It was a Significant Weekend for Toronto Reggae and Canadian Dancehall Culture

I feel it was a big weekend for Toronto dancehall. A couple of days have passed, and I realize it felt significant enough for me to keep processing what just happened.

Two things in particular:

1) Spice performed for the Pride festivities during Pride weekend in Toronto.

2) King Turbo's founding members reunited on stage at the Canada History Clash.

It's possible that either event just passed you by this weekend. With the amount of outdoor functions, gatherings, pool parties, fetes, boat rides, and dancehall events, you truly could have been out celebrating the first week of summer with all of the energy and vibrancy you've been holding on to for months. Years.

Last summer we were free, but this summer...we're FREE free. You could feel the vibration it in the air...folks in Toronto are ready to have a good time for the next two months, by any means necessary.

I saw the footage of Spice performing live at Dundas Square, and it made me smile. It made me feel proud. I was happy for Gracie, for her loving fans, and for this milestone in her musical journey. I didn't think about any other side story, just the fact that a talented Black woman was continuing to rise after over a decade in the industry. It was a beautiful thing, and it happened right here on our soil.

I also felt proud of Toronto this weekend for the way we allow folks to celebrate in the streets, and embrace so many cultures in extravagant ways.

No political thoughts, just appreciation this weekend. No second-guessing Doug Ford's cabinet choices this weekend. Just positive thoughts.

The clash on Saturday, King Turbo vs. Superfresh, was entertaining and historic. It was significant, and the crowd felt it. It was musically satisfying, and for the sake of the culture, it was also personally satisfying. We got to witness Slingshot and Ricky Turbo together again on stage, and receive an audible reminder of why King Turbo is King Turbo.

I posted a few clips on our @JamaicanCanadianZone page on IG.

Significant Toronto moments. I wonder if anyone else felt that? Did anyone feel the culture shift, and move forward? Did anyone else feel an evolution...uncomfortable at times, but groundbreaking?

It's not even about the LGBTQ2S+ community, or about "DJ drama"'s just about a change in times, an emerging generation of thinkers, and a maturing generation of foundation Black Toronto citizens.

We are at the point where we are going to see and feel the change of the generation, and realize that the beliefs and thoughts and activities that we were so steadfast about, and defended so strongly...were not necessarily always in our best interest.

We are at the point where we see the generation after us moving differently, and progressing differently, and standing up for themselves in ways we never bothered to. We can see the variations in thinking and behaviour, and we are adjusting ourselves accordingly.

I'm happy for Spice and the international movements of reggae music. I'm happy to see King Turbo enter the next chapter for their sound, that is fundamental to the Caribbean Canadian musical experience for "our" generation: Generation X.

I want to make sure these sentiments are in writing, because they matter, and they will shape the future of reggae and dancehall music in Canada, and we must recognize and honour these moments in our community whenever we can. It's history. Big or's our history.

Written by SM Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Reflection & Reason" blog.


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