By: Sage Bankasingh
From a storyteller to creative producer, host and everything in-between, Shaquille Shaniqua Joy, 21, is an all-around creative. As a multimedia artist, Shaquille’s passions lie within the telling of other people’s stories. At her workplace, the Open Space Contemporary Art Museum in Amsterdam, she is able to fulfill her visionary appetite by conveying experiences visually; an example being the transformation of interviews into video content. Alongside being a creative content producer, Shaquille is also a student majoring in International Fashion and Branding at Amsterdam’s Fashion Institute, with minors in Cultural Diversity and International Journalism.
The hobbies and passions of Shaquille tend to have an effect on the types of news she consumes. Shaquille usually finds herself drawn to news related to global arts and culture, however since her move to Amsterdam she finds herself making a conscious effort to stay aware and engaged with current affairs: “even though I am not from here I want to make sure that I know what’s going on in the country that I am living in,” said Shaquille as she talked about her experience with Dutch current affairs. She’s originally from Germany but made the move back to Amsterdam at the age of 18 after spending some of her childhood years in the Netherlands: “it’s my chosen home, I feel the best here”.
Shaquille’s affection towards storytelling has served as a pathway to her fascination surrounding the idea of embodied knowledge and experiences. This relates to the notion of the human body being an archive: “the idea that there is value in subjectivity and experiences through living them,” defined Shaquille. “For example, my story and experiences as a Black woman will be different than someone else’s,” she said. The individuality found within every human being is a motivating factor behind why Shaquille chooses to host and produce creative content: to tell the stories of those around her.
As Shaquille increasingly engages with the news, she’s noticed some discrepancies between how news agencies report on stories, versus how those passionate about the subject discuss the topic. An example she provided was the reignition of the Black Lives Matter movement. News agencies would sometimes portray the human rights issue as one of violence. “The older I get the more I realise that the news is influenced by the people that make [it]. It may not be a lot, but there’s always some sort of bias present,” Shaquille declared during the interview.
In addition to the various disparities apparent within news media, Shaquille is a firm believer that the news industry has a number of additional underlying issues related to misrepresentation and under-representation. From very young she noticed the lack of figures who resembled her in the German media landscape; in fact, it is still something she constantly witnesses within the media. “You can always see that interviewers interviewing the minority are portraying them in a certain light that isn’t authentic,” Shaquille stated. This too encourages her to represent those that are not always put on a platform within her own creative work.