York University has launched its new certificate program in Black Canadian Studies.
Spoken word artist, MC and playwright Wendy 'Motion' Brathwaite was interviewed by CBC's Here and Now host Gill Deacon. Motion talked about the new program, its genesis, and about her course -- Griots to Emcees -- being one of the required credits.
"The lens of Black Canada is one that still needs to be exposed, to be explored," said Motion. "The history, culture and impact goes back generations and centuries. Placing the experience of Black Canadians in the context of the global diaspora of African people from South America to Europe to Continental Africa to the States, Black Canada is now set and poised to hear its voice be heard."
The course moves in geography and in time, from the oral traditions of the Griots of West Africa to the most current expressions in art, music and urban culture in Canada.
"The Griot is the traditional storyteller, or historian, who keeps the history, who talks about what's in the community, and is often the one who can critique the society and comment on what is happening. Now, the Griot is who we use as the foundation to look at what the MCs are doing, what the rappers, slam poets, spoken word, and dub poets are doing."