After a baking-hot day on Friday, August 12th – when the temperature reached 36 degrees celsius here in Toronto – the logical place to cool down at sunset was lakeside for the Habari Africa Festival where African singers and musicians – now based in Canada – sang and played for us from the outdoor stage by the water.
Malian “griotte” (female story-teller and praise-singer) – and current Montrealer – DJELY TAPA performed a rousing set with her three band members, one of whom accompanied her in a lilting song on his “kora”. Her brother translated from her French introduction the importance of the message of Une Chanson Contre La Violence Contre Les Femmes (A Song against Violence against Women).
Congolese singer BLANDINE MBIYA sang in French and Lingala, and was accompanied by Cour des Grands, veteran Congolese musicians (now living in Montreal) who paid tribute to great 1960s-70s “orchestres” of the Congo “rumba” tradition (Tabu Ley, Papa Wemba, OK Jazz). Mbiya’s voice was tender and sexy – and very sweet in tone! She bantered in English with the audience in between songs – sounding uncannily like Jennifer Lopez when she speaks.
Habari Africa Festival is one of those events we look forward to – when it’s summer in Toronto! Those of us who love musical variety and discovery are grateful to Batuki Music Society founder Nadine McNulty – and to every supporter and partner, including Harbourfront Centre – for making it all happen, down by the Lake!
Founded by writer and journalist Michael S. L. Jarrett – and now in its second year – Palaver International Literary Festival brings Caribbean literature, music and good food to Wasaga Beach, Ontario. An “open mic.” stage for poetry and song, as well as Ol’ Time Stories told throughout the day. This evening (Saturday the 6th) there is the Palaver Awards Dinner (“A Birthday Toast to Jamaica”) featuring The Heritage Singers and Orville Hammond, jazz pianist. On Sunday the 7th: “open mic.” for poetry and song again; “Feast on the Beach”: brunch with master-chef Selwyn Richards; the Palaver Writers’ Workshop with Horane Smith; and poets and novelists will meet and greet with festival attendees –– and sign books :-) Writers in attendance at Palaver 2016 include: Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis, Dwayne Morgan, Owen Everard James, Cynthia Reyes, and Lorna Goodison.
Delores Gauntlett (born 1949, St. Ann, Jamaica)
Introduction to Poetry
(for Mervyn Morris)
“I wish you’d write some foolishness sometimes,”
you said in that workshop off South Camp Road,
and it took some years to uncover what you meant:
To bring out what I’d seen, or wished I’d seen,
in a simple line
and state outright that this is it;
to find my way out of the cul-de-sac,
when trying too hard, wide of the mark,
the words coming but not the sense;
to balance each line and not feel the weight;
to watch day break across a familiar land,
freeing the verse as on a passing wind;
to walk all night under a changing moon.
To convert the outrage into song, the poem coming,
not as from the space between
a sleepwalker’s outstretched arms,
but as in a hand held still against rushing water,
then lifted clear, the drops from the dripping
fingertips settling in the poem’s room.
. . . . .
A reveller awaits the masquerade judge’s decision after her mas’-crew’s display at the CNE on Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto: July 30th, 2016.
Photo by Nakita Krucker / Toronto Star
And more photographs from the all-day fête (Grand Parade) courtesy
The Photagonist.ca Photography…
All photographs (except the top image) are © The Photagonist.ca
AfroFest 2016 à Toronto –– Tu t’es joint à nous? Parce que nous nous sommes bien amusés! Tout s’est déroulé au samedi et dimanche, le 9 et 10 de juillet – toute la journée au Parc Woodbine. La musique a inclus les voix et les groupes de Nati Haile, Toto Guillaume, Moto Tia, BKO Quintet, Lynda Thalie et Emmanuel Jal: les beaux sons africains de l’Éthiopie, du Cameroun, du Congo, de Mali, de l’Algérie et de Soudan – entre autres pays.
À propos…Que tu ne manques pas aussi le festival Habari Africa à Harbourfront, Toronto – au bord du Lac Ontario le 12,13,14 d’août!
Poesía cubana del siglo XX: una muestra de Zócalo Poets: junio de 2016 / Twentieth-century Cuban poetry: a selection from Zócalo Poets: June 2016Posted: June 30, 2016
Alberto Henschel (1827-1882) was a German-born Brazilian photographer from Berlin. An energetic, enterprising businessman, he established photography studios in the cities of Pernambuco, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. While known as both a landscape photographer and, for some time Photographo da Casa Imperial (Photographer of the Royal House) during the reign of Pedro II, his main legacy has been his visual record of the social classes of Brazil. His portraits were often produced in the ‘carte de visite’ format, and included the nobility, wealthy tradesmen, the middle class and, most interestingly, Brazil’s black people – whether slaves or freemen/women. These portraits were taken during the decades before the Lei Áurea, the slavery-abolition law of 1888.
Alberto Henschel (Berlim, 1827 – Rio de Janeiro, 1882) foi um fotógrafo teuto-brasileiro, considerado o mais diligente empresário da fotografia no Brasil do século XIX. Sua principal contribuição à história
da fotografia no Brasil foi o registro fotográfico de todos os extratos sociais do Brasil oitocentista: retratos, geralmente no padrão carte-de-visite, foram tirados da nobreza, dos ricos comerciantes, da classe média e, mas certamente, dos negros – tantos livres como escravos (em um período ainda anterior à Lei Áurea.
. . . . .
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In the early twentieth century, paper dolls were a popular plaything for children. Cheap and easy to make, these cut-out paper figures could be dressed with paper clothes attached by tabs. The figures were often of idealistic characters: beautiful children, perfect families, fashionable ladies representing the power élite of the day. Boxed sets and books could be readily bought in stores, but many were available in magazines and newspaper comic strips as a special treat for the kids.
From the late 1800s to the mid 1950s, black paper dolls were rare and stereotypical in white-owned North-American media. Black adult females were shown as maids or ‘mammies’, caregivers to young white children. Black children as paper dolls always had at least one garment that was tattered and patched, and black adult males were almost never shown.
The outstanding exception to the above stereotypes was the creation of Torchy Brown by a black woman cartoonist named Jackie Ormes. The Torchy Brown comic strips and accompanying paper dolls appeared in black newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender in the early 1950s. Torchy herself, created by Ormes in the 1930s, was a strong and glamorous woman-of-colour who certainly did not wear rags. With the advent of desegregation and the Black Power movement in the United States, more and more positive images of black paper dolls finally appeared.
The images shown here cover the early stereotypes. Yet one can understand that, at the time, many blacks may have been pleased to see any representations of themselves in prestigious magazines such as McCall’s and Woman’s Home Companion. It was also during this period – in 1939, to be exact – that Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for portraying a ‘mammy’ in the film “Gone With The Wind”; McDaniel was also featured in a paper doll book of the film.
Bruce Patrick Jones
. . .
Charming Rastus, gently stereotyped with patches and watermelon, was positioned as a friend of Little Louise, a blond, blue-eyed girl.
Patches and rags define pretty Farina, though Fattie’s costume is tattered too. This exquisite illustration was by Frances Tipton Hunter.
What well-to-do little girl from The South wouldn’t have had her very own ‘mammy’ in 1927?
Mandy, a warm and loving creation by Canada’s Lydia Fraser.
Topsy’s ‘kitchen dress’ suggests she’ll follow mommy Mandy’s line of work.
Sam’s wardrobe defines a hard workin’ little guy: bellboy and newspaper seller. As well – the ubiquitous patches on his overalls.
Sunny Sammy’s cherub-cheeked nurse pre-dates Hattie McDaniels in “Gone With The Wind”.
Black Nelly was a Swedish take on a little African girl, shown here with a totally European set of clothes.
Sweet Little Sambo seems almost to be a cartoon version of Rastus (second from top).
Effie Slivers was Lena Pry’s (mouthy) maid in this 1930s strip. Lucky Effie gets a dressy outfit, too.
Opal was a stark contrast to slim, blonde Boots, star of the comic strip in which Opal appeared. Still, artist Martin did give her a rich wardrobe.
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Zócalo Poets feature about Jackie Ormes: https://zocalopoets.com/2015/02/28/jackie-ormes-torchy-candy-patty-jo-ginger/
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Opening today (February 20th):
Stereotypes to Civil Rights: Black Paper Dolls in America
featuring the private collection of author, lecturer, and collector Arabella Grayson, and exploring the 150-year evolution of cultural images of African-Americans in paper dolls—from Little Black Sambo and Aunt Jemima to Jackie Robinson and Missy Elliott.
Till August 21st, 2016,
at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures,
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.