Several prominent persons from various Black communities visited Toronto recently for speaking engagements. Among them:
UK author Zadie Smith. Her new novel is entitled NW (representative of that section of London most associated with riots and uprisings). It is also the area where she grew up, the child of a Jamaican mother and White British father. NE is her fourth novel. Smith is also a Professor of Creative Writing and teaches at NYU. She read and spoke at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. NW: Hamish Hamilton – 295 pages $32.00 or available through Amazon.com.
Journalist Freddy Mata Matundu from the Democratic Republic of Congo was in town to speak at a fundraiser sponsored by the Canadian chapter of Journalists for Human Rights. He spoke at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) at an event, known as Night 4 Rights. Matundu heads the Congolese chapter and has organized regional press clubs in six of the country’s 11 provinces. He is an advocate of human rights and also runs a centre for distressed children.
K’Naan (aka Keinan Abdi Warsame), The Somali-born rapper/hip hop artist, songwriter, activist, has launched a children’s book “When I Get Older: The Story Behind Wavin’ Flag”. Wavin’ Flag was chosen as the theme song for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. K’Naan, a refugee, fled to the US and finally to Canada, settling in Toronto. His book tells the story of 13-year old K’Naan’s journey with his Mom and three siblings from warn-torn Somali to Toronto and his eventual musical career. It is specifically about the song but is also the world behind the writing of it. “When I Get Older”, 32-page picture book written by K’Naan with Sol Guy and illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. Amazon.com
Thomas Olajide is one of the members of Theatre Passe Muraille and a cast member in their new play “This Must Be The Place: The CN Tower Show. The play has received favorable reviews.
Rapper/ Hip/Hop artist Drake achieved a goal recently when he graduated from high school at age 25. Drake left Forest Hill Collegiate at 15 to pursue an acting career. He was featured in Degrassi: The Next Generation and went on to pursue his love of music. He hit the books hard over the summer and received his diploma last month. He said his graduation gave him one of the ”greatest feelings in my entire life”.
Meanwhile “Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake” by Toronto-born author Dalton Higgins was released Oct. 1st. Higgins is a magazine feature writer and also back concerts in Toronto – more than 500 to date
Teacher of The Year: Darlene Jones has been selected over 250 nominees as 2012 Toronto Star Teacher of the Year. Jones grew up in Brantford, Ontario and was the only Black student in her class. She teaches grade 6 at Brookview Middle School in the Jane/Finch area. Known for being tough but fair, Jones, who was nominated by her students, has taught for 13 years at Brookview and has had the satisfaction of seeing many of her former students attain the high marks needed to go on to higher learning (Medical, Law, Teachers’ College, etc.). The Toronto Star Teacher of the Year Award is in its fourth year and open to teachers across the province through nomination.