This past 2 weekends has been a great example of people coming together here in Montreal. It was kicked off with Hip Hop You Don’t Stop Festival, Black Fem Art followed by The Black Film Festival, and Sayaspora : Diaspora Speaking. Not to mention, Pop Montreal for taking place for the indie music enthusiast, the events have put a lot on the table with the main message ‘The Importance of Community’. If I didn’t take part, I was blessed to witness and by the end of the night I was smiling from ear to ear.
This is super motivating, there is hope in the future. It’s a renaissance into the ‘here and now’ generation, self-professing through art. It has always been but with the climate outside it is critical to have events like these to celebrate existence and culture. At the Black Fem Art Exhibition, I didn’t want to leave and so many came out. There was spoken word and showcasing their art were 10 black Montreal-artists that have been blazing the pathway: Keithy Antoine, Jessica Valoise and Maliciouz as among the many. And if I didn’t have to teach dance class that same evening, trust me, I would have stayed ’til the end.
On the same tip, I had a great time at the Sayaspora: Diaspora Speaking event, displaying a pool of entrepreneurs, artists and professionals over some bites and cocktails. To top that off with a discussion panel of 3 prestigious black women: Gracia Kosaki, president of REPAF, Shanna Strauss, mixed-media artist, Roselyne Zamor, Parlementary Assistant at the Parliment of Canada. The discussion was called “XWomen of the Diaspora: Identity and Challenges” where it focused on roots and how it effects our identity in the world today. We ask the question “How does the world sees us?” It effects all of us, dealing with self-acceptance but we don’t ever announce it. We think it’s a personal issue.
The topic of identity unfortunately still to this day has to be explained, corrected and comprehended. We are living in a time that society wants to define us but when WE define us there lies confusion. We live in a mish mash of different cultures just being in North America alone and it’s a beautiful thing, but there is strange paradox. We see inclusion of many cultures in media especially through images,(not even touching on different skin tones),to show equality but in reality is not always the case. The questions I got since I was a child from being “light skin” is already proof to me that we need to know oneself. If you don’t know yourself, somebody will definitely define you whether you like it or not.
As the panel carried on, the words of representation for the next generation and Sisterhood floated through the air. It is a crucial step to uplift the sisters, the ones who carry the children and sets the tone for the raising of the community at large. And the myth of only 1 woman being #1 should be banished forever. How we present ourselves and how we present to our children are uber important, I couldn’t agree more, and sets the bar high for the youth to aspire to. The youth need someone like them, that relates to them and who look like them who are successful and in turn will feel they too can get where they want to be.
We got to face these questions if we want to live in a transparent community. Know that we have every right to be. Where ever we are in the world whether we were born here or there, up or down, we can be proud of where we come from and where we are going.