Women’s History Month 2018 – a celebration

What to celebrate?

I am always fascinated by the resilience and grace of women.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are from or how much money you have. I feel that women are here to share themselves with the world.

Girl 5Girl 2Girl 3


Even though I love boys just the same, my predicament as a middle child and only girl in a house of five children have given me few different thoughts about this gender thing. We live in a world where our gender can still predict what kind of future we will have.

1Goat girl2

What kind of job, what kind of salary, what your health outcomes may be like? The doors that you get to walk through and what you get to do when you are there? How questions like these and many others intersect with race has produced a creative tension within my own work – a tension that is always searching for answers.

Maasai girl 4

As a mother, everyday, I wonder about what the future may hold for my daughter? How to prepare her for today’s world with challenges I may not even recognize?

Maasai mom and child

How can I pass on my knowledge to her in a way that doesn’t smothers her but also does not make her naive?

Ghana 2_1

How can I teach her my personal philosophy while giving her the support to create her own?


I discovered something last summer, while, watching my daughter whimsically draw a picture of a little girl on concrete.

Miata shadow 2There was a shadow of herself dancing inside of her creation. I remember feeling that I was so wrong. This was not a front-row seat into another whimsical creativity in motion but a confirmation that her women-instinct-spirit had already formed.  Her movements were not arbitrary, but methodical and I realised at this moment that she may already know exactly what she wants out of this world.

picture0126For the past month, I have been looking at this photograph of my daughter in concert with snapshots I’ve taken of other black girls/women/ females over the years ( especially my great auntie above taken with my cell phone in Guyana in 2008) to see if there is a symphony of spirit playing. And I have to say when I look at them  – yes there is.  I can hear it. I see it.  And I wonder how to continue to celebrate that spirit in myself and others.  Happy International Women’s Day everyone. Everyday!





Black History Month

Before the 6ix: Ladies First

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My footwear selection couldn’t have been more misguided. When I was invited to participate in Before the Six: Ladies first panel discussion about the important but much undervalued  role of women in the early 80s and 90s Canadian Hip Hop movement, I realized that I hadn’t worn high tops to a panel discussion in years. But people were really rep’in. This was the second panel of a series taking place at Toronto’s Reference library during black history month. Billed as Before the 6ix: And Now the Legacy Begins, the first panel called upon hip hop pioneers The Dream Warriors, music critic/music video director John Bronski, DJ/rapper K-Cut and DJ Agile. Their discussion focused on Toronto’s historical hip-hop scene and classic rap albums from the last 25 years.  Our panel moderated by Jemini the remarkable poet and host of G 98.7FM radio featured rapper/poet/writer/hip hop goddess Motion and DJ L’Oqenz on the turntables was marqueed with a slightly different direction. Yes we were going back into the crates but our crates were not just filled with songs, our crates also contained the stories of female empowerment. It’s been a minute since I’ve been in actual world of music. I mean it’s been about 20 years since I produced and/or directed a hip hop music videos. The  notoriously productive urban music video company called Raje Film house (pronounced Rage) where I worked and also owned with Ricardo Diaz, Jeremy Hood and Earl White became the epicentre  for a lot of urban artists to get videos made and also for a lot of people interested in directing to make work. Conversing with these ladies about what it was like for black female hip hop recording artists and female music video directors for that matter, to be heard and seen back in the day brought up a lot of fond memories but more so, stories of our resilience. Yes there were lots of battles on the mic but there were also lots of battles behind-the-scenes. At times our talk seemed to highlight that we were all living in different silos, unaware of what was really happening in each other’s world. But other times, our different vantage points illustrated how present sexism is.  Showing a clip from The Trilogy, a music video I directed for Motion featuring Tara Chase and Apani in the late 90s added some laughter to the event. The video’s tongue-in-cheek push back against sexism in the industry,  turned out to be sort of a visual document that addressed our frustrations and how we used humour to survive it all. Thanks to Brodee Nimble for the videotaping our discussion. To listen to the full discussion click Before the 6ix: Ladies First video documentation. If you want to hear us talking specifically about The Trilogy it starts around the 27 minutes mark. And btw its okay to laugh!

Who am I again?

Another highlight of 2017 black history month was being mentioned by Amanda Paris as one of  7 African Canadian female filmmakers to know in her CBC Arts blog. In addition to blogging, Amanda is the host of CBC’s flagship series The Exhibitionist and the CBC Radio show, Marvin’s Room. Well I have to say that it is really humbling to be acknowleged as a pioneer alongside filmmakers who I’ve to (for so many years) for inspiration and strength. I started making films much later than these women, but whenever my work becomes a challenge looking to their films and/or learning how they overcame their own obstacles always gave me hope and a bit better understanding of who I am again. We are all beacons for others. They are:

  • Jennifer Hodge de Silva (deceased)
  • Claire Prieto
  • Sylvia Hamilton
  • Christene Browne
  • Martine Chartrand
  • Frances-Anne Solomon