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Word, Sound, Power annual celebration shines spotlight on Black artists

Word, Sound, Power annual celebration shines spotlight on Black artists

On February 8, Members of the York University community congregated on campus to celebrate Black artistic talent with Word, Sound, Power: An Annual Celebration of Black Artistic Expression. The Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora presented the showcase of music, dance, spoken word and performance.

 The Black History Month event spotlights Black cultural and artistic expression through performance, which this year includes drumming and dance, spoken word, a jazz ensemble, an R&B ensemble, The Toronto Gospel Choir and more. The event was open to the community and saw members from all over York Region join to watch students and special guests celebrate.

“As usual, we will be hosting a Black History Month event at which time we will be showcasing and celebrating the talents, artistry and ingenuity of Black university and high school students through their music, poetry, dance and singing. Our annual event recognizes the contributions of Jean Augustine to this national recognition of Black presence in Canada” says Professor Carl James, the Jean Augustine Chair and Senior Advisor on Equity and Representation.

Featured performances include:

• York University doctoral student Miss Coco Murray with Coco Collective with a presentation in drumming and dance;
• Peel District School Board student Marie Pascoe with a spoken word performance;
• a performance by York’s Oscar Peterson jazz ensemble;
• a spoken word performance by Canadian poetry slam champion Dwayne Morgan;
• a performance by York’s R&B ensemble;
• a performance by spoken word artist Ryan Burke;
• a presentation by the Toronto Gospel Choir; and
• a spoken word presentation by York University student Ashley Keene.

Jean Augustine

Remarks were offered by Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada, and champion of the unanimous vote in 1995 that saw February designated as Black History Month; Robert Savage, dean, Faculty of Education; and humanities Professor Andrea Davis, special advisor, Anti-Black Racism Strategy, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Representation from York’s Division of Equity, People and Culture, along with Christine Maclin of Unifor – a sponsor of the event, also shared remarks.

Word, Sound, Power is co-presented by the Faculty of Education, the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, the Department of Humanities (Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and the Division of Equity, People and Culture.

Article originally published in the February 1, 2023 issue of Yfile