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The Best of 2005

28 Nov 2006

Well, 2006 is here.  How time flies!
Around this time of year, many newspapers, TV stations and websites post their “best of” lists of the past year as a way of providing proper closure to the previous 365 days and starting off fresh. Not to be outdone, AfroToronto.com has decided to start 2006 by giving you our top ten stories/events of the past year. The stories are ranked according to their level of importance to us or their perceived relevance to you: the reader. You may not agree with our selection, so we encourage you to send us your lists. So here it is ...


10-Hurricane Katrina

The devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi wrecked havoc on the lives of many mostly poor people. But more importantly for the long term, it highlighted the racial and economic divide that still exist in the U.S. “George W. Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” Kanye West said to the bemusement of many mainstream Americans. But we nodded in silence. It was, as our columnist Laina Dawes wrote, the sin of omission.

9-The Federal Election call

Another year, another election call. Some cynics are quick to point to the cost of this whole affair and the predictable minority government that will result from it. But democracy is an untidy concept by definition and sometimes it takes an election to challenge the arrogance and sense of entitlement of those in power and remind them that they still have to earn the right to make decisions in our name. Our vote counts as our contributor Marc Grannum wrote so eloquently back in September.

8-Marc Ecko’s Getting Up festival

It almost didn’t happen. Low ticket sales and bad or ineffective marketing at the start, but they still managed to pull it off with last minute improvisation. Hopefully that success can translate into many more peaceful festivals highlighting the many talents of our Hip Hop stars. Read Adele Ambrose’s wrap-up of the event.

7-Da Kink in My Hair

Whether you liked the show or hated it, you cannot deny the impact of Trey Anthony’s play on the theatre establishment. Thanks to the success of ‘da Kink at the Princess of Wales theatre earlier this year, Stori Ya, Two Can Play, The Burglary, the series of Stage 3 plays all got a nod because finally those holding the purse strings realized that there was an audience (and therefore profits) for “Black plays” in Toronto. Read our interview with Trey Anthony.

6-Councillor Michael Thompson’s ludicrous proposal to target young black males as a way of solving the problem of gun violence in Toronto

“Part of the rationale was to shock the system out of its comfort on the issue of gun violence,” Michael Thompson told us in a phone interview back in August [read the interview]. And shock the city he did, forcing many, including our own contributor Anne-Marie Woods to label him “Uncle Thompson” [read the article].

5-Umoja

If you haven’t seen the show yet, what are you waiting for? Thanks to the talent and determination of the folks at Ysis Entertainment and our own efforts at AfroToronto.com, Umoja came back to the Elgin Theatre in 2005. Look for more glowing words about the show in 2006. [Read Meres Weche’s review of opening night].

4-The Live 8 concerts

There was so much promise attached to them. Many of the concert-goers who headed to Barrie to see K’Naan, Sam Roberts and the Barenaked Ladies hailed Bob Geldof as a genius whose marketing savvy and humanism would lift the African continent out of economic underdevelopment. We were not so sure. [Read Live 8: The Long road to injustice]

3-Michaelle Jean, Rosa Parks, Luther Vandross & Richard Pryor

Role models are important for young people especially for young black people. Michaelle Jean understood that notion and fought off accusations of “closet separatist” to accept the position of Governor General. In 2005 we lost Rosa Parks, Luther Vandross and Richard Pryor, remarkable role models in their own rank for both their trailblazing work and commitment to important causes. [Read Meres Weche’s Under Fire and Luther Vandross: the voice has left the building]

2-Gun Violence in Toronto

This is a story that will continue to reverberate in 2006. The flowers are still wet on the corner of Yong e Street where Jane Creba was shot on Boxing Day. This has been a year of records for gun deaths in Toronto . Many discussions took place, many community and governments leaders issued stern declarations, but nothing has so far stemmed the violence. We need to continue to talk about it, to at least keep it in the consciousness of people and also make sure that the faults of a few do not taint the positive accomplishments of the majority.

1-The birth of AfroToronto.com

Around this time last year, my partners Melvin Bakandika, Meres Weche and I were still arguing about logos, page formats and color schemes for AfroToronto.com. 2005 will always be a special year for us because we managed in eleven months to turn our idea into a true electronic camp fire for T oronto's Afro-Canadian community. We thank our columnists and contributors for their amazing work throughout 2005 and we thank you, the readers for your continued support.

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