Black History Month: Kick It Off at Kuumba Feb 3-5 at Harbourfront Toronto

From a media release:

Harbourfront Centre celebrates Black History Month
Kuumba presented by TD – Feb. 3-5, 2012

TORONTO, ON (February 2012)
– In celebration of Black History Month, Harbourfront Centre proudly presents the 16th edition of Kuumba, a weekend-long festival (Feb. 3-5, 2012) that invites members of the public to explore and celebrate the heritage, traditions and culture of African-Canadians.

This year’s festival features a rare live appearance by legendary reggae music producer, Clive Chin. VP Records/17 North Parade Celebrates 50 years of Jamaican Music is a once-in-a-lifetime music event that commemorates Jamaica’s Anniversary of Independence with an exclusive DJ workshop on the history of Jamaican music led by Clive Chin. He is best-known for establishing dub as a standalone musical form and for producing hits for some of the greatest reggae musicians including The Wailers, Dennis Brown, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Augustus Pablo, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs and Black Uhuru. Chin is a musical pioneer, producing the Java Java Dub album in 1973, arguably the first-ever dub album and will be signing copies of the album following the event.

Known (Un)Known, hosted by former MTV personality Tika Simone, is one of Toronto’s most buzz-worthy, all-ages, independent-artist events to showcase urban music stars of tomorrow, today. The inaugural Known (Un)Known session features local artists on the cusp of superstardom including R&B songstress Rochelle Jordan (who Vibe Magazine has dubbed the “female version of Drake”); 2011 Stylus Award-winner Shi Wisdom; 88 Days of Fortune, a Toronto-based urban music and multi-media collective featuring hip hop artist and recording/mixing engineer KJ, MC Spek Won and Abstract Random, a young Toronto-based group featuring Jamilah Malika, LoverSun and Ayo Leilani.

Other musical highlights include the Honey Jam Then & Now ($10) special Black History Month reunion concert and photo exhibit showcasing iconic images from the past 16 years of Honey Jam, the longest-running talent showcase in Canada. Hosted by Michie Mee, this event features Honey Jam alumni performing original songs including Jemeni, Belinda Brady, Kellylee Evans, Kim Davis, Eternia, Natasha Waterman, Saidah Baba Talibah and more!

Kuumba goes high-fashion at Fashion Blackout—a multi-faceted event that shines a spotlight on black and diverse designers, models and influencers in the fashion industry. The event kicks off with a screening of The Colour of Beauty, a shocking documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry, followed by a Walk This Way fashion workshop with Canadian model Stacey McKenzie and panel discussions with fashion designers and influencers including top fashion blogger Miss SLY (Noëlly Sam), leading agent Norwayne Anderson (NAM) and fashion journalist Sarah Nicole Prickett.

This winter, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that questions the BIG iDEA of “Perspective.” Join us Feb. 3-5, 2012 to gain perspective on black history and to celebrate the vitality of Toronto's African and Caribbean communities, by showcasing works by innovative Canadian and international artists. Most events are FREE and take place at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto). For more information and to purchase tickets call 416-973-4000 or visit

Kuumba event listings:

Honey Jam – Then and Now (Hosted by Michie Mee, with DJ Mel Boogie)
* Ticketed event $10
Friday, Feb. 3, 7-10 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
For the past 16 years, Honey Jam has been Canada’s premiere all-female talent showcase featuring a wide variety of local DJ’s and artists representing hip hop, jazz, gospel, reggae, blues, r&b, dance and spoken word. This celebration features performances by Kellylee Evans, Eternia, Jemeni, Kim Davis, Belinda Brady, True, Saidah Baba Talibah, Motion, Natasha Waterman and more!

VP Records/17 North Parade celebrate 50 years of Jamaican Music with Clive Chin
Saturday, Feb. 4, 8-10- p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence, reggae music legend Clive Chin presents an exclusive DJ workshop on the history of Jamaican music. Chin is a Chinese-Jamaican record producer whose credits include recordings by Dennis Brown, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Augustus Pablo, Peter Tosh, Jackie Mittoo, The Wailers and Black Uhuru, among many others. Chin was a musical pioneer, producing the Java Java Dub album in 1973, arguably the first-ever dub album. Chin will be signing copies of the album following the event. Hosted by CBC personality Garvia Bailey.

The Known, (Un)Known
Saturday, Feb. 4, 9:30 p.m.-12 a.m. (Brigantine Room)
Hosted by Tika Simone (MTV’s The Hills Aftershow), The Known, (Un)Known
is an all-ages independent artist event that showcases Toronto’s urban music stars of tomorrow, today. This session features Rochelle Jordan (pictured below), Shi Wisdom and 88 Days of Fortune’s KJ, Spek Won, abstract Random and more.

Youth Workshop and Hip-Hop Performance by P.E.A.C.E
Sunday, Feb. 5, 4-6 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
People Everywhere Actually Co-existing Equally (P.E.A.C.E.), is a mission to bring awareness to the power of action in our communities. Identifying with hip hop culture, Jamaican heritage and African roots, this workshop uses musical inspiration and sound therapy to generate positive energy and share ideas.

T&T 50th Anniversary of Independence Celebration with Pan Fantasy
Sunday, Feb. 5, 3:30-5 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Celebrate Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th Anniversary of Independence at this musical extravaganza produced by the award-winning Pan Fantasy Steelband. The celebration kicks off with a medley of classic calypso songs that spans generations, to contemporary numbers featuring a special homage to legendary calypsonian Mighty Sparrow.

Lua Shayenne:  Afro-roots dance workshop and performance

Sunday, Feb. 5, 3 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Lua Shayenne presents traditional African and Afro-contemporary dance works that draw on the aesthetics and values of African culture to challenge stereotypes.

Celebrating the Cinematography of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago:

Joebell and America, directed by Asha Lovelace (Jamaica)
Friday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Based on the true story by Earl Lovelace, Joebell and America tells the story of Joebell, a gambler who concocts a risky plan to escape to the promise and fantasy of America. Prepared to leave everything behind, including his newly-found romance with the village beauty, Joebell sets out for his final destination. The film received the Best International Narrative Feature Award at the Women’s International Film Festival.

Celebrating Black Canadian Filmmakers:
Devotion, directed by Dawn Wilkinson (Canada)
Friday, Feb. 3, 9:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Alice, a bi-racial 11-year-old girl, has recently lost her mother in a car accident caused by her father’s drunk driving. As father and daughter begin a new life, Alice is haunted by nightmares and memories of her mother’s death and the new woman in her father’s life. Winner of the Best Feature Award at the San Francisco Urban Kidz Film Festival, the Star! Audience Choice Award at the ReelWorld Film Festival and the 1st Annual Tony Stoltz Completion Fund Award.

Celebrating the Cinematography of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago:
Saturday, Feb. 4, 1:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
A series of short films celebrating the richness of Jamaican and Trinidadian cinema.
• Caribbean Skin, African Identity, directed by Mandisa Patin (Trinidad & Tobago)
Caribbean Skin is a documentary that examines the concept of African identity as it has evolved over generations in Trinidad & Tobago. In it, the director explores her own identity using the Emancipation Day parade and its rituals as a starting point for her journey. Interviews with African-Caribbean scholars define and explain some of the complexities of race in this society.
• Directions, directed by Renee Pollonais (Trinidad & Tobago)
No one gives directions like a Trinidadian. In this short dramatization of that endearing and frustrating phenomenon, a number of persons are asked to give directions to a well-known Port of Spain landmark, with hilarious results. Directions received the People’s Choice Award at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.
• Entry Denied, directed by Christopher Browne (Jamaica)
Entry Denied  follows the story of a young Jamaican footballer from the ghetto of Kingston who is refused a visa to take up a scholarship at a university in the US.  Dramatic events and coincidences conspire to take the story to an alternate conclusion. 
• Now Jimmy!, directed by Mary Wells (Jamaica)
Now Jimmy! is a short documentary that explores land rights issues. The film follows a riveting and unusual story about the title character, a squatter who has built a home out of salvaged materials on prime Jamaican real estate. The film received the Outstanding Documentary from the Caribbean Award by the Sheryl Lee Ralph Jamerican Film & Music Festival, screened at TIFF and was chosen by UNESCO to be a part of an international selection of films from around the world for the new Radio-Television Afghanistan.

Celebrating Black Filmmakers:
Lying Lips, directed by Oscar Micheaux in partnership with COMMFFEST

Saturday, Feb. 4, 5 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Lying Lips is a 1939 drama starring Edna Mae Harris and Robert Earl Jones (the father of James Earl Jones) that follows a nightclub singer who refuses to "date" customers, so she's framed for the murder of her aunt, convicted of the killing and sent to prison. However, her friend, who is a police detective, doesn't believe she did it and sets out to prove her innocence.

Celebrating Black Canadian Filmmakers:
Finder of Lost Children, directed by Ricardo Scipio (Trinidad & Tobago)

Saturday, Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Finder of Lost Children is the story of two half-sisters that meet for the first time after the funeral of the father neither one of them knew. These reluctant siblings make a road trip to deal with their father’s meager possessions and discover the existence of several other lost brothers and sisters who are unaware of their father’s passing. The film was screened at the Hollywood Black Film Festival and at CaribbeanTales Film Festival.

CANADA Vs. USA Comedy Clash
Saturday, Feb. 4, 7-9 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Team USA (Sheldon Johnson and Zack Johnson) challenge Team Canada (Jay Martin and Trixx) to a side-splitting duel of jokes and more jokes. The event sees the best comics from each country squaring off in a serious game of humour.

Fashion Blackout
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2-4 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Fashion Blackout is a multi-faceted event that shines a spotlight on black and diverse designers, models and influencers in the fashion industry. Join us for the screening of The Colour of Beauty, a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry; a Walk This Way fashion workshop with Canadian model Stacey McKenzie and panel discussions with fashion designers and influencers such as Montreal’s Miss Sly (Noëlly Sam), leading model agent Norwayne Anderson (NAM) and journalist Sarah Nicole Prickett. Hosted by CBC personality Anne-Marie Mediwake.

Identify and Address: A Panel Discussion about Black Women and Leadership with The Congress of Black Women
Sunday, Feb. 5, 3-5 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Identify and Address is a panel discussion created in partnership with The Congress of Black Women of Canada. A group of selected panelists will discuss and answer questions from the audience about issues black women face.


A Celebration of Afro-diasporic Tradition through Storytelling with Itah Sadu and Guests
Saturday, Feb. 4 and Sunday, Feb. 5, 2-3 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
Author and storyteller Itah Sadu shares the rich oral traditions of the Caribbean, Africa and North America with tales that celebrate African roots.

OWARE: African Board Gaming
Saturday, Feb. 4 and Sunday, Feb. 5, 3-6 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
Learn to play or watch the hugely popular traditional African board game Oware with MACPRI Oware Canada. Oware is the oldest ancient Egyptian board game still widely played in the world today.

Rhythms of Guinea: Drumming Workshop with Alpha Rhythm Roots
Sunday, Feb. 5, 1-3 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Participants can learn basic drumming techniques with Alpha Rhythm Roots and discover the music, dance, traditions and culture of Guinea, Africa.

Soca on Ice featuring Dr. Jay de Soca Prince
Saturday, Feb. 4, 8-11 p.m. (The Natrel® Rink)
DJ Skate Night explores hot Caribbean rhythms at the second soca party on ice as Dr. Jay de Soca Prince heats things up with spicy soca and calypso tunes.

Village Market
Friday, Feb. 3, 6-11 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 4, 1-11 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 5, 1-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Harbourfront Centre’s Village Market features exotic, sustainable and eco-friendly products of excellent quality and unquestionable authenticity.