Black Love in Scandinavia

Text: Fatim Sillah
Photos: Yussuf Ahmed
Models: Maty Sall & Josef Sidibé

Reading the title with a term such as black love, you may start to wonder what this article will entail. An abundance of questions may also start to surface. Nevertheless, the first question to tackle is, what is black love?

The term black love most commonly refers to a relationship consisting of two individuals, who have ties to the African diaspora.

Now onto the second part of the title in Scandinavia, what does that mean? In this article we embark on a journey to showcase the perceptions of black love in Denmark and Sweden.

As a black-owned business our mission is not only to have a successful diverse business, but also to uplift and strengthen our communities within the African diaspora. It is important for us to highlight our positive aspects and deconstruct as many negative narratives that are forced upon and into our communities. Black love is one of the negative narratives, we decided to tackle during a photoshoot.

The idea of portraying black love in this photoshoot derived from a place of absence.

The absence of seeing a vulnerable and loving black couple in Scandinavian media. And so, some of you might refer to the black relationships or black family units that are portrayed by Hollywood. Those portrayals are unfortunately mostly negative.

We want these pictures to hold a more powerful meaning than just showing a black couple. It is about empowerment, and it is about changing these negative narratives. It is about exhibiting the vulnerability, beauty and softness of black people. 

Oftentimes black men are portrayed as tough, aggressive, emotionless, unempathetic and manipulators. Black women are portrayed as angry, miserable, uneducated and unloved.

These portrayals in addition to being exposed to a Eurocentric way of thinking for centuries is hurting our communities.

We are still learning to love ourselves and each other within the community fully for our natural and authentic selves.

This is a deep-rooted issue. The media’s denial and ignorance towards showcasing a positive black unit, is something they should be made aware of. And that was the point of the photoshoot. The pictures are meant to enlighten, and serve as a guiding step towards showcasing more positive black relationships and family units. 

Furthermore we wish to explore what exactly black love means to Afro-Scandinavians.

We discovered that black love to them is more than highlighting people of the African diaspora in a healthy relationship. It is about self-love, culture, traditions, pride, understanding, acceptance etc.

Meet Cassandra Yetunde Oseni from Copenhagen, Denmark. She is both Danish and Nigerian. We asked her some questions about black love, and these are her statements.

Bryan Lewis

What is black love to you?

Black love is the love between black people. Both romantically and platonically.

What do you associate black love with?

I associate black love with food, dance, joy, trust, understanding and representation. It’s all of the things that makes one feel accepted, wanted and safe in the sense that you can only really experience in a black space.

Is it important to talk about black love in Scandinavia?

Yes. It is extremely important, due to the lack of representation and the daily struggle and abuse a lot of us face away from black spaces. I know a lot of Afro-Scandinavians walk around with little to no network, with no comfort that only black love can provide for the black consciousness. I believe that black love can help create healing and a sense of belonging; maybe even a sense of pride in who we are. Black love is the reassurance that you can be loved beyond the color of one's skin. It is the reassurance that we all live with the struggle but can love each other and ourselves regardless of it. Self-rejection is something a lot of us have grown up and still struggle with, so therefore black love is a battle, and it is a protest.

At Akuko this project came to grow very near and dear to our hearts.

And that is why we have dedicated two weeks (between 1-14th of February) to black love on all of our channels to celebrate our true authentic selves and the love we share for one another.

Be sure to check out our Instagram and Facebook for more content about what black love means to Afro-Scandinavians.

We hope that you will also participate in this important conversation on our social media platforms and spread the love! 

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