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Amaka Umeh, the first artist of colour to play Shakespeare's Hamlet in the history of the Stratford Festival, is no stranger to breaking norms. In this conversation, she shares how she has navigated her life upstream from conventions both on and off the stage.

"Art in general, there's no substitute for its healing capabilities, and I think it's some of the best of what we do as human beings."

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An interview with the Spoken Soul Collective (Paulina O'Kieffe-Anthony, Randell Adjei and Dwayne Morgan) on their curation work on the ArtworkxTo-supported exhibition called Scarborough: The Backbone. The exhibition runs until October 2022 at Scarborough Town Centre.

We speak with the Spoken Soul Collective on this episode, comprising three members representing a powerhouse of Toronto's spoken word poetry scene. The three groundbreaking artists are Scarborough Walk of Fame Inductee, Dwayne Morgan, who needs no introduction given his three-decade-long career as a deeply entrenched builder and pioneer of the local and national spoken word scene, award-winning artist, arts educator and executive director at SKETCH Working Arts, Paulina O'Kieffe-Anthony, as well as Scarborough spoken word artist, founding director of R.I.S.E. Edutainment and Ontario's first Poet Laureate, Randell Adjei.

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An interview with Philip Akin, the former artistic director of Obsidian Theatre Company and accomplished stage, voice and film actor. We discuss his current directorial work on Alice Childress' play 'Trouble in Mind' at the Shaw Festival and the importance of laying the path for Black storytellers and theatre practitioners.

Philip Akin is the former Artistic Director of Toronto's Obsidian Theatre Company. The award-winning Canadian actor and theatre director has built an illustrious career of over 35 years on the stage, as a voice actor, on television and movies.

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Esie Mensah is a Dora-nominated choreographer, dance artist, educator, and public speaker. She's worked with megastars like Rihanna, Drake, French Montana and Arcade Fire. She recently conceptualized, wrote and directed a short film, TESSEL — which premiered earlier this week, on June 1, 2021 — and is currently streaming for free on tessel.film.

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Alica Hall is the Executive Director of the Nia Centre for the Arts — Canada's first multi-disciplinary professional arts space dedicated to showcasing art from the African diaspora. The Toronto-based not-for-profit community arts organization has, for its primary mission, to be a key destination for the Black community to bolster and showcase the full range of creative diasporic expression.

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Born in Kingston, Jamaica and currently based in Ajax, Ontario, social entrepreneur Sanaaj Mirri is genuinely passionate about empowering youth through traditional African dance. She's the founder and director of the Afiwi Groove School, operating in the Durham Region. Founded in 2013, her non-profit's programs promote positive self-esteem, confidence, and an active lifestyle while educating and connecting participants to the African Diaspora's arts and culture.

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Broadway tap dance performer Lisa La Touche talks about her Fall for Dance North show, her Calgary roots and artistic journey in Chicago and New York, and tells us why her art form needs to be back in community centres.

Lisa La Touche has an inspiring story of being exposed to dance at a young age growing up in Alberta, Canada, and ending up as a professional dancer in Chicago and New York — with such highlights as performing live at the 70th Annual TONY Awards and appearing as a principal stage dancer on episode 6 of Amazon's Original TV series Z- The Beginning of Everything.

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The AGA KHAN Museum presents Caravans of Gold Fragments in Time, from September 21, 2019 - February 23, 2020. The exhibit showcases pieces from around the continent, including Ekow Nimako’s Building Black Civilizations.

Caravans of Gold focuses on various collections to paint a compelling and expansive story about medieval sub-Saharan Africa.

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An interview with Sandrine Colard — curator of The Way She Looks photography exhibition, organized by the Ryerson Image Centre. Colard is an art historian, writer and curator based in New York, United States, and Brussels, Belgium.

"The reading of being black is very different growing up in Europe — in contrast to my experience living in New York today; or when I travel to the Congo," said art curator and professor Sandrine Colard. She gave AfroToronto those insights during a recent discussion where we discussed her dual heritage. 

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The inaugural 3-day Toronto Spoken Soul Fest is taking place from August 16-18, 2019 at the 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education in Toronto. Created by the SpokenSoulTO Collective, comprised of multifaceted Toronto artists Dwayne Morgan, Paulina O'Kieffe-Anthony and Randelll Adjei, the festival aims to provide an annual platform for talented black poets, storytellers, musicians, and signers.

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