Black History And The Things We Don’t Know


I was born in Toronto and lived there until I was 9. I went to Daycare on Danforth Avenue and was lucky enough to grow up amongst great mutli-cultrual diversity. I had friends who were Black, White, Greek, Italian, Pilipino and so on. I was lucky enough to grow up liking people based on how they treated me as a person and not based on the colour of their skin or what language they spoke. I was also lucky enough to grow up being able to openly ask questions about the differences in our cultures and to experience new things because of it.

That’s not to say I didn’t do wrong. It was the 70’s and I was a kid, a white one. I remember doing the pick who’s turn it is by singing the rhyme “Eeney Meeny Miney Moe. Catch a _______ by the toe. Etc.” One of the wrongs I did was use a completely inappropriate word on that line. That is until one of my friends (Naderia) told me that it was a bad word. And explained why. I must have been 7 or 8 at the time, which would have made it 1978/79 and I never used that word again. From then on I sang the rhyme with the word tiger on that line.

Recently a friend posted an article about what we don’t know about Black History in Canada. How we like to think of ourselves as saviours and above the ugliness of that sort of racism. The article points out that that wasn’t always the case. Here is a link to that article.

Last week I went to a play at Neptune Theatre that is based on this same area but a little bit more on the positive side.

The play is called Oil and Water and is based on the true story of Lanier Phillips an African American man in the US Navy who finds himself overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in St. Lawrence Newfoundland after the sinking of USS Truxton in 1942. Lanier is the first Black man the people of St Lawrence have ever seen and yet they treat him with the same compassion and dignity as the rest of the sailors. This is a kindness that Lanier has never experienced before and it is one he shares with his daughter as she struggles with the newness of attending a white school and the racism that goes with that in 1974.

The story is told in bits and pieces from different characters point of view. It has the underlining story of what the miners in St. Lawrence are struggling with as well but the gist of the story is Lanier’s and his daughter Vonzia. How they have to deal with the everyday ugliness forced on them by people they don’t even know. Not whether or not they should fight back or fight for what is right but how they should fight this battle without violence.

I was moved to tears by both the ugly truths and beautiful realities portrayed in this version of a story I had not heard before. The actors and actresses did such a magnificent job bringing these characters to life that I am still thinking about them 4 days after witnessing their amazing performances.

Bravo to Neptune for bringing this story to us and educating us on this (for me and many others) unknown event in our countries history. It is a nice reminder that for all our mistakes and ongoing atrocities towards our fellow humans there may be hope for us all yet. We can do better. We can change and make those differences when we except each other for who and what we are.


For Love of Dystopian Fiction

I am a big fan of books like Knife of Never Letting Go, Divergent, Delirium, Unwind, Starters, and Skylark. These books are all ‘epic quest to fight the evil of the world in order for the good to survive’ type books and the fighters are all just average everyday people.
Not people trained to be fighters just everyday people.

Recently I have been reading a blog called A Love Song to the Apocoalypse on WordPress.
Find it here: A Love Song For The Apocalyps

In the interest of full disclosure the author of this blog is a former co-worker of mine and life long best friend which is why I took so long to devote an EnterTAYned page to it. I had to be sure that I could fully 100% stand behind all the good things I have to say about it. I had to be sure that what I was saying is the same kind of things I would say if I didn’t know the author. I believe I can.

AndreaHitsTheRoad is writing a story that I would choose for my Teen/Paranormal Book Club to read if there was an actual book for them to read. In my opinion it stands up to many of the above mentioned titles that we have read for book club. The one exception to those titles being that the heroine is nota teenager but a married woman.

The writing is forceful and compels you to keep reading. I missed two postings recently and couldn’t wait to devour them at the first opportunity. The writing is raw and honest. Yes there are typos and what not, a he that should have been a she or a moment when two words are in the incorrect order, but remember this is not a professional author. This is a story coming from a woman that just HAS to get it out at the insistence of the characters in her head and is trying to do so at 5:00am before heading to work.

A Love Song for the Apocalypse is the story of a young married couple trying to survive the start of the end of the world as they know it. For over a year they stay contained in their small house struggling to survive and maintain as the world around them goes crazy. The story really begins once the couple becomes separated which they vowed would never happen. This story is set in the Canadian West with ties to the East and the country it is set in is as much a character as any of the others.

Speaking of the characters…..there is a full and varied list of them to entertain everyone, a heady mixture of good and bad to root for or hiss at and a good mixture of ages, personalities and worldliness. People you will want to hang out with for an afternoon or smack or just walk away from. A more diverse cast list I have yet to see.

This story truly has something for everyone. There is mystery, romance, action, survival, deep family roots, death and despair and on and on and on. I can not begin to describe the complexities without giving away the story.

I challenge you to read it for yourself and not come away wanting more.

So far, I give this ongoing story 4 out of 5 Reads. Who knows maybe it will become a book club challenge, they all have computers and what not to read off.

Bloody Genius Marketing

Say what you want about Justin Bieber it isn’t going to change my mind. I am not his core demographic and I am not in love with him but I do really enjoy his music. Most of it anyway. It makes me feel young again. Despite what some may believe, he is a very talented as a musician. I love that he employs so many different styles of music in his songs.

But what struck me as a bit of bloody marvelous marketing is the ad for his perfume called Girlfriend that is being shown every other minute on MuchMusic. If I was 16 this commercial would have me begging to find this in my Christmas stocking.

This version is longer than the one I’ve seen but either one is genius. For the millions of teenage girls out there that want to be his girlfriend and can picture themselves doing all these things with him this commercial must be a little slice of Heaven.  As I said before, if I was younger I’d be asking for the perfume myself! These people know their core market and play to them unabashedly. And let’s face it, most girls that age (and older) are more than willing to buy what they are selling. Everyone wants to feel special, valued and loved. And he makes them feel exactly that!

To Justin and the amazing team he seems to have surrounded himself with I say keep up the good work and good luck. This Canadian Gal is proud to claim you as a fellow countryman.

I leave you with this, I hope the brains behind this campaign get a huge bonus from all the sales they’ve generated.


The Return of Great Canadian Music

In the 80’s there were numerous well known Canadian rock and pop bands. Too many to name here, ok not really, I just don’t feel like doing it.

While watching MuchMusic tonight I realized it’s happening again. Excluding Justin Bieber , which I’m only doing because he’s a phenomenon, in a different league than these other acts. Whether or not he’s good isn’t the point here.

There is a plethora of great talent out there that we should be supporting.

The first that comes to mind in Jesse LaBelle. If you haven’t heard of him I’m not surprised but believe me you will. For awhile he was sort of behind the scenes as a song writer. His second album comes out in August and I love his new single. Sadly no matter how hard I try I can not get the video embedded but follow the link, it’s worth it! Someone tell Jesse to get himself a Vevo channel!

Heartbreak Coverup featuring Alyssa Reid

My favourite song is Perfect Accident off his first album.

Another of the Great Canadian Groups is Marianas Trench. If you haven’t heard of them by now I don’t know why. Not only is their music great but their videos are done incredibly well. Full of pop culture moments that make them really fun to watch!

Marianas Trench has a new video for Desperate Measures

but one of my faves is Celbrity Status

The third band on the list is not one that I listen to a lot.  I have listed them here because they are a big selling act.   Hedley is a band with many fans and even though I am not typically one of them I do really enjoy their song Invincible

Finally, I present to you Shawn Hook, a performer I’ve only recently discovered, again thanks to MuchMusic.

and for everyone who remembers We’re Not Going To Take It or You Gotta Fight For your Right (To Party) listen to Shawn’s song Middle Finger.

I’ve shared some of great Canadian Talent faves with you now it’s your turn to share some with me. Let me knowwhich acts you think I should check out next.

Ryan says it Best

In my 20’s I started watching a show called Breaker High. It was a fun lighthearted show that made me laugh and right from the start one of the characters garned all my attention. I use to watch episodes just waiting for him to appear and make me laugh.

After the show ended I was excited to discover him in another show called Young Hercules. While I liked this show it was not as much fun as Breaker High and I didn’t really watch it regularly but I knew that this young actor was one to watch.

Today that young actor has indeed become a household name.  A name you might recognize…..  Ryan Gosling.  With great care he has chosen roles that let him exercise his acting skills. A few that have had mass appeal and several indie type roles have allowed  him to form a career not just be a star.  And might I just mention he is another incredible Canadian export.

Today a friend reminded me about a fun site that features photos of Ryan with quotes that reference different pop culture Teen books.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Photo &amp; text: kdhart<br />Book reference: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Um, awesome submission much? Thanks 143books!<br />Book reference: The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

The last picture makes reference to one of my favourite Trilogies (Chaos Walking)  and makes me smile every time.

What’s your favourite Ryan Reads?

Wearable Wit

I am in no way a  fashionista. I like what I like and while sometimes that means dressy, usually it means comfortable like jeans and a tshirt.

The fashion items I most enjoy  are both fun and entertaining. For example my favourite jewellery  (invented right here in Dartmouth Nova Scotia) is Kameleon.   A jewellery line that invites you to buy a starter piece,  a necklace for instance and different jewel pops to fill it.  Believe me when I tell you, you will want more, it’s highly addictive.  So many combinations of pieces and pops for every mood and outfit.  They have both a great facebook page and a fun website where you can play games and win prizes.

Another Canadian fashion piece that is great for expressing  myself is Cows.  Cows is known for their ice cream (anyone who knows me will tell you that ice cream could be listed on the cast of characters) but they also have become famous for their tshirt  designs that portray cows in or as pop culture moments.

Pursuing their website or better yet visiting a store is almost guaranteed to pull a chuckle or two from you.

Two great innovative Canadian companies that I am proud to say I wear! What about you? What’s your best apparel piece for expressing who you are?


Northern Girl and Damn Proud Of It

For years I’ve wondered why we here in  Canada didn’t have as much Patriotic paraphanelia as the US.  Their country singers croon about it, the stores are full of  USA apparel and of course it’s spouted on every tv show you see.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that  I just wondered why we in Canada, also very patriotic and proud, weren’t afforded the same chance to express it.

A  few years ago I started to see dribs and drabs of Canadian apparel in stores then came the Vancouver Winter Olympics  and FINALLY  we got our patriotism on!  The theme song for the Olympics was I Believe sung by Nikki Yanofsky.

It seemed to rouse something in our national physche.

Today while listening to Country FX 101.9 I heard Canadian Girl  by Dean Brody

Now despite the fact that I do not watch hockey, shocking  to some I know that a Canadian doesn’t watch hockey but take a deep breath and relax,  the world is still spinning.  I consider myself to be a very proud Canadian Girl.  I am even more proud that we now  have  so many ways to express it.

From Terri Clark’s Northern Girl

to Classified’s Oh…. Canada

we can sing it loud and proud.

Now if we could stop selling off some of our greatest assets to the States (se Zellers and Molson just to name two) we could still be ranting I Am Canadian!