Thursday, October 25, 2018

Kareative Interlude Celebrates their Nu Narratives Literacy Empowerment Program

Proud New Authors
It was an inspiration-filled afternoon when Toronto-based community literacy program, Nu Narratives, awarded a group of emerging young authors on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Stephen Leacock Community Centre in Scarborough. The event was dedicated to showcasing the final published works of children from the Glendower and Empringham communities, participants in this summer's program in association with Cultural Hotspot, and presented by Kareative Interlude.

Kareative Interlude is an arts organization, committed to "accessing art as a medium to inspire, empower and heal participants, clients, and audiences. Through art exhibits, performances, artscapes and readings, they serve as a celebration of new narratives and displaying engaging works of art.

The Nu Narratives Literacy Empowerment Program helped young participants to reach their potential over the summer by: exposing them to the publishing process and methods of writing and illustrating a book, and allowing the artists to share their knowledge of story in its elements, composition and themes.

Karea Shee
Children's author, artist, and co-creator of Kareative Interlude Karee Shee, opened the afternoon by stating that we have a "responsibility to have the right intention and meaning behind our stories." She went on to say that "culture helps readers feel confident, and understand who they are."

Attendees were treated to a range of performances at the celebration, with drumming, a live DJ, spoken word performances, motivational speaking, readings, and a panel discussion with community artists. Hosted by Kareative Interlude's Business Manager, Osagyefo McGregor, the theme of the afternoon was connecting the experiences of the youth through writing, and encouraging self-empowerment and leadership through story and community.

Published Author, Michael
The event began with the children participating in a drumming circle, as well as a dance and motivational activity where they introduced themselves and showcased their skills. Each newly published child author had the opportunity to read their story to the audience, as well as take part in a question and answer period with Osagyefo, discussing the strategies they found most helpful before, during, and after writing their books.

Spoken word artist Randell Adjei of R.I.S.E. Edutainmemt was powerful, as he spoke directly to the youth, encouraging them to be proud of their abilities and reminding them to not let anyone else define who they are. "Words are powerful," he said. "If you know who you are, no one can tell you who you are." He encouraged them to etch their names into the pages of history.

The Final Product: A Published Book!
Poet Eddie the Original One was also motivating, stressing the importance of family and fighting for your dreams with a chant: "Family! That's the word!" Cecil, of the African Canadian Heritage Network was passionate in reminding children to "never let them dim your light" and encouraged the youth to learn about Africa, highlighting his message with inspirational music. Robert Small was encouraged by the printing process, and was happy to share access to his annual Black History Month poster (The Legacy Poster) with the group. His nationally celebrated poster is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Camesha Cox, a representative from The Reading Partnership (a literary initiative in Kingston/Galloway/Orton Park area that works exclusively with parents of young children in the area, providing tips and recommendations in teaching kids from ages 4 to 6 how to read) informed the audience about her programming objectives.

Felicia Joly, the author of "ABC's of Wealth: Big Ideas for Little Children" discussed the importance of having books accessible for the next generation, and noted that she was inspired to see how life can be better, through reading. Her Power@Play series uses the alphabet as the cornerstone to sharing engaging rhymes for young minds to learn the core concepts of wealth, success, and power.

The importance of this program is essential to the development of a positive and progressive literary culture for this generation of young artists. Nu Narratives was successful in demonstrating the steps needed for them to take their ideas from concept to publication, as well as instructing them on the "steps they can take to improve as writers, readers, publishers, and leaders."

It was a wonderfully motivating, informative, and heart-warming event, and it was a pleasure to see the young authors present their words. I am looking forward to move events and initiatives from Nu Narratives and Kareative Interlude!

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Legalize It" and 10 Other Great Ganja Songs

So, marijuana is really legal in Canada now, eh?

I can't say I trust this entire process and change of reality, and for that reason I'll keep my personal and political views to myself. Buuuut I must say, marijuana and music have always fit comfortably together in the most intimate of ways for artists and musicians and creative folks everywhere.

Rolling Stone magazine released a great list of ganja-friendly songs earlier this year, including classic rock artists like The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty. I thought it was a good time to reflect on my own personal favourite weed-appreciation tracks. Here they are, to enjoy on this special day in Canadian history: October 17, 2018.

Legalize It
Peter Tosh

Mary Jane
Rick James

Bob Marley

One Draw
Rita Marley

Missy Elliott 

Smoke the Herb
Bounty Killer

Gimme The Weed
Jigsy King

Ganja Farmer
Marlon Asher

Buju Banton

Marijuana Pon De Corner
Richie Spice

Herbman Hustling
Sugar Minott

Oh, wait. There are way more than ten! What was I thinking?! As a matter of fact, the more I listen to them, the more I remember just how many fabulous, vibsey cannabis tracks exist in the world of music. In the world of reggae alone, the list is practically endless. Here are some more honourable mentions:

Under Me Sensei // Barrington Levy

Police in Helicopter // John Holt

The Herb // Tony Rebel

We Be Burning // Sean Paul

100 Pounds of Collie // Cornell Campbell

Sensimilla // Barrington Levy

Stalk of Sensimilla // Michael Rose

Smoke Marijuana // Sizzla

Cannabis // Bushman


Be careful out there. This might take some getting used to. Here are the official regulations, from the Government Of Canada:

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.