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Word, Sound, Power annual celebration shines spotlight on Black artists

Word, Sound, Power annual celebration shines spotlight on Black artists

Six golden stars over black background. 3D illustration

Members of the York University community are invited to celebrate Black artistic talent during a showcase of performances on Feb. 8 when the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora presents Word, Sound, Power: An Annual Celebration of Black Artistic Expression.

The Black History Month event spotlights Black cultural and artistic expression through performance, which this year includes drumming and dance, spoken word, a jazz ensemble, an R&B ensemble, The Toronto Gospel Choir and more.

An opportunity to highlight Black artists and creativity, the event will be open to the community and is free to attend. It begins at 5:30 p.m. with a welcome reception in the CIBC Lobby, Accolade East Building at the Keele Campus, and performances will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Tribute communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building.

“As usual, we will be hosting a Black History Month event at which time we will be showcasing and celebrating the talents, artistry and ingenuity of Black university and high school students through their music, poetry, dance and singing. Our annual event recognizes the contributions of Jean Augustine to this national recognition of Black presence in Canada” says Professor Carl James, the Jean Augustine Chair and Senior Advisor on Equity and Representation. 

Featured performances include:

• York University doctoral student Miss Coco Murray with Coco Collective with a presentation in drumming and dance;
• Peel District School Board student Marie Pascoe with a spoken word performance;
• a performance by York’s Oscar Peterson jazz ensemble;
• a spoken word performance by Canadian poetry slam champion Dwayne Morgan;
• a performance by York’s R&B ensemble;
• a performance by spoken word artist Ryan Burke;
• a presentation by the Toronto Gospel Choir; and
• a spoken word presenation by York University student Ashley Keene.

Remarks will be offered by Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada, and champion of the unanimous vote in 1995 that saw February designated as Black History Month; Robert Savage, dean, Faculty of Education; and humanities Professor Andrea Davis, special advisor, Anti-Black Racism Strategy, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Representation from York’s Division of Equity, People and Culture, along with Christine Maclin of Unifor – a sponsor of the event, will also share remarks.

Word, Sound, Power is co-presented by the Faculty of Education, the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, the Department of Humanities (Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and the Division of Equity, People and Culture.

Tickets, which are free, are available online.

Article originally published in the February 1, 2023 issue of Yfile