Showing posts from January, 2021

Cicely Tyson passes just days before Canadian doc drops

Abbey Lincoln (above) Canadian movie about six iconic Black female stars coming to Canadian TV Feb By Stephen Weir Yes when you look south you realize it is a tough time to be anything but white in the Land Of The Free these days. But, as veteran American actress Pam Grier says “ our culture is revered and it inspires people all around the world."   Pam Grier (left) in Hit Man How It Feels to Be Free  is a new documentary movie that airs on CBC’s GEM TV on February first. The full-length movie celebrates  six iconic Black female singers and actresses (including Grier)   and documents their fight for diversity and inclusion. Toronto’s  Yap Films  worked with singer  Alicia Keys  to produce this revealing look at the American dream machine.     How It Feels to Be Free ,  tells how six trailblazing performers,  Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson,  and  Pam Grier , changed American culture through their films, fashion, music, and their politics.   Di

Art Bites

  Art Bites: Cultural News That Arrived On My Virtual Desk This Week  By Stephen Weir Cian Knights Joins the AGO On Wednesday morning Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario announced that  Cian Knights  has joined the gallery as their first Manager  of Diversity and Inclusion. She leaves the  Toronto based Centre for Young Black Professionals to take on this new role at the AGO. In announcing her appointment the Gallery said that following  “the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's death the AGO took heed to the urgent call to accelerate our efforts and take a more critical eye towards (diversity). How do we, as a leading Canadian museum, pledge to accurately reflect the diversity of our community through our internal culture, exhibitions, collections and programming?”  “I am looking forward to taking on this new role to lead and partner in efforts of equitable transformation at the AGO,” Knights said. “This is going to be a journey of introspection and accountability in

Looking at the latest Order of Ontario winners

24 Outa 25 Isn’t Bad! (if you ignore that Mike Harris is # 25) By Stephen Weir In any other year, the release of the names of people receiving the Order of Ontario is greeted with loud cheers and applause. This year, the January 1st announcement brought out the Boo Birds and Nay Sayers because of one name on the list – former Ontario premier Mike Harris. “Go to Hell, Mike Harris and take the now devalued (Order of Ontario) award from your friends with you!” screamed the lead editorial in a recent edition of the Caribbean Camera newspaper. A group representing seven Ontario First Nations feels the same. They told the CBC that giving Harris the Order of Ontario is an “insult”, a “slap in the face “and a “step back in reconciliation.” Why the backlash? It all depends who you listen to. For the Caribbean community it is all about the cutbacks to social support that the Harris Government made when he was at the helm (1995–2002). Meanwhile Indigenous chiefs are critical of 75-year-old Mike

Pandemic News: Sticking It To The Man

 Rev Jesse Jackson Senior says he just #Gotit! Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Dr. Kiran Chekka CoChair of Covid Task Force By Stephen Weir : Chicago based civil rights leader Jesse L Jackson invited reporters and photographers from around the world (including this office) to come to Chicago to witness his getting a needle in his arm.  Normally watching a person receive an injection is neither fun or newsworthy, however, this past weekend’s presser was a joyful kick-off an awareness campaign to get people of colour, be they in the US or Canada, to be vaccinated.  "We need to ensure eradicating this horrible virus from our lives and move on to our new normal," said Rev. Jackson. "COVID-19 is surging across our country and the world. People of colour are the most affected by this pandemic, not just health-wise, but economically."  Jackson was administered a dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and showed no ill-effects during the presser. Right after this picture was taken, h