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PROFILES ON BLACK CANADIANS

Profiles

Trayon Baksh, aka Tray Arts’ journey to success was fraught with pitfalls, but what seemed like divine intervention nudged him in the right direction while courage and determination pushed him the rest of the way.

Photo: Leilah Dhore/How She Hustles In honour of Small Business Month, ByBlacks spoke with Emily Mills of How She Hustles about what it really takes to successfully build your own business. Mills is fresh off the launch of her latest project - the Startup & Slay Digital Series sponsored by CIBC, Futurpreneur Canada and Ryerson University.

Tracey-Acadia and Allister Thomas are the husband and wife team behind Soulful Image Magazine, with Tracey as the Editor-in-chief and Allister as the Creative Director. Soulful Image is a ministry magazine dedicated to encouraging, uplifting and inspiring people from all walks of life.

Emmanuel Jal went from having a normal childhood to losing everything. Born in what is now Southern Sudan, Jal experienced the brutality of war at a tender age. He lost his mother, aunties and uncles along with the innocence of childhood. Recruited at the age of eight, Jal became a child soldier. Now a successful recording artist, motivational speaker, and activist, Jal never imagined that what began as complete destruction, would turn out to be an instrument to inspire many others.

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.

If you’re reading this, you were probably just as shocked as I was to hear that Harlem Underground was closing for good. The place has been known for the soul food and unforgettable Caesars, but it’s also been a hub for black culture in Toronto for the past ten years. It’s one of three restaurants successfully owned and operated by cultural icon, Carl Cassell, over the past 18 years. The decision to close didn’t come easily but, as Carl puts it, he’s “ready for something new.”

“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.” - Jay-Z (Diamonds From Sierra Leone Remix)

Uzoma Asagwara is of Igbo-Nigerian heritage and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. On Tuesday September 10 2019, Asagwara won the seat as MLA for Manitoba’s Union Station riding under the NDP. Asagwara is the first Black, and openly queer MLA to ever win in Manitoba’s 150-year-history. Asagwara goes by the pronoun they or them.

Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s former minister of advanced education and skills development, and minister of education, found her voice at her family’s dinner table. That grounding has propelled the politician to represent her constituents of Scarborough-Guildwood, to serve the people of the province as a government minister, and now to seek the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party in 2020.

Nancy Falaise has over 18 years experience as a hairstylist, with a particular passion for curly hair. She’s on a mission to eradicate the stigma associated with the Afro/curly texture. It is a passion born out of hardship and loss. As a young Black Canadian girl she was constantly rejected for being biracial, with extra insult added because of her tight curls. It would take a life altering experience to make Falaise take a deeper look at herself and see the beauty of her natural curls.

 

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ByBlacks.com is the top-ranked award-winning online magazine focused exclusively on telling Black Canadian stories. With over one hundred writers to date covering a range of editorial content, we also provide a free business directory for Black Canadian owned businesses, free events listing and promotional services for our clients.

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