Mai’a Willaims participated in the femLENS documentary photography workshops in July 2019, in Berlin, Germany, which were part of the Kunst trotz(t) Ausgrenzung festival.
This is my roommate, Maria and her two friends, Fadi and Yelda; all three of whom identify as queer people of color and stayed in our shared at during Pride weekend. Maria’s family is from Palestine, Yelda’s family is Cypriot-Turkish and they both grew up in Germany and identify proudly as ‘kanakin,’ a word that is derogatory when used by white Germans to describe non-European migrants, especially those who are of Turkish and Arab descent.
The word has been reclaimed by people like Maria and Yelda. To be a ‘kanake’, according to Maria means that you are culturally different from white Germans, that you speak the ‘kanake’ German dialect, and are often times louder and more expressive.
Fadi is a queer Syrian, a brilliant intellectual and has been studying in Germany for the past nine years.