Monday, March 17, 2014

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As I've read the pieces of the other writers here at African Dynamo, I've realized that learning only stops if an individual wants it to.  As I've read about new movies and television series that Id never heard of, I've grown to appreciate that the world is a boundless ball of adventure, and members of the African Diaspora have added to the rich fabric of life.  The range of Black Canadian artists extends well beyond the popular American artist Drake.  He is a preeminent Rapper who began his career as an actor in a television series.  One would never know that he was born in Canada.  He has no noticeable accent and has blended in with the likes of Lil Wayne, Rihanna (born in Barbados) and Nicky Minaj ( a Trinidadian) quite well. As I complete this post on Artists from my neighbor to the north, I hope to help readers to also appreciate this great diversity of artists.

Barbara Mamabolo was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1986.  She is an actress and has also recorded an album with her band Mamabolo.  Her band has played in the Montreal Jazz Festival.  One of my goals in life is to make it north for one of these festivals.  Her single, Night After Night, was featured in the film Suck.  Suck is a rock and roll vampire comedy.  I understand the divide between our countries because I have never heard of the film.  Ms. Mamabolo played in the Canadian production of the Wizard of Oz.  She also played the role of Robin in the Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.  She is a strikingly beautiful artist and should be primed for larger roles in the future.

Shakura S'Aida is a blues and jazz vocalist, songwriter and actress.  Her origins can be claimed by a number of countries.  She was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived in Switzerland before moving to Canada.  I would love to talk with her one day and find out about her journey.  She was the lead singer for a group called Kaleefah.before beginning her solo career.  She has performed backup for a major African American artist named Patti Labelle.  She also displays her versatility by acting.  She was in stage plays of George Boyd's Consecrated Ground in 2004.  She also played in Doomstown in 2006.  This play explored the issue of gang violence in Toronto.  Shakura is also a very beautiful member of the Diaspora.

Joseph Jomo Pierre is a Trinidadian Canadian actor and playwright.  His 2013 play, Shakespeare's Nigga, explored racism by portraying Shakespeare as the owner of Aaron from Titus Andromena and Othello from Othello.  I give credit to the artistic impulse of whomever wrote this play.  Othello was a proud Moor from my recollection of the play and was tricked in his pursuit of Desdemona by the villainous Iago.  Mr. Pierre's work led him to be nominated for the Governor's General Award for English language.Mr. Pierre has also appeared in other plays such as Black on Both Sides and The Seed.  Mr. Pierre's goal as an artist is to portray the under represented Black faces and give an image to everyday struggle.  He also calls himself a child of hip-hop.  This reference is a credit to the influence of rap music throughout the world.

Peter Mensah is the Artist whom I was most familiar with after my research.  He was born in Ghana and lived in England before settling in Canada.  What is the force of this country that pulls the members of the Diaspora?  I would like to know.   I was impressed by Mr. Mensah's role as Oenamus in Spartacus.  He would remind a viewer of a powerful African warrior.  He has played in Highlander and La Femme Nikita.  He always plays the role of someone you would not like to see walking down the street at night.  He has performed voice overs for a number of characters including in The Transformers movies.

In this part of my series a reader can again see the variety of people of color that make up the Black Canadian population.  The population is not monolithic and the artists of color are are so versatile.  I have been having some problems locating Black Canadian Educators so I might complete this series by focusing on another aspect of Black Canadian life.  I have not come across any of our brethren in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada.  Let's take a look there in my next post.


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