Black Fridays 0001 — Every Black ‘You’re Not Black Enough’ is a White ‘You’re All The Same’.

Staying on my me ████, but hated on by both sides
I’m just a kid who blowing up with my father’s name
And every black “you’re not black enough”
Is a white “you’re all the same”

— Childish Gambino, “That Power”, Camp (2011)


I’m not the brother you want, but I’m the one you’ve got right now.

Fear of a Black Story

Sometimes I wonder if we even want something like Live from the 3.5.

It’s been a challenging month—February often is. Horrible weather. Journeys in and out of town. A death in the family and people looking to make things really difficult for me at the 9-5.

The way it is now, I might not be the right guy for Live.

Beyond Black History Month

The older I get and the longer I keep creating content, the more realistic I get about it all. Most of the people who used to just dabble in this found other things to do with their time, like pursuing careers or raising kids. And most of the creators around me today treat content as their full-time gig, choosing the potentially lucrative influencer life over office job drudgery or raising kids. The choices I’ve made—and still make—set me apart from many others, both in how unique my lifestyle is, and also the work I need to do to keep it all going.

Which is all a long way of saying Live from the 3.5 isn’t the kind of project you plan overnight. In fact, if I wanted to do it in 2020 without a hitch, I’d probably need to start planning it today, making room for all the stuff that’ll inevitably pop up over the year.

No—if I want to continue with this project, I’ll need to make some changes: do it in a way that’s reasonable for my life and doesn’t have me scrambling each year.

And so I have a little proposition—instead of trying to shove this all into a single month each year and working well beyond my capacity already strained at the seams, why don’t we just do away with Black History Month altogether and celebrate our community every day of the year?

Lord knows our country needs it.

Live from the 3.5, 2019 — Chapter 1: What IS Blackness, Exactly?

Am I Black enough?”

Blackness — More than just Melanin

Those who’ve followed my podcast Chatting with Casey from its very first episode know that this isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question.

If you considered the archetypal Black man you know from popular media—rocking an oversized hoodie; listening to rap music full-blast; and having a deep affection for curvaceous women, basketball and ballin’ outta control—not only would you fail to capture what my Blackness means to me, but you’d entirely miss the point of why we’re doing this in the first place.

Group of Blades at Queens Park | Source

Every Black person I know has had to come to terms with what Blackness means to them in their own way. There’s no unifying guide to being Black like what the Bible does for Christianity or the Quran for the Muslim faith. We use it as an identifier for our culture, but Black literature could mean books from the Congo to St. Vincent and back. It’s an oft-debated and loosely defined term, but we all understand what we mean when we say it.

Brown Girl Begins — Telling Stories of Colour Sans Stereotypes

This is more than just a movie review.

CaribbeanTales couldn’t have known I was in the middle of deeply searching for a great connection to my roots when they reached out to collaborate. It’s a dope time for content creators who look like us with Jordan Peele’s 2017 horror smash Get Out taking home an Oscar and 2018’s Black Panther smashing every record the world can toss at it, but we can still do more.

Black culture has long challenged anyone who dares try to keep it in a box. Most of what the world calls “Black culture” is culture reshaped and repackaged for public consumption. Hip-hop. Television. Fashion. It all reached a tipping point where Black culture met bold couture, and suddenly we found ourselves without identifiers accurately representing us anymore.

Or at least—that’s the narrative some would have us believe.

Live from the 3.5 — February’s Over, But We’re STILL BLACK.

When you’re a one-man operation trying to put out a series for Black History Month, there are some things you might not want to do with your February, like:

  1. Hit up a Dad Summit in New Orleans to make dozens of new friends and better understand all the possible ways to be a great Dad,
  2. Take a trip out to Kelowna, BC to keynote a parenting conference and change others’ thinking on what fatherhood means in 2018, and
  3. Think it’s a good idea to take on such an ambitious creative project when it’s the financial year-end at your 9-5… and you’re in charge of keeping the numbers balanced.

But for those of you keeping score at home, that was my situation exactly this February, and though I got a bit of content out in its last few days, there was still so much I could do to move the needle.

Because after all—we’d danced this dance before. The dance we danced every February, schedules packed with dinners, discussions and dialogues as we revel in the attention everyone’s giving us… but what then? What happens when Black History Month’s over and we’re back to our regular lives, the Black Canadian narrative nothing more than a side note to everything else going on? I’m sorry, but as a Black Canadian myself, I’m still Black full-time well after February ends. I’ll celebrate other aspects of who I am as the year goes on from fatherhood to masculinity and back… but what says I should hold back from celebrating my Blackness just because it’s not the month where everyone else is doing it too?

And that’s why I’m thinking… maybe it’s time I tell some Black Canadian stories beyond the work I do each February.

The Chocolate Babies in: It’s Bedtime Now | Beleaf in Fatherhood and the Case for Positive Black Representation

So a lot happened at the Dad 2.0 Summit. I made new friends. Finally met up with old ones. And on top of that, I got to meet men I idolised without even realising I was doing it, like Beleaf Melanin and his beautiful family, half of which were there with him at the summit itself!

We exchanged info and became Facebook friends… and if it wasn’t for that, I’m not sure I would’ve been there for what came next.

See, Beleaf Melanin, the rapper-turned-father-turned-prolific creator behind Beleaf in Fatherhood’s video content… he published a book. And I don’t mean an ebook or some YouTuber tell-all at a publisher’s request… he self-published an honest-to-goodness hardcover children’s book: The Chocolate Babies in: It’s Bedtime Now, featuring himself and his family as the characters within.