Blog No. 2 Music, Marches & Much Needed Discussions

We’re just days away from February which means Black History Month is soon approaching. But this past week was already in full swing with numerous projects and major events.

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Friday, Jan. 27th, 2017

We’re just days away from February which means Black History Month is soon approaching. But this past week was already in full swing with numerous projects and major events. From the musical jams in the North End to the march for women’s rights at Portage Place Shopping Centre, POC took center stage all across the city of Winnipeg. More importantly was that women of colour lead much of the movement this past weekend.

Alexa, Founder of Black Space (@blackspacewpg) along with many inspiring Manitoba women made Portage Avenue theirs on Saturday. The US inauguration of President Donald Trump was on Jan. 21st. This lead to the single largest protest in United States history with 2.9 million taking to the streets. Although, the demonstrations didn’t stop at the border. Winnipeg also participated with an estimated 3,000 attendees meeting at Portage Place Shopping Mall and marching down to Portage and Main intersection.

Speakers included, as mentioned, Alexa Potashnik, who kept it all the way real with calling out the initial lack of racial inclusion in the planning of the Women’s March – a march meant for all women in the city. Uzoma Chioma of QPOC Winnipeg (@qpocwinnipeg) also shared some of her thoughts on the recent US election and what this march means. She urged the crowd to not just show up for this march but actively reach out to marginalized groups and provide meaningful support ongoing.

Johise Namwira is a local activist and a representative of Equal Voice Manitoba who was selected to attend at this year’s #DaughterOfTheVote in Ottawa. She took to the stage with a powerful message making the whole crowd erupt into applause.

[VIDEO HERE]

This January, we started working with Pajaro Dulce (@pajarodulce) and leaders from Winnipeg’s North End Cultural Resource Centre (NECRC). We were asked to document their work with four young musical talents in the north end of Winnipeg as they rehearse and record their songs. The first rehearsal was this past Monday with help from local established artists including Marisolle Negash (@itsmarisolle). To be in the studio space during that creative process was a special experience.
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This past Thursday evening, Fool’s & Horses hosted a panel discussion on the work to create safer spaces in the music community. Uzoma and Alexa were both featured on the panel – Uzoma shared her knowledge from her own experiences in event organizing and Alexa with hers in activism and performing as an award-winning vocal percussionist.

There was far more to see than what we saw this week. There will be plenty more to see all of February. Details about events in Winnipeg for Black History Month can be found on:

Black History Month Winnipeg (@bhmwinnipeg)

QPOC Winnipeg (@qpocwinnipeg)

Black Space (@blackspacewpg)

Also, be sure to attend BLT Winnipeg: Black Leaders of Tomorrow on Thurs. Feb. 23rd. Tickets available soon.

 

Much love,

Kelechi P. Asagwara

Visual Director, Co-Founder of ÉZÈ Studio

Blog No. 1 #4WORDPROJECT

The #4WordProject is just one of the many black art projects that will be featured at BLT Winnipeg this February.

Less than three weeks into January and our calendar is looking pretty full. We have a lot of new dope things around the corner for 2017; this is one of them. We just launched a WordPress blog to share with you monthly updates on what’s coming up in ÉZÈ Studio.

Excited? We thought you’d be.

You may be wondering about the reason for the title. Well, for our first post, we want to share with you a project we’ve had in the works for weeks. Something we plan to reveal at our first live event for Black History Month in Canada.

On Thursday, February 23rd,  ÉZÈ Studio will be hosting BLT Winnipeg: Black Leaders of Tomorrow at the Fleet Galleries on Albert St.

When it comes to black history, it’s common for us to look to past leaders and social activists. At BLT Winnipeg, we want to flip that concept and look to those in the present day. With this event, our goal is to showcase different black leaders, artists, and social advocates.  In our city, there are creators and artists from different cultures and backgrounds who use their skills to make a difference. BLT Winnipeg is about showcasing people of colour (POC) making a positive impact and knowing how we can support one another going forward.

The #4WordProject is just one of the many black art projects that will be featured at BLT Winnipeg this February. For the past several weeks we had scheduled photo shoots on Sunday afternoons. The idea was to come together for a creative project but also take some time to connect as a community. We took portrait photographs of each person who came. We shot in monochrome so they would be all be black and white. The idea is to showcase diversity within black people, reclaiming how we are defined while showing what makes us connected. Each photo is captioned by the person in the photo. The reason for the hashtag 4WordProject was because we gave each person only four words to use as their caption. It goes like this:

World – How do you define your nationality?

Ex. African-Canadian, Zimbabwean, Euro-Jamaican, etc.

 

Occupation – What defines your career?

Ex. Lawyer, Teacher, Accountant, Musician, Student, etc.

 

Relationships – Most significant person in your life & your relationship to them.

Ex. If Grandmother, then your word is Grandchild, Grandson or Granddaughter

 

Definition – One word that means the most to you about life.

Ex. Honesty, Courage, Laughter, Family, Love, Adversity, etc.

Through this outline, people selected their four words for their photo. The words people from the community have selected have been inspiring. Not to reveal too much (You got to come to see the full collection) here’s an example of one person’s four words:

W: Ugandan

O: Artist

R: Son

D: Determination

In case you didn’t notice, the first letter of each of those words spells “word.” Hence the term 4WordProject. Also, “4Word” means to move “forward” together. Through this processes, there’s been tremendous love and support from countless individuals. It’s not only spread the word about EZE Studio and BLT Winnipeg but the significance in what makes us unique and united as POC.

Personally, I want to thank everyone who took the time to be involved. There’s plenty more to be seen at BLT Winnipeg come Feb. 23rd. Tickets will be available soon!

Much love,

Kelechi P. Asagwara, Co-Founder & Visual Director