February 16: The Art Bar’s 8th Annual Black History Night

Since 1976 Canada has made February Black History Month, to celebrate the struggles and achievements of African-Canadians.

For the past eight years the Art Bar has devoted a night in February to poetry from Toronto’s black community, hosted and organized by team member Rudy Fearon.

Rudy Fearon

Host Rudy Fearon opened the evening with a short poem of his own – as always, summing up a big a idea in very few words.

Listen

Leviathan

Leviathan says he always chooses the “path of greatest resistance.” He says he likes to do spoken word because on stage is the only time when people actually listen to him. He is also the third member of the urban poetry trio, the Dream Chasers.

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Black History Night was Isiri Makeba’s first-ever poetry feature. Fittingly her poems were about opening up and finding new courage.

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Nisa Lawson

Nisa Lawson says her poetry takes her inspiration from “timeless music”. You may hear Motown classics and little-known R&B favourites (not-to-mention the Jeffersons theme), but she confesses a passion for the written word. Not to mention a definite dislike for one previous office job.

Listen

Unblind

Unblind works in the African Griot tradition who has featured as a performer in happenings such as the Toronto Urban Music Festival, Afrofest ant When Brothers Speak. He’s also a playwright, recording artist (in four languages) and a Green Party candidate.

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J. Nichole Noel

Award-winning performance poet and children’s writer J. Nichole Noel is making and touring with storybooks and CDs while multitasking as a mother. Yet still she tells us, “words are all I have.”

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Rudy Fearon

A fitting ender to the night was its opening voice, Mr. Rudyard Fearon himself, since so much of his verse is steeped in Black History, especially the content of his wonderful CD Free Soil.

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