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Showing posts from February, 2010

"SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION": New Civil Rights Film a Musical/Historical Trip!

Hot Docs' monthly screening series, Doc Soup, is screening the feature documentary, SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION (USA, 82 MIN) by filmmakers Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman (NANKING, Hot Docs 2007 selection; TWIN TOWERS,2003 Academy Award winner). Bill will be in attendance on Wednesday.

I had a chance to speak to director, Bill Gutenttentag today about the film: the music that inspired and motivated a generation of young political activists who were part of the Civil Right's Movement in the US, the current roster of musicians who re-interpret songs from the era, and Danny Glover's role as Executive Director. My interview with Bill will air on Saturday, February 20th at 1pm on CIUT 89.5 FM or

Check out the Doc Soup screening Wednesday for a new look at the Movement and the music.

Wednesday, February 17th
6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West
Featuring new performances by:
John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean and The Root…

Black History Month FYI

With the Olympics starting today, I thought I would honour a Canadian athlete. In my search I came across an athlete whose name was a distant memory from past explorations in Canadian history from a Black perspective. He's not an Olympian (winter or summer), but he is an athlete of note.

GEORGE DIXONis the first Black world boxing champion AND the first ever Canadian-born boxing champion. Born in Africville, Nova Scotia in 1870, George was known as "Little Chocolate"; he stood 5 foot 3 inches tall. You can find out more about George and other Nova Scotian athletes by visiting:

Black Past

Canada Sports Hall of Fame:

Our Roots/Nos Racine (

Director, Rhoma Spencer on I MARCUS GARVEY

Since 2004, the Theatre Archipelego has pursued it's mission to promote works from the Caribbean and its Diaspora. My last focus on the theatre was my broadcast interview last Spring with playwright/actor, Edwige Jean-Pierre about Our Lady of Spills which was directed by theatre Founder and Artistic Director, Rhoma Spencer. This time round, I had the opportunity to ask Spencer about the theatre's latest production, I Marcus Garvey, which she also directs.

The name of Marcus Garvey comes up a lot during Black History Month. Why did Theatre Archipelago choose to focus on Garvey instead of a lesser-known historical figure?

I find that a great amount of this generation do not know who he is. He is well known to our West Indian parents but their Canadian grandchildren don’t have a clue who is Marcus Garvey. Needless to say, the average white Canadian is even less aware of Garvey let alone something called the UNIA, his United Negro Improvement Association. I also wanted to do th…

Harbourfront Centre's Kuumba Festival

Harbourfront Centre always has great festivals year-round. Here is just a taste of what they have going on during their Kuumba Black History Month Festival. All events are FREE ADMISSION.

Drum Till You Drop!
Barrington Hibbert, a founding member of Baro Dununba: Ancestral Wisdom through Drums, leads a workshop where you’ll learn one rhythm from West Africa (sofa). Sofa (which translates to “warrior”) was originally played on a stringed instrument called a "bolon." Learn the accompanying parts played on the djembe, sangban, kensedeni and dununba.

Brigantine Room, 1:30 p.m, FREE ADMISSION

Soul Power
In 1974, the most celebrated American R&B acts of the time came together with the most renowned musical groups in Africa for a 12-hour, three-night concert held in Kinshasa, Zaire to accompany Ali’s Rumble In The Jungle. Included are performances by James Brown, Manu Dibango, BB King, Miriam Makeba, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz and many others.

Studio The…

Caribbean Tales Youth Film Festival (Feb. 2nd - 25th)

Those of you with children in high school should check out the Caribbean Tales Youth Film Festivalwebsite and ask your child(ren)'s school to schedule some field trips. Like it or not, if our main institutions are going to do anything to promote Black/African-Canadian contributions, it's during Black History Month. The festival screens films at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm, and sometimes include a talk back session so students can speak directly to members of the filmmaking community. How often do Canadian children get a chance to do this, let alone be in the same space with a black filmmaker? The festival is a good mix of shorts, dramas, music videos, live action and animation. A particular favourite of mine is "Where Do White People Go When the Long Weekend Comes" by Powys Dewhurst.

The Festival is also open to the general public, not just school groups/students.

Caribbean Tales Youth Film Festival
February 2nd - 25th
William Doo Auditorium (south of Harbord off Spadina)
45 Wil…

Black History Month at the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) is a great place to start your Black History Month Celebration. TIPL's month-long "Voices" Programming will kick on February 3rd with a talk by Karolyn Smardz Frost about Ontario historian Fred Landon. Born in London, Ontario in 1880, Landon graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1906, and went on to become the chief librarian at London Public Library in 1916. Among the other "voices" to be heard at a variety of TPL locations are Austin Clarke, Dalton Higgins, Sandra Whiting, trey anthony, Njacko Backo, and Muhtadi, just to name a few participants. Click here for TPL's Black History Month line up. 

On January 30th I had the pleasure of speaking with TPL staffer, Rachelle Gooden on TmTm. Gooden is in charge of purchasing material for the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection. The extensive collection of 16, 000 items is housed at four main locations: Malvern, Parkdale, York Woods, and Gooden's home …