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    PROFILES ON BLACK CANADIANS

    Profiles

    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.

    Monique and Eusi Prince are a Toronto couple who give a whole new meaning to the word efficient. With just 24 hours in a day, they manage to do it all. They are the proud parents of ten children ranging from two and a half to 23 years old, and the co-owners All My Son's Hair of Art Studio in Pickering, Ontario, mentors, as well as activists. We sat down with them as the second feature in our Black Canadian Couples In Business series.

    Drawn from the extraordinary holdings of The Walther Collection, The Way She Looks exhibition revisits the history of African photographic portraiture through the viewpoints of women, both as subjects and photographers.

    Michael Coteau has been in provincial politics for almost a decade, holding multiple portfolios in the Liberal government. But he says it took a long time for him to put his name forward in the race for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

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