Saturday, 9 February 2019

Emerging Black Women Writers Chart Their Course in Canadian Literature


By Neil Armstrong

Left-right: Clifton Joseph in conversation with Téa Mutonji and Simone Dalton at the Black and Caribbean Book Affair at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre in Toronto.


Two of Toronto’s dynamic emerging black women writers were featured at the Black and Caribbean Book Affair organized by A Different Booklist to celebrate Black History Month.

Simone Dalton and Téa Mutonji, who studied and specialize in nonfiction, were in conversation with award-winning dub poet, journalist and broadcaster Clifton Joseph at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre in Toronto on February 8.

Dalton, who is sometimes published as Simone Makeba Dalton, is a writer and social change communicator.

She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, where she received the Constance Rooke and Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarships.

Her work has been published in the anthologies The Unpublished City: Volume I and Black Writers Matter -- an anthology of African Canadian creative non-fiction featuring works from established and emerging writers edited by Whitney French -- which will be launched at the Harbourfront Centre on February 20. 

Dalton will be on stage in a discussion at the Black History Month event presented by the International Festival of Authors and Kuumba.

The Unpublished City: Volume I was a 2018 Toronto Book Awards finalist curated by renowned poet, author and professor, Dionne Brand.

Dalton is currently working on her first play for production with RARE Theatre Company.
The world premiere of the company’s “Welcome to My Underworld” features “nine blazing hot works written and performed by new Canadian dramatists with gate-crashing ideas, delicious poetry and unique characters woven into a spectacular journey to the Underworld, in search of the self.”

“These hot new Canadian dramatists bring gatecrashing ideas, serious politics, and fresh bracing language to the stage. They have created current, compelling characters never seen on our stages before, showing us how the very concept of human identity is shifting,” notes a description of the production on Soulpepper’s website. 

The black artists included are: Dalton, a queer Trinidadian-Canadian playwright, and Samson Brown, a self-described, Jamal Of All Hustles, with a primary focus on trans advocacy and the arts.

“Welcome to My Underworld” runs from May 8 to 25 at Soulpepper in Toronto.

Dalton lives in Toronto and was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago where she established the Esther Dalton Foundation —a non-profit  steelpan music initiative - in honour of her mother.

Itah Sadu with Téa Mutonji, Simone Dalton and Clifton Joseph


Mutonji , who was born in Congo, is a writer and poet in Scarborough. She has been awarded and published by The Scarborough Fair in fiction and nonfiction and by the Ontario Book Publishers as Scarborough's emerging writer.

 Mutonji has been published or is forthcoming in Joyland Magazine, The Puritan, Bad Nudes, Minola Review, Temz Review and Train Poetry Journal.

She was the recipient of the Jasun Singh Memorial Award in Creative Writing from The University of Toronto Scarborough.

Her essay, “Street by Street - Anecdotes to My Mother,” was featured in The Unpublished City II published by BookThug and co-edited by Dionne Brand, Canisia Lubrin and Phoebe Wang.

She was awarded the inaugural mentorship and publication opportunity with VS. Books. Her debut collection, Shut Up, You're Pretty, will be out in April. 

Mutonji studied a minor in creative writing at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where she focused primarily on poetry and nonfiction.

“My background is, in fact, in poetry, fiction being a new area of interest for me,” she says.

Beyond her forthcoming book, she is working on a poetry collection tentatively called 2018 and a novel, tentatively called, Love Poem To A Stripper

In their pieces in The Unpublished City collections, there is a recurring theme of lettering. They both also have stories that introspect the relationship between daughter and mother.

Mutonji said writing professionally “just happened.” “I was at the right place at the right the time.”

She said Scarborough has always been a character in her life. When her family immigrated to Canada in 1999 they lived in Scarborough and subsequently moved to Oshawa but Mutonji returned to her first neighbourhood in 2012.

For Dalton, her writing started when she was trying to figure out a number of changes happening in her life. These included coping with her mother’s death, being in a new same-sex relationship and trying to understand her place in the world.

Dalton says in some way she is in everything that she puts out – she describes her work as autobiographical fiction.

Joseph, a founding member of the dub poetry movement in Canada, has performed extensively in North America, Britain and the Caribbean.

He is the author of a book of poems, Metropolitan Blues, an album of poetry and music, Oral Trans/missions, and the video, Pimps. His poems have been included in numerous audio and written anthologies.






Thursday, 31 January 2019

Toronto Artist Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Legacy Poster


By Neil Armstrong



A Toronto artist is celebrating twenty-five years of documenting the lives of Black Canadians through his posters.

Robert Small, artrepreneur of Legacy Enterprises, is doing so in his Black History Month 2019 Legacy poster themed “The Yearbook” showcasing some of the people he has drawn over that time, those currently being featured, and some who will be in the future.

He is primarily buoyed by the community’s response noting that every year he is energized to do it again for the following year because of the reactions of people.

“For me, that’s always been an energy booster in that regard and knowing that my posters are having an impact in the school system,” he says.

He also enjoys doing it knowing that his children “will grow up knowing that their father did something that very few have accomplished.”

When he created the first poster in 1995, Small just wanted to get his name out there where anywhere he showed his artwork people would mention the work of Ugandan-Canadian artist David Kibuuka.

He said people also alluded to the work of Jamaican-Canadian photographer, Michael Chambers, and so he thought about being in the middle ground between both of them.

Their work inspired him and today he considers both men his role models. 

Photo contributed       Robert Small, Artrepreneur of Legacy Enterprises who is celebrating his 25th anniversary of creating the Legacy Poster


Small also had a student loan to pay off for his studies at the University of Windsor so that was further motivation to get his name out in the community.

To create the annual poster, he takes recommendations from the community, chooses community stalwarts but also tries to have a balance of males and females, diverse fields that they represent, “as well as the diversity with respect to gender but also with respect to which part of the country they’re at.”

He usually features people based on their accomplishments from Ontario and Nova Scotia because his posters are very popular in those provinces.

The artist intends to do some research on western Canada, the Maritimes and the Yukon Territory to find people who he can feature on future posters.

Regarding the theme of the poster, Small said he was thinking about how to celebrate its past as well as the present and so it was obvious that he had to talk about the future.

“So, I thought that calling it ‘the yearbook,’ obviously, a yearbook always focuses on the past and the present of a school year, whatever. I thought it would be really interesting and challenging to me to have all the pictures of those who have been on the poster before to really show the magnitude of how many people I’ve covered over the years.”

Small said it was fitting this one time, given the theme, to give a preview of who he will have on future posters but usually who will appear on the poster is usually a surprise.

As a result, for the first time, he has photos of some of whom he will feature in the future, like trendsetters Dalton Higgins, Kike Ojo, Barbara Hamilton-Hinch and Rosella Fraser.

The 2019 Legacy Poster will be launched at the Ontario Black History Society’s Black History Month kick-off brunch at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on January 27.

Small says he finds it very inspiring to be launching it at this signature event which has been consistent and which celebrates everyone coming together to recognize Black History Month.

He also acknowledged that his poster has withstood the years, noting that when he started there were several other posters promoting Black History that apparently are no longer around.

Initially, he called it ‘The Official Black History Month Poster’ but decided to change the name because of these competing posters, and when in 2007 the Bank of Montreal wanted to put his poster in every branch across Canada.

“I was having problems with the name itself because it was too long to say in an interview,” says Small, noting that it was too convoluted and he was having problems with the term ‘black’.

“Because if I asked ten people randomly what does black mean, ten black people will come up with ten different explanations. So I just felt that I was calling my book markers ‘Legacy’ at the time because ‘legacy’ can only fit on the book marker so I decided why don’t I call the poster ‘legacy’ and it will be fitting because I’m actually benefitting from the legacy of calling it The Official Black History Month Poster while I’m still alive.”

It also happened at about the time he became a father so he thought it was really a legacy to leave to his two daughters.

Featured on it this year’s poster are broadcast journalist Marci Ien, community advocate Ginelle Skerritt, the late Halifax educator Wade Smith, the late lawyer and community activist Charles Roach, former boxer Charles Jones and historian Dorothy Williams.

Over the past 25 years, several Jamaicans have been featured on Small’s posters including Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, Jully Black, Michael Chambers, Michael Lee-Chin, Dudley Laws, Sherona Hall, Afua Cooper, d’bi.young anitafrika, Trey Anthony, Pamela Appelt, Avis Glaze, among others.

[This story was published in the North American Weekly Gleaner, Jan. 24-30, 2019.]

Research to Examine the Impact of Scholarships on Black Students


By Neil Armstrong

Photo contributed   Dr. Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora in the Faculty of Education, York University


A research study on the impact of scholarships on Black students’ access to, retention in, and completion of post-secondary education is aiming to reach 800 to 1,000 scholarship recipients to complete an online survey by the end of February.
Led by Dr. Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora in the Faculty of Education at York University and principal investigator, the purpose of the study is to explore the experiences of Black post-secondary education (PSE) students, “noting the extent to which the community strategy of providing scholarships has helped them not only to access PSE, but also in their retention and successful completion of their PSE.”

Although its target number is as many as 1,000 scholarship recipients over a 10-year period (2008-2018), only 115 students have completed the survey so far. The aim is to have 100 recipients represented from each of those years over that period.

The study seeks to examine the role scholarships play in the post secondary education aspirations, academic performance, and educational and career outcomes of Black students across Ontario, with a focus on the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa and Windsor.

“We hope the findings from this study will help us construct a better understanding of how we can improve the outcomes of Black students in post-secondary institutions,” says Dr. Nemoy Lewis, postdoctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Education and the lead researcher of the study.
He says to date, there has been very little research that has explored how scholarships have worked in the life course of Black students; and organizations that award these scholarships have not had the resources, financial and personnel to conduct such research.

“Therefore, we hope this research will serve as an advocacy tool that will not only work to significantly enhance the educational opportunities and life chances of Black youth, but also provide insights into their educational and career experiences, trajectories, and outcomes generally.”
Photo contributed   Dr. Nemoy Lewis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education, York University


They are inviting students to participate in this research study by completing a brief survey on their experience with scholarships.

 The survey will ask questions about students’ high school and post-secondary education; scholarships received; current employment situation; and, about their parents’ education and occupation. It will not ask for their name, but will ask for their age, gender, and ethnic origin.

To be eligible students must: self-identify as Black (i.e. of African descent regardless of place of birth), have graduated from an Ontario high school, and received a scholarship for PSE between 2008 and 2018

Since September, the researchers have been working with various community scholarship providers to assist them in getting the word out about the study through their newsletters and posting information regarding the study on their social media platforms. They also attended various community events to promote the research.

Community organizations, like the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA), Black Business and Professional Association and United Achievers’ Club, have provided scholarships to students for many years.

“Dr. James’ groundbreaking research is important because for the first time, the community will document the impact organizations and donors have on many Black youth and their families; enable us to reflect on the things we have done well and lessons learned; and articulate and quantify our collective efforts at supporting youth. It is my hope that the research will also help to change the often negative narrative and perceptions about Black youth,” says Adaoma Patterson, president of the JCA.

She notes that the organization has been providing and facilitating the awarding of scholarships to black students for sixteen years.

“I am so proud that JCA is able to play a role in providing financial support and showcasing the many young men and women who excel, contribute to their communities and lead by example.”

She said scholarship awards and initiatives illustrate “the belief by many leaders in our community such as Dr. Ezra Nesbeth, retired professor Erma Collins, Dr. Mary Anne Chambers, Humber College, the JCA past presidents and many more that increased access to education is a key factor in the success of our youth. Their generosity and mentorship serves as a testament to the fact that we must lift as we climb and reach back when we succeed.”

The researchers note that survey participants will be eligible to win one of ten $50 gift cards.

“With your permission, you may be asked to participate in a follow-up focus group interviews (group discussion of 8-12 people) and/or individual interview,” states a letter about the research study to potential participants.

The link to the online survey is: http://edu.yorku.ca/blackscholarships


[This story was published in the North American Weekly Gleaner, Jan. 24-30, 2019.]

Friday, 25 January 2019

Report Calls on Government to Amend Regulation Concerning Street Checks


By Neil Armstrong

Photo contributed    Justice Michael Tulloch of the Court of Appeal for Ontario


A recently released report is calling on the Ontario government to amend a regulation to state that no police officer should arbitrarily or randomly stop individuals to request their identifying information.

The Report of the Independent Street Checks Review conducted by Jamaica-born  Justice Michael Tulloch, a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, also recommends that officers should be instructed that the requirements of the regulation “apply when a police officer requests identifying information in a regulated interaction, whether or not the officer retains and records the identifying information.”

Justice Tulloch publicly released the report, which includes 104 recommendations, at a hotel in downtown Toronto on January 4.

On June 7, 2017, the judge was appointed by the Government of Ontario to lead an independent review of Regulation 58/16, which was introduced in 2016, and its implementation.

The regulation outlines Ontario’s new rules on the collection of identifying information by police in certain circumstances, “a practice that is commonly known as street checks (and sometimes referred to as carding),” the report notes.

“Street checks were originally intended as an investigative tool to capture the information of people who police had reason to suspect of being involved in criminal activity. Over time, however, it grew into a much less focused practice.

“Some police services began collecting and storing personal identifying information of many citizens without any belief that they were involved in criminal activity, and without much evidence that such databases were particularly useful in solving crime,” said Justice Tulloch in the executive summary of the 295-page report.

He said many of the issues surrounding carding and street checks stem from a misunderstanding of the terms themselves.

“A street check is where information is obtained by a police officer concerning an individual, outside of a police station, that is not part of an investigation.”

The report notes that this is a very broad category of police information gathering, and much of it is legitimate intelligence gathering of potentially useful information.

“Carding, as referred to in this report, is a small subset of street checks in which a police officer randomly asks an individual to provide identifying information when the individual is not suspected of any crime, nor is there any reason to believe that the individual has information about any crime. This information is then entered into a police database.”

The report recommends that, “no police service should randomly stop people in order to collect and record identifying information and create a database for general intelligence purposes.”

Valarie Steele of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC)


Valarie Steele of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) describes the report as excellent noting that it has been done by someone who has a good understanding of what is happening.

“This is somebody who has had experience looking at things like that and the conclusion that he has come to is the right one.”

She said one of the things that continue “to elude the police is that they are thirsty for being respected but most of the things they do earn them the disrespect.”

“Even though rank and file may tell you how fair and how professional and how dedicated they are, my overarching attitude is that they are dedicated to being disrespected by the Black community based on the way they treat them.”

She describes the report as “a foundation document that we will be able to look at in the future” and that it is evident that Justice Tulloch has listened.

Steele said successive provincial governments waited twenty-five years before they looked at policing in Ontario.

She said the BADC has participated in all of the consultations and has been at this for decades, which is why she is encouraging the young people to “fight them tooth and nail and blame every level of government for the disadvantage.”

A recommendation says the regulation “should state that chiefs of police should ensure that every police officer on their police service who attempts to collect identifying information does so in compliance with this regulation.”

The report wants the Province of Ontario to make efforts “to raise public awareness about the content of the regulation, and the circumstances under which people are and are not required to provide identifying information to the police.”

In its response to the report, the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) says it supports the intent of the regulation and is in the process of reviewing the significant report by Justice Tulloch. 

“We await the provincial government's substantive response to these important recommendations.  We also look forward to engaging with the government as it considers each of the recommendations, including how the province can develop a robust public education campaign and police training that will provide police officers and members of the public with a better understanding of their rights and obligations during interactions that fall within the Regulation.  The Board also looks forward to more broadly engaging with the government as it determines what changes it will be making to the Safer Ontario Act,” says the TPSB in an email.

The board says it has been demonstrating its commitment and leadership in this area over the last several years. 

TPSB says its policy on “Regulated Interaction with the Community and the Collection of Identifying Information” seeks to establish “a process that will enhance public trust concerning the collection of identifying information, promote police-community engagement and improve community relations.”

It says it welcomes the opportunity Justice Tulloch’s report provides to bring consistency across the province in this important form of police-public interaction.

Sylvia Jones, minister of community safety and correctional services, said the government will review the recommendations and is “committed to developing legislation that works for our police and for the people of Ontario.”
“Our new police legislation will reflect a simple principle: racism and discrimination have no place in policing. Justice Tulloch’s report will inform our work as we fix Ontario’s policing legislation,” she said.

[This story was published in the North American Weekly Gleaner, Jan. 17-23, 2019.]

Action Plan to be Unveiled at the Second National Black Canadians Summit


By Neil Armstrong

Photo credit: Clive Sewell    Peter Flegel, Director of Programming and Development at the Michaëlle Jean Foundation speaking at the first National Black Canadians Summit in Toronto in December 2017


Canada’s capital, Ottawa, will be the meeting place for hundreds of people from across the country to converge for the four-day 2019 National Black Canadians Summit to celebrate Black History Month and the UN International Decade for People of African Descent.

Under the theme “Mapping Our Future: Face to Face with our Lawmakers,” it will be held at the National Arts Centre from February 1 to 4 ending with a meeting with parliamentarians at “Black Voices on the Hill” and an official Black History Month reception.

Peter Flegel, director of programming and development at the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and organizer, said the first summit held in Toronto in December 2017 celebrated the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024, and its theme, “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.”

This involved 800 black leaders and stakeholders across Canada working together to develop a strategic action plan to implement the goals of the decade – recognition, justice and development.

He said over the course of three days they had structured and strategic conversations around what should be the goals, objectives and targets for an action plan addressing issues such as access to justice, housing, black wealth and ownership, and a host of other issues that affect the Black community.

Flegel said out of that came 300 recommendations which were synthesized over a year into one action plan which will be unveiled at the summit.

“What we’ll be doing now is then looking at which of the organizations are already doing the critical work that are identified as key objectives and targets of the plan. And then secondly, where are the gaps in terms of services, funding, legislation and policy and how can we fill those gaps.”

Based on those gaps, in light of the federal election in October this year, they will determine which three or four asks they should be making to the government and to the other federal political parties.

Speaking of “Black Voices on the Hill” on February 4, Flegel said, “Black leaders who were at the summit will go meet with Cabinet ministers as well as representatives of the other federal parties to make those asks and to ensure that the priorities of the Black community across the country become part of the platforms of the main federal political parties.”

Responding to feedback from the first summit that there needed to be more outreach across Canada, particularly to black youth, he said funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage allowed organizers to do consultations that focused on anti-Black racism.

These Black community jam sessions were held in five cities to engage black youth and get additional recommendations for the plan.

“We also did an online engagement which has reached over 100,000 Black Canadians from across the country, again gaining feedback for the plan.”

Flegel says moving forward they will continue to engage with their partners through Black community organizations and individuals to try to ensure that as many people as possible can be included in the process.

The plenary -- “Bring the Canadian Judiciary into the 21st century” -- was inspired by the recent Ontario Judicial Council hearing of a complaint brought against Justice Donald McLeod for his involvement in the Federation of Black Canadians.

“The complaint was rejected by the council and there was actually, kind of, a precedence within this decision which stipulated that engagement in, kind of, Black organizing is essential to fighting anti-Black racism within the Canadian judicial system and ensuring of public trust in the Canadian judicial system. So that’s a precedence that we’ve never seen before in Canada, and I wonder if that’s actually been done anywhere in any other jurisdiction around the world.”

Flegel said this will give Justice McLeod a chance to speak about his ordeal and to place it in a national and also global context “in terms of looking at a more engaged judiciary than we’re used to seeing in Canada and in elsewhere.”

There will also be a workshop session where a member of the Federation of Black Canadians will speak about what it has done since its inception and plans for the future.

Flegel said what the Michaëlle Jean Foundation is doing is giving a platform to the Canadian Black community.  

He is expecting about three hundred people to attend the four-day event.

Flegel says the feedback from the first summit was very positive with many saying that it was a wonderful opportunity to meet likeminded movers and shakers from across the country.

He said it is rare that one gets the opportunity, if from Ottawa, “to meet somebody from Vancouver or Halifax or Montreal that is doing something similar to what you’re doing.”

“It was a great opportunity to network, share ideas, to build relationships, build new projects and just the energy, we were told, was also extremely positive.”

Flegel said as organizers they listened carefully to the positive feedback and also the critiques and have tailored this year’s programming accordingly.

They are planning to have one more summit in 2020 that will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia to honour the historical African Nova Scotian community.

At that one they will look back at what has happened since the first summit and where they want to go from there.

With the community they will determine what the next step will be but Flegel thinks the most important thing is the strategic action plan, which goes up to 2024 when the International Decade ends.

He says it allows the community to provide itself with “a blueprint and moving forward in terms of meeting the goals that are laid out in the International Decade which is higher development, better access to justice and recognition.”

Among some of the speakers at this year’s summit are political strategist Tiffany Gooch, political commentator Brittany Andrew-Amofah, and vice-president of the Women’s Federation of Quebec, Marlihan Lopez.

One recommendation from last year was to have a cross-cultural conversation so they have invited Bernie Farber, former executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Nadia Hasan, deputy director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims to share their best practices around what worked for them in terms of advocating the government.

“There’s an opportunity for us to learn from other communities and for other communities to learn from the Black community,” says Flegel.

This year’s summit is being organized in partnership with the Federation of Black Canadians and the Somali Centre for Family Services, as well as approximately 20 Black community organizations from across the country.


Saturday, 19 January 2019

SOME 2019 BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS




SUNDAY, JAN. 27
2019 Black History Month Kick-off Brunch hosted by the Ontario Black History Society; 12:00 p.m. at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front St. W., Toronto. Keynote speaker: historian Dr. Afua Cooper. Call 416-867-9420
Cost: $85-$125

Check out td.com/blackhistorymonth for a list of events sponsored by TD Bank during Black History Month and happening in: Toronto & GTA, Southern Ontario, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Atlantic Canada and Western Canada.
 


FRIDAY, FEB. 1
Kuumba, Toronto’s longest-running celebration of Black History Month; Feb. 1, 2, 15, 16 & 20; Harbourfront Centre.
Cost: Some events are free, others ticketed

The Journey to Black Liberation Symposium + The Black Liberation Ball
The Black Daddies Club (BDC) founder Brandon Hay; Michael Roberson Maasai Mason-Margiella (Ultra-red/ C-RRED/ Adjunct Professor Union Theology Seminary, NY; and Twysted Miyake-Muglerfounder of the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance
The line-up for the plenaries:
Ballroom Has Something to Say
Friday, February 1, 8:00pm–10:00pm
Learn how the Ballroom communities’ responses to race, class, gender, sexuality and gender expression impact the lives of Black communities as a whole.
For the Love of Money: A Conversation Around Sex Work and Black Bodies
Friday, February 1, 8:00pm–10:00pm
This conversation looks to create space for sex workers to debunk some of the myths around
their profession.
What is Blackness? A Conversation Around Race, Politics and Gender in the Black Community
Saturday, February 2, 11:00am–12:30pm
Unpack what Blackness may or may not be from an international perspective
Voguing Workshop with The Icon Arturo Mugler
Saturday, February 2, 2:00pm– 2:00pm
Learn the basic elements of Vogue and work through movements with The Icon Arturo Mugler.
Art & Activism
Saturday, February 2, 1:00pm– 2:30pm
Artists at different stages in their lives share their experiences and how their art has impacted their environments for the better.
What are Black Fathers Teaching Their Sons About Love?
Saturday, February 2, 2:30pm– 4:00pm
This discussion delves into the complexities and the importance of Black parents teaching their children about love, even when they may be struggling with loving others and themselves.
I AM WOMAN - A conversation with Dominique Jackson
Saturday, February 2, 2:30pm– 4:00pm
In this intimate conversation, Dominique Jackson, best known for her leading role of Elektra Abundance on the FX television series Pose, discusses her life and the challenges and achievements that have made her the woman she is today.
Runway Workshop with The Legendary Twiggy Pucci Garçon
Saturday, February 2, 4:00pm– 6:00pm
Poses. Turns. Strut. Stance. Attitude. The legendary Twiggy Pucci Garçon guides you towards an unforgettable, creative runway performance
Black People Being Honest: A Conversation Around Monogamy, Polyamory and Black Love
Saturday, February 2, 5:30pm– 7:00pm
Where do we learn about love and how to love each other? Unearth the answer to this and more questions during this conversation focused on loving relationships in the Black community.
The Black Liberation Ball
Saturday, February 2, 9:30pm– 2:30am
Longboat Hall, 1087 Queen St. West.   A 19+ event. Tickets: $15
This event will be a celebration of Blackness; and a stage where performers from across North America will come together and engage in dialogue.

BLACK FUTURES Hart House (UofT)
BLACK FUTURES is a series of programs using the lens of Afrofuturism to explore and present arts, dialogue and well-being.
The Ugly Black Woman
Fri., Feb. 1, 2019, 6:30–8:30 pm
Great Hall, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle
The Ugly Black Woman is a one night only performance with actor and powerful vocalist Nicky Lawrence. Featuring the songs and stories of female jazz and blues greats—Billie, Ella, Nina, Lena, Etta, Dinah and Sarah. This musical journey and discussion will not only reflect on their histories, but also consider the present realities and emerging futures for Black Canadian women and Black female artists globally. Nicky’s personal experiences and perspectives on the “ugly Black woman”, through her own stories and music, will be part of this unique concert and dialogue. 20% off tickets until January 26th - regular price $25! Use the promo code HOTJAZZ. Student tickets $10

Inaugural launch of the International Caribbean Inventors and Icons Museum The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity - Humber College
Admission is free
Opening Ceremony: Friday, February 1, 10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
North Campus, E-Concourse, 205 Humber College Boulevard
Exhibit Schedule
Friday, February 1 and 2, 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
North Campus, E-Concourse, 205 Humber College Boulevard
Thursday, February 28, 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Lakeshore Campus, L1017, 2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive

Contact Jodie Glean at Jodie.Glean@humber.ca if you have any accommodation requirements.



SATURDAY, FEB. 2
Community Day Painting Project; 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Jamaican Canadian Association Centre, 995 Arrow Rd., Toronto. Call 647-880-9196

SATURDAY, FEB. 2 (8:00 am) - MONDAY, FEB. 4 
2019 National Black Canadians Summit by Influence Orbis, National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St., Ottawa. 
The 2019 National Black Canadians Summit is a high-energy and inclusive convergence of hundreds of people from across Canada, in Ottawa, from Feb. 2 to 4, 2019, to mark Black History Month and the UN International Decade for People of African Descent.
Register on Eventbrite. 

SATURDAY, FEB. 2
Hamilton Black History Committee invites you to the 23rd annual Reverend John C. Holland Awards; 5:30 pm-1:30 am at Grand Central Ballroom, LIUNA Station, 360 James St. N., Hamilton.
Tickets: $85 (adult); $75 (seniors: over 65); $65 (youth: under 21)
johnhollandawards2019.eventbrite.ca

THURSDAY, FEB. 7 – SATURDAY, FEB. 9
The Black & Caribbean Book Affair at A Different Booklist, 777-779 Bathurst St., Toronto. A free event.



THURSDAY, FEB. 7
ROOTS: Digging Deeper & Building Stronger, a panel discussion; 7:00-9:00 p.m. inside the Auditorium, 1A Knightsbridge Rd., Brampton.
Register at Eventbrite or call 905-451-8090 ext. 122


THURSDAY, FEB. 7

b current performing arts launches Black Future Month in a celebration of the Black community’s countless contributions; 6:30-9:30 pm at CSI Annex Garage, 720 Bathurst St., Toronto.

There will be a featured conversation with Maxine Bailey, former vice-president of advancement at the Toronto International Film Festival, and led by comedienne and bcHUB training program graduate, Aba Amuquandoh.

Tickets:  40 tickets to Black-identified folks are Pay-What-You-Can

40 tickets for Allies at $40 each




 

SATURDAY, FEB. 9

The Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment presents “It Takes A Village” Black History Month celebration and fundraiser; 11:00 am-1:00 pm at The Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park (Kipling & Lakeshore), Toronto. Guest speaker: Jean Augustine

Tickets: $10   Eventbrite
 


SUNDAY, FEB. 10
Boonoonoonos Brunch presented by the Jamaican Canadian Association in celebrating of Miss Lou’s 100th birthday; 1:00-5:00 p.m. at the JCA Centre, 995 Arrow Rd., Toronto. Call 416-746-5772 x.219
Admission: Early Bird Tickets $55, After Jan. 31: 460



TUESDAY, FEB. 12
Historica Canada presents “Raising our Voices – Sharing Black Canadian Stories”; 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor St. W., Toronto.
Speakers include: Former NBA All-Star and Toronto Raptors assistant coach and community ambassador, Jamaal D. Magloire; chemist and CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning, Eugenia Duodu; host of NBATV Canada’s “The Hangout” Akil Augustine; executive director of Rainbow Railroad Kimahli Powell; and spoken word artist, author and activist, MayaSpoken.
RSVP at Eventbrite


BLACK FUTURES Hart House (UofT)
Black Entrepreneurs and Visionaries Table Talk
Feb 12, 1-3pm
Music Room, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle FREE. Lunch will be provided.
Meet six innovative, dynamic and influential Black women and men who are making waves, changing narratives and creating a bright future for the Black Diaspora. Hear firsthand from this eclectic group of entrepreneurs about the impact they are making and their vision for the future. A fantastic opportunity to talk, share stories and learn from their journey.
Special Guest Speakers
   Lucia Bakulumpagi-Wamala, founder of Bakulu Power
   Emily Mills Founder and CEO, How She Hustles | HERstory in Black, former senior 
communicator at CBC
   Camille Mitchell Architect, KPMB
   Danardo Jones Lawyer, Educator & Former Director of Legal Service at the African 
Canadian Legal Clinic
   Sepo Achempong co-founder and visionary Director of Black Owned Unity
   Aisha Addo Founder and CEO, DriveHER


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 13 – MONDAY, FEB. 18
The 7th annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF).
www.torontoblackfilm.com


FRIDAY, FEB. 15
A Different Booklist along with the University of Toronto departments of African Studies, History, and the Women and Gender Institute present a book launch and lecture Pan-Africanism: A History by Dr. Hakim Adi; 7:30-9:30 p.m. at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, 777 Bathurst St., Toronto. A free event.


FRIDAY, FEB. 15 (KUUMBA)
OH NO! I’m becoming my mother and other fears of black women; 8:00 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West.
Tickets: $35/$40

The visionary and hilarious Trey Anthony returns to Harbourfront Centre for the second installment of Kuumba 2018’s A Black Girl In Love (With Herself). Focusing on black women and our relationships with our mothers and ourselves, this interactive night of discussion will explore lessons we learned from our mothers, infertility, choosing not to have children, and how we balance work, love, and motherhood.

Featuring a screening of the short documentary film How Black Mothers Say I Love You, the evening promises to have you exhaling, laughing, crying and yelling “yes girl!”
Trey Anthony is an award-winning playwright, executive producer, actor, creator and stand-up comedian.


SATURDAY, FEB. 16 (KUUMBA)
Dat Gyal Funny! 8:00 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West.
Tickets: $35/$40

The show that took Toronto by storm is back by popular demand! Gina Yashere stars in a night of pure belly laughs featuring a hilarious line up of the best Women-of-Colour comedians. Nuff laughs and nuff jokes!
Hosted and produced by Trey Anthony.




SATURDAY, FEB. 16

Peel United Cultural Partners presents the 18th annual Black History Month Concert; 5:00-9:00 p.m. at Century Gardens Recreation Centre, 340 Vodden St. East, Brampton.  Guest speaker: Natasha Henry, president of the Ontario Black History Society. Community Leadership Award presented to Justice Donald McLeod.

Tickets: $10, Children 2 and under: Free

For tickets, call: Christine 905-789-1551/416-206-9798 or Lucinda 905-796-1916/905-459-1942

Peel United Cultural Partners is a collaboration of the Congress of Black Women, Brampton Chapter and the United Achievers’ Club.




 
SATURDAY, FEB. 16
A TRIBUTE TO THE LEGENDS OF REGGAE - Into The Dancehall presented by Jones and Jones Productions; 8:00 p.m. at the Rose Theatre, Brampton. This is a musical ‘Rockumentary’ that salutes the lives and music of legendary dancehall artists. Featuring live from Jamaica: Lt. Stitchie, Tiger & Pinchers! Also featuring 5-time Juno Award winner Exco Levi who will be paying tribute to Reggae legend Garnett Silk! Hosted by Master T. Music by Joshua Lucas. Join us for this Black History Month Reggae Jam.
Tickets: $25-$45


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 20 (KUUMBA)
LAUNCH OF THE ANTHOLOGY “BLACK WRITERS MATTER” edited by Whitney French. 7:30-8:30 p.m., Lakeside Terrace, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto. A free event.

This Black History Month, the Toronto International Festival of Authors and Kuumba invite you to celebrate the release of Black Writers Matter, an anthology of African Canadian creative nonfiction featuring works from established and emerging writers.
Join editor Whitney French as she talks to contributors Scott Fraser, Simone Dalton, Angela Wright and Phillip Dwight Morgan about the importance of sharing Black narratives, the origins and personal significance of their respective pieces, and how each of their stories contributes to a nuanced understanding of the Black Canadian experience.


THURSDAY, FEB. 21

Citizens for the Advancement of Community Development (CACD) annual Black History Month event “Celebrating Our Diversity and Our Commonality”; 6:30-9:30 pm at Mississauga Valley Community Centre, Larry Taylor Auditorium, 1275 Mississauga Valley Blvd., Mississauga.

RSVP at rcunnin123@rogers.com or call Ron Cunningham, executive director, 647-339-2223


 





SATURDAY, FEB. 23
William Franklyn Leathers in Concert; 8:00 p.m. at the Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto. Presented by Joy Bullen, Black History Month Music Tours.
Tickets: $45; $40 for students and seniors
Agakhanmuseum.org or call 416-646-4677



SATURDAY, FEB. 23

Shape The Future, a concert featuring jazz sextet, Kalabash; 7:30 pm at Studio Theatre, Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., Toronto. Reception at 6:30 pm featuring jazz pianist, Eddie Bullen.

Tickets: $75 (including 1 drink ticket) to benefit A Different Booklist Cultural Centre: The People’s Residence and the Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Award at York University.




 
SATURDAY, FEB. 23
TD’s BLACK DIAMOND BALL 2019 presented by ArtXperiential Projects, 6:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. at Fairmont Royal York Hotel, 100 Front St., Toronto.
Tickets: $105-$250

Toronto's fourth annual TD Black Diamond Ball will be held at the luxurious Fairmont Royal York hotel and will be filled with entertainers, business leaders and community members for a night of unforgettable music, dance and food by today's hottest local and international talents. This formal affair is part of TD Bank's annual Black History Month series of cultural events which will showcase the past and present accomplishments of Black Canadians.
 

THURSDAY, FEB. 28
Launch of the world tour of Fr.ances-Anne Solomon’s film, “HERO,” inspired by the extraordinary live and times of Ulric Cross. Tickets: $30
CaribbeanTales is Proud to Present: The Official Launch of the “HERO” World Tour
With Peter Williams (Stargate SG1), Joseph Marcell (Fresh Prince of Belair), Fraser James (Terminator) , Ghanaian superstars John Dumelo and Adjetey Anang, and starring Trinidad and Tobago's Nickolai Salcedo as Ulric Cross.
OFFICIAL TOUR KICKS OFF IN TORONTO CANADA before hitting the Caribbean, North America, Africa and Europe.
DATE: Thursday, February 28th 2019 | TIME: 7pm   
PLACE: TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West, Toronto ON M5V 3X5


7:00pm Film Presentation: 
HERO - Inspired By The Extraordinary Life & Times Of Mr. Ulric Cross  
9:15pm: Talk Back with Actors
10:00pm: AFTER PARTY
Shot in Trinidad, Ghana, the UK and Canada, HERO is the story of  Ulric Cross, who in 1941,  left his small island home to seek his fortune, and became the RAF’s most decorated West Indian. His life took a different course when he followed the call of history and joined the Pan-African movement sweeping the world in the 50’s and 60’s.


[Compiled mainly from emails sent to me and some annual events that I know happen in February. Thanks Arnold Minors for sharing several of these.]