“Investing in Black communities and tackling systemic racism head-on are important parts of building an inclusive and resilient country that leaves no one behind,” says Marci Ien, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre.
For over two decades, Marci Ien has been a fixture in the Canadian media scene. From covering the national news for CTV in Halifax, to anchoring the wildly successful 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to being a political reporter at Queen’s Park, Ien has had a long and celebrated career as a broadcast journalist.
It’s been a busy month for Annamie Paul. The bilingual lawyer from Toronto won the leadership race for the Green Party of Canada after 8 rounds of voting on October 3. Following the leadership race, she immediately turned her attention to the by-election in the Toronto-Centre riding. Paul subsequently called for both the Toronto-Centre and the York-Centre by-elections to be postponed as COVID-19 numbers surged. When Paul and I spoke on Thanksgiving Monday, she told me she did between 20-30 interviews a day during her first week as leader.
Vanessa Craft is a force, and this award-winning journalist and novelist has a lot to say. She knows the power she has and wants to use it wisely while blazing a trail as the first Black Editor-in-Chief of any ELLE magazine around the world. We chatted about her journey to the editor’s chair and how she’s moving the dial.
Kayla Grey is small but mighty. The TSN Sportscentre anchor and reporter has seen her fair share of challenges through her 27 years but she has emerged stronger and wiser. I caught up with Kayla before she caught a plane to the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
Dori Tunstall has work to do. As the first Black and Black female Dean of a Faculty of Design (in the world), she is serious about driving transformation at OCAD--the Ontario College of Art and Design University. The design anthropologist, researcher, writer, and author took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me.
Celina Caesar-Chavannes does things on her terms. After seeing a pamphlet encouraging women to run federally she did--and as a rookie politician beat a long-time Conserative candidate. Starting in 2015, she served the riding of Whitby, Ontario in the House of Commons but chose not to seek re-election in 2019. During her tenure, the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister spoke out several times about her experiences of anti-black racism as a Member of Parliament. I caught up with her just after she was named one of Chatelaine Magazine’s Women Of The Year and before she hopped on a plane for a planned family vacation to her native Grenada.
Donté Colley is a force. He had no idea when he made some dance videos in his basement a couple of years ago and shared them online that people would take notice. Now, the 22-year-old Instagram star has danced with Ariana Grande, performed with The Chainsmokers and name-checked by Beyoncé. Based on the exuberance of his videos alone, you might want to call him the happiest man in Toronto.
828 thousand Instagram followers later (at the time of this writing) he made some time to chat with me.
Measha Brueggergosman is a Juno-award winning Canadian soprano who graces stages around the globe as an opera singer and concert artist. She is also an author, an actress and most importantly a mother of two boys. We caught up for a bite to eat at a hotel in downtown Toronto. Measha was in town to support an initiative with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. We first met years ago in Halifax when I was assigned to work on a profile of her for CTV National News. Full disclosure: she is one of my favourite people.
Welcome to my new column. Each month I’ll shoot 10 questions at someone who is making waves in the Black Canadian community and beyond.