Montreal Mirror: “Afro proud” by Roxane Hudon
This year’s Young, Gifted and Black concert salutes the Black Is Beautiful movement of the 60s and 70s.
From James Brown singing “I’m Black and I’m Proud” and Aretha Franklin asking for some “Respect,” the ’60s and ’70s were an important time of empowerment and change for black people around the world. The seventh edition of the Young, Gifted and Black talent showcase is honouring this era with each performance exploring the Black Is Beautiful movement as its theme.
Black Is Beautiful was a cultural movement that began in the ’60s and encouraged black people to embrace their natural features—hence the popularity of the iconic ’70s afro. “Pre-Civil Rights movement, the black people in America were imitating the white mainstream culture, and with Black Is Beautiful, there was a sense of ‘Okay, this is who I am and I am beautiful just the way I am,’” explains organizer Kevin George.
The showcase’s performances include music, dance and spoken word artists such as Miss D-Na and Aliyah “Truth” Thomas, comedian Eddy King, hip hop acts Black Glovez, Fly Estate and Xlim Scandalous, as well as gospel music courtesy of the Imani Children of light choir, just to name a few. “Some of them will do skits and you’re deﬁnitely going to see some afros and some throwback outﬁts,” says George, adding that there will also be some references to what was happening in Montreal at the time, politely referring to that “computer centre incident at Concordia.”
For George, it’s important to look back at that era and compare it to what’s happening today. “There is a lot of contrast between what was happening then and what’s happening now. There’s a shift in the community now; it’s a lot of weaves and perms. If you look at people like Beyoncé and the image she projects… in the mainstream media, there’s a convergence to one model of what beauty is and even if you have black skin, you’re trying to ﬁt into that model. So, there is a need for us to go back and ground ourselves again.”
– Oscar Peterson Hall (7141 Sherbrooke W.) on Saturday, Feb. 5., 8 p.m., $25.
For more info, call (514) 918-3352.