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Kuumba - Black History Month Festivities at Harbourfront Toronto

From a media release:

Kuumba presented by TD
Feb. 5-6 & 12-13, 2011

Two weekends of fun to celebrate Black History Month at Harbourfront Centre 

TORONTO, ON – The 15th annual Kuumba festival presented by TD returns to Harbourfront Centre with two entertaining and educational weekends commemorating both the history and the future of black culture.

This winter, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that questions the BIG iDEA of witness. Join us Feb. 5-6 and Feb. 12-13, 2011 to witness black history through audio installations, visual arts, theatre, dance workshops, film screenings, music, comedy, family activities and more!

Kuumba is one of Toronto's longest-running and largest Black History Month festivals. This year features two jam-packed weekends of fun that the whole family can enjoy. The first weekend explores ideas surrounding the past, present and future of the black diaspora, while the second weekend focuses on the fusion of art and history in Caribbean culture.

“Kuumba” is the Swahili word for creativity and has become synonymous with showcasing the best local and international artists from the African and Caribbean diaspora. All programming is FREE (except the Ebony & Ivory Comedy Bash $15 & Beat the Street Dance Showdown $10) and runs each day from 1 p.m. into the evening.

All events take place at Harbourfront Centre located at 235 Queen’s Quay West. 
• For more information and to purchase tickets, call 416-973-4000 or visit

Kuumba event listings:


James King
Feb. 5, 3-4:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Toronto-based James King delivers a melodic and lyrical fusion of pop, rock and neo-soul. Each member brings different skills and passions to the group, and together they create a unique mix of old school R&B with a modern pop twist.
Kuumba Unplugged featuring Natasha Waterman
Feb. 6, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Natasha Waterman began writing music at the age of 11 and recently released her first CD, Long Road. Her album is a blend of soulful songs that will have listeners grooving to her warm, sultry tones.

Pablo Terry y Sol de Cuba
Feb. 6, 5-6 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Pablo Terry's dynamic stage presence and musical dexterity comes from years of training in the Cuban Army (as a member of the Cuban Military Band) and at the renowned Escuela de Artes in Havana. Terry has played with many great Cuban artists including Celia Cruz, Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo and Los Papines.

Kuumba Unplugged featuring Carlos Morgan
Feb. 12, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Carlos Morgan, a talented singer/songwriter/producer based in Toronto, is poised to break on a global level. Feelin' Alright, his debut album, is a collection of soothing love ballads and R&B club jams with a pinch of hip hop flavor. The album showcases the diversity of Morgan’s singing style, from seductive ballads to more upbeat R&B and hip hop grooves.

Kuumba Gospel Fest 2011
Feb. 13, 2-6 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Kuumba Gospel Fest 2011 features a who’s who of local gospel music including the U of T Mass Choir, Brian Hamilton & Divine Worship, Echoe Of Praise, Rochelle Hanson, Jaren Jules and Winston Dayal and Chris Lowe.


Jaivah Nouvel Exposé African Dance Troupe
Feb. 5, 1:30-3 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Toronto’s Jaivah Nouvel Exposé African Dance Troupe specializes in traditional and contemporary dance from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo, Southern Africa and Egypt. They pair original choreography with lively African music to showcase rare African dance styles.

Amadou Kienou
Feb. 6, 2-3 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Born in Burkina Faso, Amadou Kienou comes from a family of renowned praise singers. Praise singers are considered to be the only professional artists in traditional African society. Kienou’s repertoire consists of Mandingue songs and dances that he adapted for the djembe (African drum).

Cadence Dance Academy Workshop
Feb. 5, 4:30- 5:30 (Lakeside Terrace)
Cadence Dance Company offers lessons, classes and performances in salsa, cha-cha, bachata, and Afro-Cuban dance. During his demonstrations, Patrick Danquah will teach participants easy and sexy moves that look great on the dance floor!

Afro-Cuban Dance Workshop - Irina Bravo
Feb. 13, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Cuban-born Irina Bravo will teach a high-energy Afro-Cuban dance workshop for all skill levels. With a focus on the Orisha (Yoruba deities) dance style, this class teaches students the fundamentals of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance.

Beat the Street Dance Showdown
Feb. 6, 3-6 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Ticketed event $10
Witness the transformative power of dance! Watch as 18 post-secondary, high school and street dance teams from around the GTA compete for the top spot and $500!

Cirque Afro-Cuban featuring Eduardo Dorticos
Feb. 12, 4-5 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
This demo and interactive workshop is taught by Cuban Olympian and cirque performer Eduardo Dorticos. Combining dazzling acrobatics and expressive dance, Dorticos draws audiences into the awe-inspiring world of contemporary circus. With his expertise in gymnastics, contemporary dance and professional circus training he has created a daring and elegant act you don’t want to miss!

Magia Negra Candombe
Feb. 12, 5-6 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Magia Negra Candombe is a local Afro-Uruguayan group that plays candombe music. The candombe rhythm is created with three drums also know as tambors – the tambor piano, tambor chico and tambor repique. These instruments have been an important part of Uruguayan culture since they were first introduced to the South American country through the African slave trade.

Afro-Brazilian Drum and Dance Workshop – Capeoira Camara
Feb. 12, 3:30-4:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Capoeira (Ca-po-era) is a 400 year-old Brazilian martial art that combines self defense with energetic music and acrobatics. This workshop (led by a top Capoeira master from Capeoira Camara) teaches the basic movements of the art form that exercises both the mind and body.

Hip Hop Dance Workshop - Leon Blackwood
Feb. 13, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Leon Blackwood is a self-taught dancer and choreographer who’s been featured in the blockbuster dance movies Honey and How She Move! During his workshop, he will teach a variety of basic hip hop moves and create a fun and unique dance routine.


Mama Africa
Feb. 5, 1-2 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Directed by Ale Braga, Mama Africa is a documentary that gives African children a voice to dispel African stereotypes and the forum to talk about issues that affect their daily lives including religion, culture, development and nutrition.

Black Mother Black Daughter followed by The Black Family…Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
Panel discussion
Feb. 5, 4-6 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
The short film Black Mother Black Daughter (a part of Ontario Black History Societies Black International Film Fest) explores the lives and experiences of black women living in Nova Scotia. The film examines the contributions the women make in their homes, the church and their community. It also takes a look at the strengths they passed on to their daughters. The film is followed by The Black Family…Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow panel discussion that assesses the structure of the black family from the past, present and the future. Panelists include Dalton Higgins (music programmer, pop culture critic, author, broadcaster and journalist), Rosemary Sadler (President of the Ontario Black History Society) and more.

Inside Carnival & Kiddie Carnival
Feb. 12, 2-2:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
A selection of short films tracing the history of Trinidad & Tobago’s spectacular Kiddie Carnival from 2003 to 2010 and the larger adult Carnival from 2008 to 2010 (Courtesy of the Trinidad & Tobago Tourism).

Bravo! FACT shorts for Kuumba 2011
Feb. 6, 1-3 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Fifteen Canadian-made Bravo! FACT short films (that cover a range of subject matter and styles) will be screened to celebrate the contributions of black Canadian filmmakers.


Feb. 12, 8- 9:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Kwame Stephen’s Man2Man follows the love story between two men as they navigate a bumpy road to love. This theatrical production challenges stereotypes while exploring how religion, family, love and sexuality play a role in the character’s lives. *I'll have more about this play soon...


Ebony & Ivory Comedy Bash – hosted by Kenny Robinson
Feb. 5, 8:30-11 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Ticketed event ($15)
For over 25 years, Kenny Robinson has engaged audiences with his raucous, cheeky, profane and opinionated style of comedy and social commentary. At Kuumba, he hosts the Ebony & Ivory Comedy Bash featuring a slew of local comedians.


Black in History Exhibit: Voices from Days of Slavery
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The Voices from Days of Slavery audio installation features the remarkable oral accounts of former slaves (on loan from the Library of Congress). There are only 26 audio-recorded interviews of ex-slaves that have ever been found. This collection captures their stories and gives listeners a chance to hear first-hand accounts about what it was like to be a slave and to gain freedom.

*Images of seven former slaves featured in this audio installation are also on display.

Black in History Exhibit: Motown Museum Digital Display
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The Motown Museum Digital Display (on loan from the Motown Museum in Detroit) traces the history of this soulful era and highlights the indelible impact Motown has had on popular culture and music.

Black in History Exhibit: Enslaved in Upper Canada
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The Enslaved in Upper Canada photo exhibit (courtesy of Archives of Ontario) depicts the existence and practice of slavery in Upper Canada between the years 1760 and 1834. The exhibit focuses on the lives of enslaved Africans and the actions they took to resist servitude in Upper Canada.

Black in History Exhibit: On the Road North
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The On the Road North photo exhibit (courtesy of Citizenship and Immigration Canada) tells the story of Canada’s black communities through the lens of people, places and events recognized as nationally significant to Canada’s history. The exhibit was developed by the Parks Canada Agency in collaboration with the Multiculturalism Program of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Mas Camp Centre
Feb. 12, 12-10 p.m., Feb.13, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Mas Camp Centre is colourful showcase of carnival costumes from the past and the present. Visitors can learn about the history of carnival and view the intricate designs of 10 flamboyant carnival costumes and headpieces.


Box of Crayons
Feb. 5, 2-4 p.m., Feb. 6, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
This children’s activity is based on Shane Derolf’s poem The Crayon Box that Talked. During this activity, kids will learn that when we all work together the results are much more interesting and colorful!

Mas Camp Central
Feb. 12-13, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Kids can make their own colourful and unique carnival headpiece!

Kuumba Carnival Parade
Feb. 12, 6-6:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace and site)
Families and kids can participate in a carnival parade around the Harbourfront Centre site!


Motown Mixer featuring DJ D. Brown
Feb. 5, 8 p.m. on The Natrel® Rink
The first-ever DJ Skate Saturday Nights Motown Mixer features Detroit’s DJ D. Brown. Join us for a funky skate as we celebrate Motown’s rich history and contribution to the music industry.

Soca on Ice featuring Dr. Jay de Soca Prince
Feb. 12, 8 p.m. on The Natrel® Rink
DJ Skate Saturday Nights explores hot Caribbean rhythms at the first soca party on ice! Join us as Flow 93.5 FM’s Dr. Jay de Soca Prince heats up the ice with spicy soca and calypso tunes.


  1. Keep telling that history:

    Read the greatest fictionalized 'historical novel', Rescue at Pine Ridge, the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. The website is: This is the greatest story of Black Military History...5 stars Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Youtube commercials are: and

    Rescue at Pine Ridge is the story of the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism and gallantry.

    I know you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote the story that embodied the Native Americans, Outlaws and African-American/Black soldiers, from the south to the north, in the days of the Native American Wars with the approaching United States of America.

    The novel was taken from my mini-series movie with the same title, “RaPR” to keep the story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn’t like telling our stories…its been “his-story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman, James Whitmore Jr. and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with.

    When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for the US Postal System in Montana, in the 1890's, “spread the word”.



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