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What does it feel like growing up as a brown-skinned boy in countryside Germany? In a world that is supposed to be your home, but simultaneously implies over and over again that actually, you don’t really belong here. You’re different.

In his new single „Brown Face“ Berlin-based artist Tóke revisits his childhood growing up in a village close to Hamburg, Germany. He speaks about the experiences he made and the often subtle, yet stinging nuances of racism. It is a piece about Self-Identity on an individual and collective, political level.

„Call me exotic, that’s white gaze. My culture surpasses your mindframe. My batik outshines your Nike’s“

In some ways „Brown Face“ can be seen as an anti-colonial statement, fiercely questioning the concept and implications of an imperialist western mindset. At the same time, the Indonesian German artist strikes a witty, almost boasty tone speaking about his cultural heritage, a culture that western standards for decades have either categorised as „savage“ or, when marketable, „exotically interesting“.

Despite the underlying pain in the song, it also carries strong celebratory energy towards those who are „othered“ in western societies, the people formerly colonized.

In the accompanying Music Video (Directed by Alex Kleis & Tóke) we see Tóke performing with a stunning group of BIPOC in a warehouse in Berlin. The mood is both serious and relentless about the cause but at the same time jubilant, as we see the whole group dancing, celebrating their cultural richness towards the end of the video.

Musically speaking we hear a cutting-edge, danceable and soulful sounding beat that carries traces of RnB and Hip Hop, while Tóke switches between powerful melodies and energetic flows.

For me, this track says everything and speaks volumes about the history being made right now!

"JJ Kane "


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