If Black people aren’t some of the most fashionable people on the planet, I don’t know who are!
Growing up, my mother was always adamant that my brothers and I dressed our best to head out the door. As I liked to say, she’d dress up to get the paper from the front step. It took a while for that lesson to take hold in my mind, but as a man and now as a parent myself, it’s important to me to represent, making sure people know I came from a solid upbringing.
No matter what kind of Black person you are, I’d argue you see clothes as a direct reflection of yourself. Businesspeople. Gang members. Ballplayers and fashionistas. It’s the colours, the cut, the brand names and more—it’s completely woven into our culture with mentions in our music, movies, magazines and more… we are what we wear, and Black people rarely shy away from that!
It’s especially important for me as a Black Dad—we gain this reputation as slobs once we enter this phase of our lives, so focused on raising our kids that we don’t spend any time on ourselves. I’m looking to fight against that amidst a wardrobe of tailored suits, polished shoes and three-quarter length coats in the winter.
I first met Marcia at a joint 3SHAHs x Black Sebath event uptown, and from our conversation then I knew I’d met someone strong in her conviction, unafraid to live life through her own principles and paradigms. When I asked her to submit to Tales from the 2.9, I hoped I’d get something that’d stir a little something inside of my soul, and she didn’t disappoint!
Marcia’s submission for the Tales from the 2.9 is one of the most provocative yet, a stark reminder that all is not rosy with The Black Experience in Canada — there are very real issues and challenges we continue to face in our culture, and they shape who we are and how we see the world around us.
Make sure to check out today’s Tales and open your eyes to some knowledge of a world we’ve always known was there… we just didn’t want to admit it.
Creative Director, Branding and Marketing Strategist.
Marcia Reid, aka Black Sebath, is the Founder and Content Creator of BS7, a collective combining BS (interpreted as Black Sabbath, Black Friday, Black Sunday, or Black Seven) and the number 7, or Sebat in Amharic. She’s a multi-talented blogger and well-known (reggae) dub poet in Toronto. When she’s not on stage you might find her at a high-profile or grassroots event snapping photos, interviewing VIPs, spinning music, or just simply being socially fabulous. Styling, marketing, branding, and managing social media are a few other skills she has up her proverbial sleeves!
She created BS7 out of a need for content on the arts, fashion and music she saw thriving around her, featuring interviews with industry movers and shakers, event postings, news on what’s hot and tips on what to watch for in the arts, music and fashion!
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
Immediately I think of Freedom Fighters, Panafricanist, and Inventors – Nanny from the Maroons, Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, Sam Sharpe.
However, I had to teach myself not to think so much about slavery and the results of it because slavery focuses so much on what we became after some had sold out, after we were conquered by the enemies, during and after colonialism. Some of the stories that I focus on and come to mind are the ones that are not spoken often enough about. I think about ancient kingdoms of Kush.
2) The Black Experience we’re largely exposed to in the media is that of our southern neighbours and the struggles they’ve faced. What’s your experience been as a Black person in Canada, and what have you learned from it?
Oddly, I have experience more classicism than racism in Toronto.
North America is very closed circuit and elitist. Most of the really good opportunities are circulated among the wealthy and a small group who have managed to impress the right people or made friends with them. I quickly learned that my success would be found in creating content and projects then connecting with the right people in the industry and not the other way around. However, as an individual the struggles I have faced are the same as our southern neighbours but not in the same way or at the same intensity. I have never had a cop rough me up in any way that resembles the brutal force used by American police, but none the less I have been subject to treatment that was inappropriate and unfair because of the colour of my skin. In my opinion that’s how Canadians disguise their racism… through classism.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
Find the beauty. Be diverse. Expand your experiences. Create the opportunity. Let art captivate you, provoke you, move you, inspire you.
4) We all benefit from good mentors who guide us along the way to make sure we reach our potential in life. Who was your mentor to teach you from a cultural standpoint, and what’s the greatest lesson you learned from them?
Ryan Singh’s father, Ras Leon Saul influenced me greatly. I don’t think he meant to be a mentor but he appreciated my company, my zest for life, and my zeal for Rastafari. He allowed me to ride shotgun on many of his journalistic and production adventures and that encouraged me to be a creator.
If you were to ask me a list of places where you’d be likely to find me, an event centred around jewellery would be unlikely to be on the list — yet there I was. A wine and cheese event isn’t usually my thing, yet there I was. I never had any need to step foot in a tanning salon — yet there I was.
3SHAHS is a Canadian jewellery line created and designed by Shah Emily Noaman. Since its launch in 2000, 3SHAHS has been featured in magazines and fashion shows across the country and collected by fans worldwide. The “3” represents the trinity of Shah, her mother, and her sister, and in the Persian language, the word, ‘Shah’ translates to ‘King’. “Who said women can’t be kings? I believe in equality among everyone,” says Shah for those wondering about the name of her line.
So I had a good time starting my night here, and not only because I was part of the 20% male population in attendance! [/rimshot]
Seriously, though, it was fun. While plied by free wine, various chocolate-and-cannoli-cream treats courtesy of The Cookie Chicks and double-decker cheeseburger sliders from Holy Chuck Burgers (which I suppose put the “cheese” in “wine & cheese” — but as a burger-loving dude, you will hot hear me complain on technicalities!), 3SHAHS and Black Sebath made sure that our hunger was covered so we could look into sating other desires — namely, jewellery.
The event was brought to raise funds in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and with this in mind, Shah put a steep discount (20-80% steep!) on her handcrafted jewellery to entice people to buy! (Which I hope appeases my financially sensible wife, who happens to read my blog!)
There’s another 3SHAHS event going down on November 10th, and while I wont be able to make it (valid excuse: I’ll be on a boat!), you definitely want to get to know these lovely ladies and their associates! The details are at giftsthatgive.eventbrite.com for the curious! For some pics from the event, feel free to click on my Flickr gallery below!
After picking some pieces up for Sarah, despite chatting with the charming Nickesha and getting to know some other good people, I was getting anxious. Time was ticking and my Black ass was expected elsewhere.
But that’s another party for another story!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: