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A photo from 2020's non-pandemic, BHM Blowout. Featuring performer, BohoFab (right), and Ethel Nalule (middle), recipient of last year's Charlie Earle Micro-Grant. Image by Jon Semugaza.

Black History Month Blowout Goes Online

Written by
Irene Suvillaga
April 2, 2021

Almost a year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom sessions have become a vital aspect in our lives. And yet, these virtual sessions were nothing really special, at most we put a little concealer to mask our dark circles that scream sleep deprivation or just comb our hair to hide the fact that we woke up five minutes before the session started. Little by little we have become comfortable in the virtual company of our classmates, bosses, and even strangers. Indeed, Zoom has become our only glimpse of our slowly deteriorating social lives.

The year of 2020 also became a landmark of the fight against racism. An issue that once more crawled out into plain sight. The honouring of Black History Month thus became even more indispensable in our collective struggle against long-dismantled colonial myths. This is why on February 27, Black History Month was given a warm and memorable salute by Black Lives Matter Nogojiwanong and Sadleir House, who joined forces and walked the extra mile by revolutionizing Zoom events in commemoration of this special and rewarding month. 

Black History Month Blowout Goes Online
A photo from 2020's non-pandemic, BHM Blowout. Featuring performer, BohoFab (right), and Ethel Nalule (middle), recipient of last year's Charlie Earle Micro-Grant. Image by Jon Semugaza.

Hosted by Muna Ahmend, Shae McLeod and Sahira, the event was truly something out of a TV show, beginning with a beautiful and simple setting with a “Black Lives Matter” sign symmetrically located in between two in vogue presenters, Shae and Sahira. The presenters gave way to a variety of Black and Indigenous artists of all different ages, nationalities and artistic endeavours., as well as the empowerment of themselves and their community. From talented 13-year-old singer Bolu Sings, to the outstanding Cree poet, activist and student, Thamer Linklater, to fierce drag performer Rye, the session was truly an ode to Black and Indigenous excellence. 

The event was well-organized, highly entertaining and it was nothing short of hard work and dedication. With smooth transitions and high-quality images, Black History Blowout was an exquisite banquet of cultural pride and unapologetic innate talent. 

The event closed with the announcement of this years winner of the Charlie Earle Micro Grant for Black women and non-binary people. The winner was presented by former recipient, Ethel Nalule, who was also part of the nomination process. With great honour, the 2021 Charlie Earle’s Micro grant recipient was awarded to  first year sociology student and poet Laurin Isiekwena. 

“When reading her work,” Nalule commented, “you can truly see and feel the passion behind her words and use of imagery. One of my favourite pieces is “Broken Hope” which if you all get a chance to read her pieces are really great. They are amazing!”

Stay at UofT
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