Showing posts from May, 2020

Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2020 going live on line this July

Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2020   Ready to Jump Digitally This July By Stephen Weir for the Caribbean Camera: Ooh la la costumes. Thundering pans. Sweet calypso. And while they are at it, throw in a few big name soca performers. Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2020 is getting ready to digitally jump up and thumb noses at the Coronavirus  come July. While the annual summer festival in downtown Toronto has been cancelled this year because of  COVD-19, the festival  with its rich traditions will be coming to a computer screen near you in about five weeks Late yesterday afternoon, Aneesa Oumarally, CEO of the Festival Management Committee (FMC) which organizes the carnival, told The Caribbean Camera that it ‘s ” all systems go  for the Big Event. “The goal of the Digital Carnival is to remember yesteryear, remember what we are missing and showcase the the carnival to the world at large, to those that don’t come downtown and sit on the grass,” said Oumarally. Carnival Yes!
“ We will show them all the…
Brand new association to amplify the success stories of Canadian media members of African descent. By Stephen Weir  Whispers about a new Black media association was being formed was first being heard back in March after a Friday night Toronto get-together with members of the press and community business leaders.  Now, despite the Coronus virus shutdown, it is official, the Black Media Association (BMA) has been born. On Tuesday the newly formed group sent out an explanatory press release to media outlets across the country. The BMA says that it seeks to engage Black membership from the entire field of Canadian media.  It is committed to assist with the gathering, archiving and disseminating information about the success stories of Canadian people of African descent.   The founder and chairman of this new association is Moses Mawa (pictured above)He and his wife Patricia own and operate the Toronto based 24-hour Afroglobal Television channel and other media properties. “ We want to hold f…
Home Schooling’s Flickring Life Line – UK’s National Archives Steps Up Its Caribbean Collection of Photos

Need a photograph of downtown Port of Spain, from let’s say, 1899? Or, ever seen a picture of Haiti’s first Mardi Gras? Flickr, the world’s largest repository of photographs – 6 billion and counting – is a useful tool for a family’s home schooling duties. For the past decade, Flickr has been working with more than 135 archives, museums and historical associations to make historic photographs and graphic treasures available to the public for personal and school use. Now, in this period of forced home studies for school aged children, the Flickr archive programme (called the Commons) is proving to be an easy to use, resource with pictures you can’t easily or freely get anywhere else!
Canadian museums, the George Eastman Museum, the US Library of Congress, The State Library of New South Wales and the Smithsonian are just a few of the institutions freely making their material available t…

Why are Caribbean Canadian authors are winning all the Canadian literary prizes

Kaie Kellough Wins $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize
By Stephen Weir - Guyanese Canadian poet Kaie Kellough has won the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize for his  book, Magnetic Equator. This prize – the largest in the English-speaking world – is awarded each year to two poets ( one Canadian and the other, international). Kellough was born in British Columbia and now lives in Montreal.  His maternal family is originally from Guyana and much of his poetry revolves around his Caribbean heritage and life experiences. “This particular book is partly set in Guyana (in Georgetown and in the rainforest),” Kellough told the Caribbean Camera shortly after winning the Prize. “It is also set in Calgary, where I spent many of my formative years.” ”The book moves back and forth between north and south, Calgary and Georgetown, as it tries to answer some very fundamental questions that many of us ask: who am I and how did I get here? ” I’m very much interested in family history, and in the distinct cultures that c…

Don't get Jerk Sauce on your computer screen

By the Grace of Jerk, the party will go on. Just don’t get Jerk Sauce on your computer screen
During this Pandemic an oft-asked question of the Caribbean Camera is, what summer events have been cancelled? Quick answer: EVERYTHING … unless you are talking about the annual Grace JerkFest, which is taking the party online this August! Late last week the Toronto government announced it has cancelled all City-permitted major festivals and events which attract an attendance of at least 25,000 through August 31st. That means that everything including the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, the Pride Parade, Taste of the Danforth, and horrors, the venerable CNE have been shelved as a result of City Hall’s action. The Grace International Jerk Food & Music Festival is, by virtue of its popularity and size, on the City’s hit list. However JerkFest may not be taking place as normal, but it isn’t throwing in the bib on 2020 either. The producers of the Grace International Jerk Food & Music Festival  …


One Caribbean Television, a 24/7-television network that provides news, lifestyle and entertainment programming about the Caribbean and its people, is pleased to announce a free preview on Bell Fibe TV, Channel 2481, until June 30, 2020. While millions of Canadians adhere to the stay-at-home order, One Caribbean Television will bring them the sights and sounds of the Caribbean until they are able to resume travel to the region. Roughly four million Canadians traveled to the Caribbean last year. Throughout the free preview period, the network will air a special report, COVID-19: Impact on the Caribbean – an in-depth look at how COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of life in the Caribbean. The network is based in Erie, Pennsylvania and has a close relationship with the Caribbean community in Toronto. For the past five years One Caribbean Television has provided live coverage the Toronto Caribbean Festival. As well, popular DJ a…

Zalika Reid-Benta, the next big thing for Caribbean-Canadian authors

Stories from Little Jamaica earn Toronto writer a place on Kobo’s Emerging Writer Prize Short List Another week, another Caribbean Canadian author has been nominated for a top national literary prize. Zalika Reid-Benta, a Toronto-based Jamaican Canadian novelist has made the longlist for the Sixth Annual Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. She is in the running for the $10,000 prize for literary fiction for her book Frying Plantain was published last year and nominated for the 2019 Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious award. Since then it has won the 2019 Byblacks People’s Choice Awards for Best Author and has been nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s 2020 Forest of Reading Evergreen Award and The Canadian Writers’ Union Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Rakuten Kobo, the Toronto based global eBook and audiobook online seller will be announcing the winners of the Emerging Writer Prize in June. It recognizes exceptional books written by first-time Canadian authors in three categor…

Toronto's Caribbean Camera checks in on T&T Jazz Man, Etienne Charles

Etienne Charles and his trumpet waiting out this virus 

By Stephen Weir In the old days (last month) jazz manEtienne Charles was a man in motion. Always on the move. He was here. He was there.  He was up on the stage. He was in the air. But that was then.  In the here and now, the 36-year old trumpeter is just like all of our readers.  He has been grounded, his luggage in storage and he is waiting out the virus in his home in Michigan.Trinidad’s Charles holds a master's of music degree from Juilliard and teaches at Michigan State University. He travels the world playing concerts, recording music and playing Mas in T&T and Canada!
"The reason I'm a trumpet player began when I was on a family trip to Toronto as a three-year-old," the trumpeter, recording star, composer, bandleader and teacher told the Camera.“ I visited an uncle and was able to make a sound on his saxophone. At age 10, the same uncle gave me a trumpet and a different musical life opened up, one that in…

Art in Alley - BAND and Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival

Walk or do a Drive By. Absence/Presence: Morant Bay  New Photography Exhibition Opens 
By Stephen Weir While all art galleries are closed in the province, there is a new curated photography show on display in downtown Toronto! The Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue (BAND) gallery in concert with the Contact Photography Festival has just launched an exhibition of the work of Jamaican-Canadian photographer Christina Leslie. Although the BAND building on Brock Avenue remains closed the new exhibition Absence/Presence: Morant Bay is open for viewing on the building’s tall wooden alley fence! The black and white photography show can be seen on foot or from a slow moving car!
Christina Leslie takes photographs that delve into and respond to her Jamaican-Canadian heritage and personal family histories. Recently, she returned to her father’s hometown of Morant Bay, the capital of St. Thomas Parish in Jamaica where she found the area in decline.
“It was as if time had forgotten it and so had the gov…
Poet Caniza Lubrin - another Caribbean Canadian enters the literary winner's circle

Score another major literary win for a Caribbean Canadian author. Earlier this week Whitby poet Canisia Lubrin was one of five young Canadian writers to win the Writers’ Trust Rising Star award.
The St Lucian born writer was chosen by Vancouver playwright Anosh Irani because he considers her to be one of Canada’s top new writers. Already a gifted poet, Irani says “it will be extremely rewarding for us as she turns her devastating gifts to prose. She will push us and break us in ways that will continue to let the light in.”.
The Rising Stars award is a national development program that recognizes talented authors in the early stages of their careers with $5,000 and highlights their work with an endorsement from a proven, influential author. In addition to receiving one-on-one guidance, the five Rising Stars will attend a series of professional and networking events and attend a two-week self-directe…

A Different Booklist Cultural Centre alive online

Caribbean Cultural Centre Coming to A Computer Near You by Stephen Weir
A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC) recently partnered with the Afri-Can FoodBasket and Pan Fantasy Steelband to host Filling the Gap: LoveLight and Hope Campaign – an emergency fund set up in response to COVID-19 “to support and give back to the Caribbean and African Canadian communities.” The proceeds from this fund  provide food items and meals to seniors, single-parent families and those with special needs.  The Cultural Centre is also using social media to provide online programming for children who are at home. “People should check out our FaceBook site and watch what we have on  A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC) YouTube channel,” said Itah Sadu, co-owner of  the ADBCC.  ” Folks will see Welcome to Blackhurst Moments. an online exhibition that commemorates the contributions of Black immigrants to the Bathurst Steet neighbourhood. “All our various social media sites are there to provide uplight…

The Show Must Go On (Line) - CTFF

Coming to a computer screen near you is this year’s  Caribbean Tales Film Festival  (CTFF). by Stephen Weir
Because of the current virus shutdown, the CTFF will be holding a virtual festival this summer., the Caribbean Camera has learned. “ Like every other festival in the city, we have been impacted by the virus,”  explained Dianne Webley, director of the festival. “This is our 15 th year and there is no way we are going to shut down.,” she told The Caribbean Camera. ” However, those events that we had hoped to put on in the summer months will now be held online. Information will be posted on its website soon.”
According to the Webley the festival was set to hold a July 8th media launch, the Festival’s first annual Fundraiser and Reveal of this year’s films. This will, in one form or another, be held online.
 “ We also were set to do a number of community outreach projects including film showings with Regent Park (community group). We have contacted the movies we want to show and have got p…