James Baldwin and Me

I spent #BlackOutTuesday reading the texts of author James Baldwin from the film I am not your Negro.

I have been reflecting how my “slave rebellion” (using Baldwin’s words) will manifest. But his speech in 1974 at Berkeley — warning n***** warheads — had provided me with some direction.

I will no longer be an apologist.

Time to continue work on Black History but add history from within my own life time.


Likely you have seen those Masterclass (TM) ads on YouTube. Well I have gone to YouTube and have started to use videos of great entertainers – Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, Pearl Bailey – to create a Masterclass series for me to follow.

Here is a video of an interview of Eartha Kitt. I must admit that I had a feeling of “Been there, done that” when she talks about her Paris debut.

Black History in Scotland ep 1

This was a “you’re kidding me moment”. I knew that Black people lived in Scotland in Roman times but I knew nothing else. Fascinating stuff! I will post the other episodes in future.

Episode 1, The Invisible Man
Episode 1 of 7 Billy Kay explores Scotland’s contact with Africa and people of African origin from Roman times to the modern day. Revised repeat of the ground-breaking 6 part series from 2003. BBC Radio Scotland.

Thinking ahead

The only thing I am really craving while in self-isolation is a chocolate chip cookie.

But after two days of goofing off online (there was hard work before that, honestly!) , it is time to think ahead.

I have had friends offering me ideas of what I could do to increase my income. In truth, I have many things on the go but I could use help with the following:

Contact information for Parents Groups and Heads of History/Social Studies in Toronto schools. I mean to start pitching The Many Black Histories program (including my new Black Inventors program for STEAM) the minute schools reopen.

A publisher for my upcoming memoir – Spare me: as if being a Black woman wasn’t enough. The publisher needs to be race and queer centered but big enough to provide tour support (in conjunction with arts funding… hey, I can hope)

Spaces and clients for my “Come dancing” classes. I have body positive classes as well as corporate appropriate classes for leadership and management. I’m good for weddings, festivals and conferences as of the fall or whenever the veil clears.

Coronavirus-19 is not stopping me

The pandemic, and the state of emergency in Ontario,   has shut every venue I work for down – from schools to clubs to conferences. At the moment I am living on my savings and can hold until August.

But there is much to do.

I am creating a history presentation for schools on Black Scientists and Inventors. I am working on an heritage grant to present Black history in Toronto. And, performer that I am, I am looking to do singing and storytelling gigs in the fall/winter.

So while I am staying home, I am hard at work!

Mystery? How so?

So the AGO got a new painting. .

“This painting of a mystery woman challenges what we think we know about european art”.

Spare me.

This not rocket science. You would think AGO had never seen a picture of a Black woman before 1900. It has two already – I wrote an essay on one of them back in the 90s.

At any rate, any historical re-enactor can look at this painting and tell you when and where and why. Which is why I have turned to my costuming friends and said, “What gives?”

For the article, in question, see:

Aside – is it me would this young woman remind Doctor Who fans of someone?

From The girl in the fireplace

French Film History and Black actors

This was a random find but I felt the need to post it here (hopefully you will be able to open the NYT webpage:


I am not totally keen on the tone of the article, many because it ignores (or is ignorant of) the number of Black slaves in Europe pre British emancipation.


Zou Zou, 1934. with Josephine Baker in starring role.

New York Times Archives, August 5, 1992, Section C, Page 13

The Office is open

And so it is that I find myself working in full throttle. I have a music rehearsal in an hour as my double bassist and I are due to perform at a few venues in the upcoming weeks. More to follow as I await confirmations.

I am taking bookings for Black History Month, of course, but don’t forget that International Women’s Day is coming up in March.

In the meantime, my research continues. To further my work I am developing some “wish lists” of books I could use in my library. Contributions to that will be greatly appreciated so feel free to contact me on that front.

Stay tuned!