When it comes to being a wealth of wisdom regarding the how to successfully support the Black Canadian community in a way that holds depth, is free of power imbalances, and most importantly long lasting, I will be the first to admit the mountain it stands to be. A google search alone populates more opinion and research than this single article can cover. I do however appreciate writing like that of Rodney Diverlus’ recent CBC news article, Why Black Artists should spend 2021 forging our own paths.
Rodney highlights that 2020 was a year of Black arts workers being burnt out from months of naming and protesting anti-Black racism. Throw in the strain of COVID within marginalized communities, Black Canada is simply exhausted. Keeping this in mind he calls for a break in the cyclical protest, recognition, empty promises plus repeat of it all limbo. What I admire most is that he proposes Black Canada respond with a broad proliferation of Black arts practices, institutions, and practitioners.
What that looks like exactly, I am not certain. Here I have compiled a short list of Black business directories and organizations tied to supporting Black artists across the country. We know what has not been working for the Black community, we know the ways where we may feel othered. Moving into 2021, there is a great opportunity to build and familiarize ourselves with the Black businesses within reach.
Canadian directory of Black owned businesses & Black entrepreneurs. Afrobiz.ca provides more than 1500 listings for black-owned businesses, black entrepreneurs, and black organizations across the country. These include black-owned banks, black hair salons, black churches, and black doctors. Within individual cities, you can also find restaurants, financial services, art galleries, and personal training businesses that are black-owned and operated.
Be it topics such as new Black Canadian entrepreneurs, Black Canadian business profiles, Black Canadian history, and profiles on Black Canadian artists, ByBlacks has been providing black Canada the access to a rich variety resources. These include listings of Black Canadian artists.
Black Artists’ Network In Dialogue (BAND)
This Group beautifully highlights cultural contributions of Black artists. New shows and events are regularly posted and make for a great opportunity to easily get out, or in COVID setting, logon and support.
The Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA)
Works to support and drive the media arts community in Canada. Representing over 100 independent film, video, audio, and new media production, distribution, and exhibition organizations in all parts of the country, the IMAA serves over 16,000independent media artists and cultural workers.
Nia Centre for the Arts (Toronto): Canada’s first Black Art Centre, committed to fostering and promoting Black identity and community in Toronto through art.
Black Film Festivals: Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and other major cities host annual festivals across Canada to showcase and promote Black cinema. Consider supporting these creators during the festivals by purchasing tickets for screenings and programs, sharing content, and watching their films.