Monday, 22 February 2016




Editor's Note: Click the date for more information about the event!

A piece from the Water Carry Me Go Fashion Show. Photographer: Jalani Morgan, Model: Aluad Anei, Garment by: Carol Barretto. (Image Source: Hawa Noor) 

As this glorious month comes to an end, I thought it best to provide you with a list of some of the great events that occurred and are currently ongoing celebrating the accomplishments of Black Canadians and beyond.

I only list 9, but make no mistake there are many more events!

First up,

Friday Night Live Encore: One Love Celebrates Bob Marley at the Royal Ontario Museum

Possibly one of the best FNL's that I have ever attended, the ROM outdid itself with a combination of a Bahamian carnival procession line, "Water Carry Me Go" a beautifully powerful fashion show (by SUPAFRIK), full on chicken roti, and a soca/dancehall/afrobeat party entitled GUMBO (also by SUPAFRIK) that had the whole of Bronfman Hall in a complete dance mania. The event brought together the diverse cultural cores that makes up Toronto's Black community all while learning about Hatschepsut's trip to Punt in the Ancient Egypt Gallery.

My breath was clearly taken. (Image Source: Myriam Dioubaté)

February 5, 2016.

The Music Gallery Presents: Val Inc + Witch Poet
The New Black: Challenging Musical Tropes Panel Discussion

Val-Inc. (Image Source)

This past weekend, a discussion around music, stereotypes and Black culture took place with Black artists who challenge these stereotypes through their art. The event sought to create a dialogue regarding Afro-diasporic cultural expression in music and its under-representation with a focus on Canadian industry.

The panel included Haitian Afro-Electronica music artist Val-Inc, Toronto-based Ethiopian-Eritrian music artist Witch Prophet, Garvia Bailey from Jazz FM and CBC's Exhbitionists host Amanda Parris.

February 20, 2016.

Zun Lee: Fade Resistance - An Exhibition of Found Polaroids at the Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel has been on my arts and culture radar this year, and this exhibition has secured its spot. An archival project seeking to discover the stories behind snapshot photographs of Black individuals, Zun Lee put together a powerful display that questions Black agency and empowerment. The event explains that, "These images reflect the way black people saw themselves on their terms - without the intention of being seen, or judged, by others." I haven't seen this yet, but I will be seeing you soon Gladstone Hotel!

(Image Source)

February 1-28, 2016.

Black Future Month 3016 Exhibition and the Pixelation Exhibition at the Ontario College of Art and Design University

OCAD U just went along and made my heart smile this month:

The Black Future Month 3016 Afro Futurism Art Exhibition is the 4th annual installation of its kind. The artists in the exhibit explore Black identity from a futuristic point of view, placing it in real or imagined space and time. This also happens to be the longest consecutively running Black art exhibition in Toronto.

(Image Source)
February 3-20, 2016.

Pixelation is another installation at the institution that explores Black identity. This time, Graphic Design student Zvikomborero Mhakayakora curates 11 artists that challenge and question the representation or lack thereof of Blackness in contemporary art:

" order to reflect on how black identity has been formed and continues to be made in this contemporary moment. These works explore many themes including whiteness as default, institutionalized ethnocentrism, displacing racial stereotypes, internalized self-hatred, resistance against consumer culture, dominant settler society, modern practices of enslavement, notions of identity, the process of decolonization and the search for "home"".

February 1- March 1, 2016 in OCAD U's Main Lobby.

Historica Canada Celebrates Black Canadian Women at the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax

Historica Canada hosted a lavish evening of food and drink alongside the opportunity to experience the storytelling of female leaders in Canada's Black community who have been trailblazers in their own right as well as inspiration for others. I'll toast to that.

February 11, 2016.

Veteran's Voices: Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the No. 2 Construction Battalion display at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives

(Image Source)

The No. 2 Construction Battalion was the only Black segregated battalion in Canada during the First World War. In commemoration and honour of this, PAMA unveiled a Canadian postage stamp featuring soldiers from the Battalion.

January 20-March 30, 2016.

Toronto Black Film Festival 2016

TBFF's mission is to allow their audience to discover - and this year, that is just what they did. Throughout the first two weeks of February, film screenings of diasporic experiences to talks about The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution with remarkable individuals, the festival was definitely an event worth taking part in for this year and those to come.

February 10-14, 2016.

Songs and Stories 'bout Slavery and the Underground Railroad (UGGR) with Singer and Song-Writer Lonnie Glass at Victoria Central Library

Lonnie Glass creates an innovative way to experience history by using his musicality to tell stories of the Underground Railroad and enslaved peoples.

February 4, 2016.

This month was indeed an event-filled recognition of Blackness, and the Canadian arts and culture industry were key players in that. Although I would love to see these events take place year-round as much as within the month of February, creating a stronger and more rounded experience for everyone.

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