Toronto History Museums launch new Awakenings virtual art projects for Black History Month


TORONTO, February 4, 2021 / CNW / – Today, Mr. Mayor John tory announced new online content for the Awakenings program at Toronto History Museums for Black History Month, which includes music, film discussions on the effects of racism on physical and mental health and a new artist mentorship program.

Mayor Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael thompson (Scarborough Center), Chairman of the City’s Economic and Community Development Committee, as well as Weyni Mengesha, artistic director of the Soulpepper Theater Company, Kardinal Offishall, acclaimed Canadian rapper, record producer and record director, Roger mooking, Food Network and Cooking Channel host, chef and recording artist, and John wiggins, Vice-President, Organizational Culture and Inclusion for the Toronto Raptors.

Launched in december 2020, Awakenings is a series of art projects by black, indigenous and colored artists, operating under the principles of anti-oppression, anti-colonialism and anti-racism. The series is part of the City’s efforts to combat anti-black racism.

In july 2020, the City has committed to more than $ 1.2 million in cultural and economic investments to fight anti-black racism. The Anti-Black Racism Unit and the City’s Economic Development and Culture Division have developed opportunities such as Awakenings to increase support for that of Toronto Black creative communities.

Today, Awakenings announces an exciting new music project, along with more recently released content and more behind-the-scenes talk on Awakenings Reflections. Details of the program are available at Additional Awakenings programming will be available throughout 2021.

Cooking concerts at the inn
Kitchen Concerts at the Inn is a musical series celebrating the life and honoring the history of Joshua Glover, a freedom seeker who escaped slavery in United States then lived and worked at Montgomery’s Inn. Kitchen Concerts at the Inn is co-hosted by the Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theater Weyni Mengesha, with the participation of DJ, academic and curator Mark V. Campbell.

Kitchen Concerts at the Inn Chapter I launches with a powerful lyric video for “Freedom Heights (A song for Joshua Glover) “(, which reflects Joshua Glover to fight for freedom. Interpreted by Black July, Susan carol, Savannah Ré, Emanuel and Kardinal Offishall, this song of revolution, empowerment and resistance brings a wake-up call in today’s times of social and racial injustice.

The message of “Freedom Heights (A song for Joshua Glover) “will be amplified with the Toronto Raptors as a new song that defends Joshua Glover story of inspiration, resilience and strength. Product of “Freedom Heights (A song for Joshua Glover) “on all digital platforms will be donated to the NIA Center for the Arts. The NIA Center is building from Canada first multidisciplinary professional center of black arts.

We were still there
world famous director Julien Christian Lutz pka Director X, 10 emerging mentors Toronto– black, indigenous and colored filmmakers to present short films that aim to disrupt, discover and display colonial narratives. Each of the filmmakers focus on one of Toronto’s 10 history museums to highlight untold stories. Five films were released in december 2020. Four new films will be released in February including: Lanes (filmed at the Mackenzie House); Fuyuzakura (researched and partly filmed at Gibson House); Mission Sankofa Awakening (filmed at Montgomery’s Inn); EMPIRE (Scarborough Museum) launches this month.

Behind the curtain

Awakenings Reflections: Behind-the-Scenes Discussions
Roger mooking collaborates with an award-winning producer Byron wong over a series of eye-opening interviews with mental health experts, social justice advocates, cultural leaders and culinary peers. New videos include: Feel Good with Dr. Kamala Uzzell and Julien Christian Lutz pka Director X, and Live from the Barbecue with pitmasters Rodney Scott and Matt horn.

Awakenings Artist Mentorship Program Open Call
In partnership with the Soulpepper Theater Company, the Awakenings Artist Mentorship Program is accepting applications. Mentorship will include five Soulpepper 2021 Academy artists and five artists who are to be chosen through this open call selection process. Artists will create site-specific works for each of Toronto’s 10 history museums. Soulpepper Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha, dub poet and decolonial scholar of bi.young anitafrika and choreographer Esie Mensah supervise 10 performance artists. Artists working in theater, performance, dance and interdisciplinary practices, with a strong interest in site-specific work, are invited to apply online at: . The application deadline is February 25 To 11:59 p.m.

Media can access the new Awakenings program promotional video at

High resolution images are available on Flickr:

A list of the City’s Black History Month events and how to access them is available at


“This year’s Black History Month celebrations, including new programming for Awakenings, are more important than ever as we recognize Black History Month and our commitment to fight against anti-black racism in the city. Awakenings is our way of building a more inclusive and equitable arts and culture sector, while giving artists the opportunity to showcase their talent. I encourage residents to participate in Awakening to learn more and better understand the history of our country and the role that black Canadians have played and continue to play there today. “
– mayor John tory

“Awakenings art projects enrich that of Toronto Celebrate Black History Month by shining the spotlight on forgotten, neglected and untold stories. Given that over 80 percent of the creators involved in these projects are from Black, Indigenous and Colored communities, the program offers a real remedy for the absence of such stories in that of Toronto historical narrative. “
– Deputy mayor Michael thompson (Scarborough Center), chairman of the city’s economic and community development committee

“We are in a place of revolutionary change, where culture can be created with a more equitable, honest and racially inclusive purpose. Music is one of the most important forms of storytelling, and Freedom Heights (A Song for Joshua Glover) could reach an audience that does not know the story of this man, and by extension our country. For them, it could really be a wake-up call. “
John wiggins, Vice President of Organizational Culture and Inclusion, Toronto Raptors

“I was compelled to contribute to Awakenings because the rich history of important black Canadians has not been consumed by most people in our country. Since the time I was studying Cultures of the Oppressed in York University so far, helping to uphold, understand and socialize our stories has been a passion of mine. “
– Renowned Canadian rapper, record producer, record director Kardinal Offishall

“Awakenings shines a light on the stories and history that belong to our city’s collective narrative. Soulpepper is proud to collaborate to help artists share these stories, and with the mentorship program, ensuring the next generation of artists play a key role in building our collective culture. “
– Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director, Soulpepper Theater

“Live from the Barbecue” and “Feel Good” are conversations that are part of the continuity of the songs that inspired them, from my catalog. I’ve enlisted collaborators I’ve met and worked with over the years to have candid discussions about our experiences and sanity, including Director X, the legendary award-winning Black American BBQ pitmasters. Rodney Scott and Matt horn, and Dr Kamala Uzzell Jones. In both plays, we explore how racism, lived experience and mental health intersect and propose coping mechanisms for management and healing.
Roger mooking, Food Network and Cooking Channel host, chef and recording artist

About Toronto History Museums
Toronto History Museums are a group of 10 museums owned and operated by the City of Toronto who bring that of Toronto life story for residents and visitors. They include Colborne Lodge, Fort York National Historic Site, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Market Gallery, Montgomery Inn, Scarborough Museum, Spadina Museum, Todmorden Mills, and Zion School. More information is available at, or follow Toronto History Museums on Twitter at, on Instagram at, on Facebook at and on YouTube at

Toronto is home to over 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city from Canada a leading economic engine and one of the most diverse and enjoyable cities in the world. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently ranks at the top of international rankings thanks to investments supported by its government, residents and its businesses. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

THE SOURCE City of Toronto

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