Canadian rapper Duane (D.O.) Gibson, an Ontario based motivational speaker and certified artist will be celebrating Black History Month by embarking on the Stay Driven, Black Canadian 36-date school tour. Each show is a one-hour assembly that combines speaking with live performances to engage the audience while delivering a solid message.
Stay Driven, the Black Canadian presentation specializes in Black Canadian History. D.O. talks about Viola Desmond who stood up for her rights by sitting down at a segregated movie theatre in Nova Scotia. Desmonds’ likeness is now featured on the Canadian ten-dollar bill. He talks about freedom fighter Josiah Henson, a slave that travelled the Underground Railroad for freedom in Canada, became a land owner, and helped other free and empower other blacks. The presentation is interactive, and he gets the students rapping along to a negro spiritual. Finally, he calls upon volunteers to play a game of “name that tune” to highlight black music contributors.
Check out my Q&A with Duane below:
What are your goals for the Black Canada school tour?
I really want kids to learn more about Black Canadian history. Too often schools focus on the same people – Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. It’s great that people are starting to learn about Viola Desmond, but I’m still finding that only some people know about her. We have a lot of history in this country, and I’m glad that I get to share it with the youth.
How can we learn more and become better as a society?
I think that one of the greatest lessons of Black History is that when you are faced with adversities you have an opportunity to respond instead of react. I think that is a universal message. When you are growing up sometimes kids say mean things, you might want to react and fight back with your words or even with your fists. When you hear about stories of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Viola Desmond and Jackie Robinson you realize that the best way to stand up is not to lose your cool.
Do you see this tour expanding outside of Ontario?
I’m excited for an upcoming three-work tour in April in B.C. I’ve had the opportunity to tour there the last few years and its been great seeing the Island, Vancouver, and all the way up to Kamloops and Prince George so this Spring its going to be fun to go back.
What’s next for you for the Spring and Summer?
After my spring tour in B.C. I will be heading to the Netherlands for a tour and then out to France. So it’s going to be a busy few months. The summer is also when we do our music conference Northern Power Summit. This will be the fourth year and it’s been great to put on a premiere urban music conference in Toronto.
For more on Duane and his tour, click here.
52 WORDS FOR LOVE was released on iTunes on February 14th.
The movie was filmed in Toronto, ON and written/ directed by two Canadians, Andrea Moodie (Emmy-nominated, Canadian Screen Award- winning Property Brothers) and James Blokland (Genie Award-nominated, Nurse. Fighter. Boy). The film stars many talents including Stacey Iseman, Taeo Soleil Levine and Philip Lortie and follows the story of Alice (Stacy Iseman)as she launches her website posting one word for love each week for a year. 52 WORDS FOR LOVE offers a humorous, moving meditation focusing on many different types of love across various relationships.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity t o chat with Taeo Soleil Levine regarding love and the film. Check it out below:
How did the opportunity to be a part of this come about?
Andrea Moodie is my godmother so I was one of the first people asked to be in the film.
What did you learn about yourself and love while making this?
I learned that love can mean many different things and that it's not always pretty like in the movies. But it's all part of it so we must endure to get to the good stuff:)
Why should people watch this?
People should watch this because they are sure to relate to someone in the film. Warning- you will likely cry at least once!
Be sure to give this amazing film a watch ASAP!
A traveller as much as an artist, Kim Churchill has lived on the road for years, but it was no longer enough just to pass through; for Kim it was time to show that world in his songs.
Check out my Q&A with him regarding his new single and tour below:
Q: Describe the process of recording “After The Sun”.
A: It started in a writing session with a writer by the name of Martin Gallop in his Berlin studio, alongside a brilliant producer who goes by the name of Vincent Kottkamp. I had an odd moment sitting in the shade back in Australia earlier that year where over time, the sun had begun to set and had reached me in my shady spot and I was bathed in sunlight. It struck how fantastic it was that this had happened due to the effortless turning of the entire world! I wanted to pen a song about the way nature moves effortlessly and my love of surrendering to and enjoying the effortless state of constant change.
Q: What are your hopes for the Canadian tour?
A: To see all my friends, play some music music in some fantastic locations and get back to a bunch of the festivals I have played and loved over the years.
Q: How do you define success in music?
A: With an internal focus of evaluation. To sit back, on occasion, and understand that no matter what anyone thinks of something I have created, I am personally pleased with the end result. Beyond that, enough money to get by and at least one set of ears to benefit in some way from what I create.
Q: What advice do you have for both aspiring travellers and artists?
A: Don’t stop when things get challenging. Challenges always pass and are immersive for growth. If things are though it’s because you are growing beyond what you currently are. However, if you stop or give up, you interfere with this process and hold yourself back. Don’t stop. Just don’t stop.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
A: I honestly don’t know. I try to maintain a mind frame of openness towards the infinite possibilities of the future rather than define my future with visions and expectations. I’m curious and open to what the next few years will bring, but I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’ll be releasing around 27 new songs across 4 EP’s, recorded in 4 different parts of the world and with any luck I’ll have people here and there that are interested in hearing me play them all live, as I love to perform. That would be nice ;)
I seriously can't get over how incredible this year has been so far.
I've been attending Leafs games, exciting career opportunities continue to present themselves, working hard to maintain my health and getting started with some charity work. Speaking of which, I'm very excited to announce that I am partnering up with BetterBracelets!
As I've previously shared, 2018 was a disaster when it came to dealing with my anxiety and depression. I'm extremely grateful for my support system and I don't want anyone to ever feel how I felt when I was at my lowest. BetterBracelets serves as a platform for people to share their personal stories relating to mental illness in a comfortable and impactful way. In an effort to continue to improve mental health outcomes, $2.50 of each BetterBracelet sold goes towards mental health initiatives and institutions dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness.
Wear the bracelet colour that coincides with the mental illness you or someone you know has struggled with. If you are wearing the bracelet for yourself, you are encouraged to share your story on a social media platform with the hashtag, #mystory. If you are wearing the bracelet because someone you know has struggled with mental illness, you are encouraged to use the hashtag, #ourstory. The simple act of wearing a bracelet allows you to become actively involved in the conversation related to mental health and wellbeing.
I am looking forward to working with the founder, DJ, and hopefully be able to help at least one person see that there's light at the end of the tunnel. For more info, click here.