Black Lives in Germany

Film + Talk | April 5-8, 2021


Made possible in part by the UMass Arts Council




A virtual discussion with actor and director Lara-Sophie Milagro and dancer and poet Lauren Cox (UMass Amherst). Moderated by Dr. Jamele Watkins (UMN). Hosted by curator Kevina King (UMass Amherst) and made possible in part by the UMass Arts Council.


Watch the recording on FILMBOX, our Digital Teaching Archive.


Lara-Sophie Milagro trained as an actor and singer in London, Berlin and New York. She has worked with renowned German theater directors at the Staatstheater Mainz, Theater Kassel and the Residenztheater and Kammerspiele in Munich. She has also acted in popular television shows, such as Dogs of Berlin. Since Label Noir—a professional Afro-German / Black Theater Ensemble—was founded in 2009, she has worked as its artistic co-director as well as an actor and author. Their groundbreaking first production, Homeland, Bittersweet Homeland, played at theaters throughout Germany, introducing the group's important new voice and themes to a wider German audience. With ten productions to date, Label Noir continues to develop and present exciting new works.


Lauren Cox is a performer, teacher, choreographer and poet. She has travelled and danced throughout the world and blends a wide range of styles into her dance works and has performed with some of the biggest names in music today. Her choreography and poetry have been showcased in commissions for the Harlem Arts Festival, The Ailey School and La Guardia Performing Arts Center. She has taught at the Joffrey Ballet School (jazz and contemporary) and is currently on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Moderator Jamele Watkins is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. Her work engages the intersections of race and gender in 20th-21rst-century Germany. The Drama of Race, her dissertation at UMass Amherst, explored how Black Germans make their experiences visible on stage by examining contemporary theater projects, including Label Noir. Her current book project, Roses for Angela, examines East Germany's transnational solidarity with Angela Davis.


●      FILMS


On Noah's Blood-Stained Rainbow, We Dance

(Germany, 2020, dir. Lara-Sophie Milagro, 36 min., color, EN ST)

A filmed reading of Monageng "Vice" Motshabi's play. Produced by Label Noir in cooperation with the Maxim Gorki Theater, this piece confronts a justice system with its roots in colonial history. People disappear, are locked up and their traces are covered up. Tyranny reigns not only in authoritarian systems; everywhere in the world, the multiplicity of social realities and visions is effaced. People are discriminated against, subdued and made invisible. This is one of four productions in a collaborative series—Out of Sight—developed by the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin. Because of the pandemic, the planned live performance was replaced by this filmed reading interspersed with scenes shot in Berlin, which premiered on August 29, 2020.



A Spark of Passion that Shaped a Lifetime

(USA, 2018, dir. Lauren Cox, 13 min., color)

Lauren Cox tells the story of her family, starting in Munich in 1950 with Elsa, a young white German woman, and Eugene, an African-American soldier. The carefully interwoven narration, movement and piano melody relate this sensitive, diasporic saga linking three generations across Germany and the U.S. Cox wrote, choreographed and performs in this autobiographical piece, which was filmed as a TEDx talk in Asbury Park, NJ.



Also see Cox's related piece, Edelweiss.



... in our Black Lives in Germany: Resilience, Art and Hope film festival, October 2020 - April 2021.





please email curator Kevina King


This event is made possible in part by the UMass Arts Council. Other co-sponsors at UMass Amherst include Film Studies; German & Scandinavian Studies; Music & Dance; and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Associated Films:

Associated People:

Shibboleth login