Tag: Canada

Civil Rights Activist Viola Desmond to Become 1st Black Woman Featured on Canadian Money

Viola Desmond’s sister, Wanda Robson, was present at the announcement on Thursday [Reuters]
article by  via aljazeera.com

Toronto, Canada – Viola Desmond, a black civil rights leader who led a struggle against anti-black segregation and racism in Canada in the 1940s will be the first Canadian woman to figure on a banknote.

Desmond will appear on the Canadian $10 bill – replacing John A. MacDonald, the nation’s first prime minister (he will be moved to a higher bill) when new banknotes go into circulation in 2018, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced on Thursday morning.

A successful businesswoman from a middle-class family, Desmond is best known for refusing to give up her seat in the “whites only” section of a cinema in Canada’s eastern province of Nova Scotia in 1946.

She was eventually dragged out of the segregated cinema by police, arrested, held in prison overnight, and forced to pay a fine, all for refusing to move to the upstairs balcony reserved for black people.

She was criminally charged with not paying a small tax that would normally apply on a downstairs ticket. But instead of letting the matter rest, Desmond decided to fight her conviction in court.

“Viola inspires us … today as she inspired people years ago,” said her sister Wanda Robson, who attended the announcement. “I’m so proud, I’m almost in tears.”

Her case was the first known legal challenge by a black woman against segregation laws in Canada.

To read more, go to: Viola Desmond first Canadian woman on banknote | News | Al Jazeera

Ohio State Univ. President Michael V. Drake to Chair Board of Directors of the Association of American Universities

OSU President Michael Drake (photo via
OSU President Michael V. Drake (photo via thelantern.com)

article via jbhe.com

Michael V. Drake, the 15th president of Ohio State University and the first African American to hold that post, was elected vice chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Universities. He will serve one year as vice chair and then become chair of the board in 2017.

The Association of American Universities is composed of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. It advocates on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, graduate and undergraduate education, and campus life.

“Our participation in national higher education organizations gives Ohio State a unique opportunity to help set the course for solving the most important higher education issues of the day,” said President Drake. He also serves as chair of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Dr. Drake became president of Ohio State University in June 2014. From 2005 to 2014, he was chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. Earlier, he was the director of education and research for the 15 health science schools of the University of California System.

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/10/michael-drake-to-chair-the-board-of-directors-of-the-association-of-american-universities/

Simone Manuel Makes History as 1st African-American Female Swimmer to Win Olympic Gold in Individual Event

3723BF4F00000578-3735602-image-a-39_1470972883913
U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel ties for gold in women’s individual 100M freestyle race at 2016 Rio Olympic Games (photo via dailymail.co.uk)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

First and foremost, the headline above is the main story.  Team U.S.A. member Simone Manuel made Olympic and U.S. history by becoming the first African-American female to win gold in an individual swimming event when she tied Canadian swimmer Penny Olesiak for first place in the 100-meter freestyle at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics Thursday night, with a time of 52.70.  We congratulate her heartily, and are as proud as we can be of and for her.

According to theroot.com, Manuel used her time and her platform afterwards to speak on the ongoing racial issues the United States grapples with as she addressed the importance of her historic win.

United States' Simone Manuel shows off her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the women's 100-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
United States’ Simone Manuel shows off her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the women’s 100-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

“It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” the young swimmer said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”

Manuel acknowledged that her race does carry a bit of weight, especially as a swimmer, given the stereotype that black people cannot or should not be able to swim well.

“It is something I’ve definitely struggled with a lot,” she said. “Coming into the race, I tried to take [the] weight of the black community off my shoulders. It’s something I carry with me. I want to be an inspiration, but I would like there to be a day when it is not ‘Simone the black swimmer.’

“The title of black swimmer suggests that I am not supposed to win golds or break records, but that’s not true because I train hard and want to win just like everyone else,” Manuel added.

The ensuing story surrounding this momentous event and its coverage has also been historic in its own right. Thanks to social media, the calling out of the faulty, biased reporting by the mainstream media on this unprecedented triumph has been equally thrilling to behold.  Not only was NBC’s lack of coverage been taken to task by colorlines.com and scores of twitter fans, so has the San Jose Mercury News‘ initial insulting headline of “Michael Phelps Shares Historic Night with African-American” been dragged via a great Huffington Post article.

Personally, I am very satisfied to see a growing trend on speaking out against systemic racism in mainstream reporting and for apologies having to be publicly made and headlines re-written.  Please click through the links above and enjoy the tweets and comments in their entirety.

In the meantime, I’m setting my DVR for Manuel’s next race tonight in the 50-meter freestyle to see if NBC, etc. can do better by this undeniable champion for the ages.

Malyk Bonnet, 17, Hailed a Hero After Saving Woman from Kidnap by Ex-Boyfriend in Montreal

The Laval Police Department in Quebec with 17-year-old Malyk Bonnet, a restaurant cook, who rescued a woman who had been abducted by her dangerous ex-boyfriend.
The Laval Police Department in Quebec with 17-year-old Malyk Bonnet, a restaurant cook, who rescued a woman who had been abducted by her dangerous ex-boyfriend. (photo via Laval Police Department)

A teenager has been hailed a hero after helping a kidnapped woman escape from the clutches of her ex-boyfriend.  Police praised Malyk Bonnet, 17, after his quick thinking saved the woman’s life when he stayed with her until he could alert police.

Humble Bonnet initially laughed off the plaudits, but said: “Now I realize what I did and wow…it’s really awesome. I mean, I saved a life!”

On August 1, Bonnet was waiting for a bus home after finishing his shift as a cook at a restaurant in Montreal when he noticed the couple arguing, reported CBC News.  The couple asked him for money to take the bus, and he agreed to get some change at a convenience store and give them some money.

Bonnet had a moment alone with the terrified woman and decided he had to help rescue her.  “My plan was to keep them in a public place, where there’s a lot of people. I decided to make myself friendly with the man, so he would trust me. So I played my game,” Bonnet said.

Police were already looking for the woman and described the man as “very dangerous,” said Laval police Lt. Daniel Guérin.  Guérin said the man had already been found guilty of assault and death threats against his ex-girlfriend last year, and he was under a court order to stay away from her.

Bonnet waiting for the right moment and took the couple for food in order to keep them in a public place.  After his cellphone battery had died, he pretended to go to the washroom and borrowed a phone from someone in the restaurant to call police, who arrived within minutes.

Bonnet said the abducted woman was overcome with relief and added: “She was almost crying. She was so happy, so happy not to be with him.”

Police arrested the man on the spot and he appeared in court Monday on charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault.  Lt. Guérin said Laval police now intend to nominate Bonnet for a provincial award for bravery and added: “He managed the situation very well and took good decisions that probably saved the life of this woman.”

article by Laurie Hanna via nydailynews.com

NYT MUSIC FEATURE: Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World?

02weeknd1-superJumbo
The Weeknd (Photo Credit: Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, The New York Times)

The scene backstage last November at the American Music Awards, that annual gathering of pop perennials and idiosyncratic arrivistes, was carnivalesque: Niall and Liam of One Direction toddled about trying to snap a picture with a selfie stick, while Zayn, their bandmate at the time, smoked coolly out of frame; Ne-Yo was there in a leopard-­print blazer two sizes too small; Lil Wayne was wandering around, alone, wearing absurd shoes. In the middle of it all, Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, remained calm, slow ­motion to everyone else’s warp speed.

Allergic to these sorts of scrums, he found his way to his trailer to hang with his friends, five or so fellow Canadians, all of them art-goth chic, wearing expensive sneakers and draped in luxurious, flowing black. Tesfaye, 25, was dressed down by comparison, in a black corduroy jacket and paint-­splattered jeans (Versace, but still). He stands 5-foot-7, plus a few more inches with his hair, an elaborate tangle of dreadlocks that he has been growing out for years, more or less letting it go where it wants. It spills out at the sides of his head and shoots up over it, like a cresting wave. Casually, Tesfaye did some vocal warm-ups and sat indifferently as his underutilized makeup artist dabbed foundation under his eyes and balm on his lips.

Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. the Weeknd, at his apartment building in Toronto last December. (Credit: Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times)

He’d just had his first flash of true pop success: ‘‘Love Me Harder,’’ his duet with Ariana Grande, the childlike pop star with the grown-up voice, cracked the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. He was scheduled to make a surprise cameo here at the end of a Grande medley. Until that song and, in a sense, that moment, Tesfaye had been a no-hit wonder: a cult act with millions of devotees and almost no mainstream profile.

When Tesfaye came out from the shadows midway through Grande’s performance, the crowd screamed. For two minutes, the singers traded vocal riffs and unflinching eye contact, Grande playing the naïf and Tesfaye the aggressor. The performance was quick and sweaty, and seconds after it was over, Tesfaye was already speeding for the exit, stopping only for a quick embrace from Kendall and Kylie Jenner. When he reached the parking lot, a yappy talent wrangler for an entertainment-­news show sensed an opportunity and asked for an interview. Tesfaye gave him an amused half-smile and kept walking. ‘‘Hey!’’ the guy shouted in desperation, fumbling for a name before landing on the wrong one: ‘‘A$AP Rocky!’’ Tesfaye turned his head and said, ‘‘C’mon, man,’’ arching an eyebrow, then picked up the pace.

Even though he had just performed for an audience of millions, Tesfaye was still, to many of them, a total stranger. When he began releasing music in 2010 — murky Dalí-esque R.&B., sung in an astrally sweet voice, vivid with details of life at the sexual and pharmacological extremes — Tesfaye chose to be a cipher. The only photos of him in circulation were deliberately obscured; he didn’t do interviews. His reticence was an asset — fans devoured the music without being distracted by a personality. Their loyalty was to the songs and, in a way, to the idea of the Weeknd. He was happy to stay out of the way.

Continue reading “NYT MUSIC FEATURE: Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World?”

The World’s 1st Modeling Agency for People of Color Celebrates and Promotes Diversity in Fashion

944e7c35-b11b-4bba-a23f-6acc607a5327-2060x1236

Looking at the models on Lorde Inc’s website, the first thing that strikes you is that these people are, to put it in Zoolander’s words, really, really good looking. Ornello has long plaits and a gap between her teeth. Mohammed is all chocolate eyes and wavy locks. And Urjii is cheekbones and expressive stare. The second thing? None of the models – about 60 in all – are white.

Nafisa Kaptownwala, founder of Lorde. (Photograph: Carly Bangs/Lorde)
Nafisa Kaptownwala, founder of Lorde. (Photograph: Carly Bangs/Lorde)

Lorde was set up in May 2014 as the first of its kind – an agency made up entirely of models of colour. It is the brainchild of Nafisa Kaptownwala, a 26-year-old Canadian art history graduate, who began to work on the fringes of fashion and noticed the lack of non-white models. Despite no experience in the modeling industry, she set up Lorde in London with a friend and “the next thing, people were contacting us”. A year on, and Lorde has worked with magazines including Dazed & Confused and i-D, and collaborated with London streetwear brand Cassette Playa. Despite these relative triumphs, Kaptownwala is pessimistic about diversity in modelling in 2015. “There’s still not a massive demand because this is still a radical idea and people in fashion are not really ready for it,” she says. “How does that make me feel? In general I think, as a person of colour, you internalize. Creating this agency is a way to channel those feelings.” If diversity – across age, race and size – is always a swirl of debate in fashion, there seems to be the signs of change, with Balmain’s Olivier Roustein (himself mixed race) championing a catwalk of all sorts of ethnicities, Rihanna becoming the first black woman in a Dior campaign and Lineisy Montero walking the Prada catwalk with a visible afro. “Things are changing but in a minimal way,” acknowledges Kaptownwala. “But there were more models of color on the catwalk in the 90s than there are now. It kind of goes in cycles.” She praises former model Bethan Hardison’s campaign to increase diversity on the catwalk at major brands but says “two models in a show of 30 models is not enough”.

One of Lorde’s male models. (Photograph: JM Stasiuk)
One of Lorde’s male models. (Photograph: JM Stasiuk)

The dominance of white faces in fashion means her job, compared to that of a model booker at a larger agency, is a lot harder. “They work with everyone and we are fulfilling a niche,” she says. “The beauty standards are that the European is the epitome of what’s marketable, and not just to European consumers. I have spoken to magazines in Japan who only use Japanese and European models.” Kaptownwala believes the internet – and the culture of selfies – has a role to play in broadening what we think beautiful is, and has made an entire generation comfortable in front of the camera. “People are posing in their own ways, creating their own photo shoots,” she says. “It redefines beauty, opens things up and allows people to say ‘I want to be part of this.’”

article by Lauren Cochrane via theguardian.com

Toronto Native Tonika Morgan Goes from Homeless to Harvard Graduate School, Thanks to Crowdfunding

Tonika Morgan, pictured at the Artscape Youngplace in Toronto.
Tonika Morgan, pictured at the Artscape Youngplace in Toronto. (Photo: ISA MIGUEL RANSOME)

Tonika Morgan has not had an easy life. Now 32, the Toronto woman says she left home at 14, was homeless for four years, and slept in shelters and on park benches. She was kicked out of high school, she says, because she hardly ever showed up.

Even though she’s overcome problems that would overwhelm almost anyone, it wasn’t until this year that she faced what she calls her “biggest fear of all”: the fear that her application to attend Harvard’s Graduate School of Education next fall would be rejected.

It wasn’t. She’s in. But with her acceptance letter came another big worry: that she couldn’t pay the approximately $77,000 needed for the one-year master’s program, where tuition alone is $43,280.

So, lacking resources or workable options, she joined a growing number of needy college students and turned to crowdfunding to raise the money. She launched a “Mission for Harvard Tuition” in April on the GoFundMe site.  According to aol.com, after local media publicized the page, Morgan exceeded her goal and nearly $93,000 dollars was fundraised.

But Tonika Morgan knows that being able to go to her Harvard is not without the help of others who are helping her fulfill a dream of a lifetime.  “I have to say that this has been quite emotional for me. I have shared hugs, tears of joy and laughter with the beautiful souls who have noticed me on the street. I’ve never felt more supported and connected to anyone the way I have felt since this campaign started.”

“I was on the trolley and this woman reached her hand out and started crying,” Morgan, who goes by “Toni,” said in a phone interview from Toronto. “She said, ‘I’m so proud of you!’ I didn’t know that by telling my own truth, I’d connect with so many people.”

Continue reading “Toronto Native Tonika Morgan Goes from Homeless to Harvard Graduate School, Thanks to Crowdfunding”

Carnival Corporation Names Julia M. Brown to Newly-Formed Position of Chief Procurement Officer

Julia M. Brown
Julia M. Brown

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest travel and leisure company, today named Julia M. Brown to the newly created role of Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) overseeing strategic sourcing and supplier relationship management.

As part of this new role, Brown will work closely with the company’s nine brands and their support groups  to strategically procure goods and services to further strengthen the company’s supplier relationships and leverage its global scale. 

“We are excited to have Julia join us as part of our global management team and take on this new role that will be critical in helping us further leverage our scale, accelerating our drive to double-digit returns on invested capital,” said Arnold Donald, president & CEO for Carnival Corporation. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Julia through our mutual association with the Executive Leadership Council, and she not only has an exceptional track record of leading procurement at companies with massive global operations, but also has a highly strategic and collaborative approach that will help us partner more closely with our suppliers to exceed guest expectations and drive value for the business.” 

RELATED: Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation’s 1st Black CEO, Navigates Cruise Lines to $1.5 Billion in Profit

Brown most recently served as CPO on the global management team at Mondelēz International, which split from Kraft Foods in 2012.  Prior to the split, Brown served as CPO and SVP of global procurement at Kraft Foods, responsible for the company’s $30 billion strategic sourcing function. Prior to Kraft, she served as CPO and VP of corporate procurement and contract manufacturing at Clorox. Brown began her career at Procter & Gamble and also served in strategic roles at Diageo and Gillette.  

Brown is on the board for the Executive Leadership Foundation and also serves as a trustee for the African American Experience Fund, which is part of The National Park Service. She also serves as a board member for the Primo Center in Chicago.

Brown has been named as one of the top 100 most “Influential Blacks in Corporate America” by Savoy Magazine, the top 100 Women to Watch by Today’s Chicago Woman and listed in Black Enterprise’s Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business.  

She received a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. 

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

R.I.P. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Boxer Whose Murder Convictions Were Overturned

Denzel Washington, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and Evander Holyfield at 1999 premiere of "Hurricane"
Denzel Washington, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and Evander Holyfield at 1999 premiere of “Hurricane”

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a star prizefighter whose career was cut short by a murder conviction in New Jersey and who became an international cause célèbre while imprisoned for 19 years before the charges against him were dismissed, died on Sunday morning at his home in Toronto. He was 76.

The cause of death was prostate cancer, his friend and onetime co-defendant, John Artis, said. Mr. Carter was being treated in Toronto, where he had founded a non-profit organization, Innocence International, to work to free prisoners it considered wrongly convicted.

Mr. Carter was convicted twice on the same charges of fatally shooting two men and a woman in a Paterson, N.J., tavern in 1966. But both jury verdicts were overturned on different grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.

The legal battles consumed scores of hearings involving recanted testimony, suppressed evidence, allegations of prosecutorial racial bias — Mr. Carter was black and the shooting victims were white — and a failed prosecution appeal to the United States Supreme Court to reinstate the convictions.  Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 for starring in “Hurricane”, a film about Carter’s fight for justice.

Continue reading “R.I.P. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Boxer Whose Murder Convictions Were Overturned”

Nia Long Lands Starring Role On WEtv’s First Scripted Series

nia long

Fresh off the success of Best Man Holiday, 43-year-old actress Nia Long has landed a new starring role on WEtv’s first original scripted series.  According to Deadline, the mother of two has joined the cast of The Divide, a legal thriller centered around District Attorney Adam Page, played by Damon Gupton, “who uncovers new evidence that prompts the re-investigation of a sensational murder case.” Long will play the DA’s hard-charging wife named Billie Page.

Sources say production for Long’s new show is currently underway in Toronto.

article by Myeisha Essex via hellobeautiful.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
%d bloggers like this: