside positive examples, will show advertisements that really get it wrong.

Baba Touré
Baba Touré

Practical information

This programme is in English.

A ticket for the programme costs €15. Buy your ticket here. Unfortunately, we cannot offer a discount to holders of the Museumjaarkaart.

See the exhibition 
This programme is a companion piece to the Our Colonial Inheritance exhibition in the Tropenmuseum. During the hour before the programme, you are very welcome to visit the exhibition.

Brainwash Festival
This programme by the Tropenmuseum has been created in collaboration with Brainwash Festival, which takes place from Thursday 26 to Sunday 30 October 2022 at several beautiful locations in Amsterdam. At Brainwash Festival 2022, pioneering philosophers, scientists, theatre-makers and writers will tilt the view of ourselves and the world we live in.