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.