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    On the day Makambe K. Simamba was born in Zambia, Nelson Mandela was visiting the country for the first time since his release from prison. It was the voice of men like Mandela and Malcolm X that made up the soundtrack of her childhood. Born in Zambia and raised in Guyana, Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands, this 29 year old storyteller has been exposed to many cultures and people. After high school, Makambe left the islands for Canada and took up theatre at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

    Syrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth advocate, and a key member of Black Lives Matter Toronto. Now he's adding playwright and actor to his resume, co-starring in 'Bubble Trans Pride' at this week’s Rhubarb Festival.

    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Andrew Eccles  “Alvin Ailey was a pioneer in celebrating the human spirit through the African-American culture and modern dance, elevating the world of the performing arts and the hearts and minds of people of all backgrounds," says the man at the helm of a 60 year old cultural instititute.

    BYBLACKS RATING: BBBBB The fact that children and adults could be heard in the audience singing along to songs in the Young People’s Theatre (YPT) production of Disney and Cameron Macintosh’s Mary Poppins on its opening night meant it was very engaging.

    Esie Mensah has been recognized as a woman to watch. She has developed her own version of Afro Fusion choreography that has led her to work with music industry icons, teach across Toronto, and work with companies like Soulpepper and the Shaw Festival.

    Starlight, Dark Night A Universal Ball is one of Toronto’s major balls of the year. Just in time for Halloween, the sci-fi fantasy themed ball took place at the 519 on Saturday night.

    Virginia Woolf's feminist classic Orlando tells the story of an English poet who transitions from a man to a woman, transcending time, place and gender. Spanning 300 years, Orlando negotiates the roles and behaviour expected relative to gender and relationships in each Century.

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