Tales from the 2.9 β€” The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age β€” Vol. 2 #2, Chattrisse Dolabaille, Writer, Performer & Producer

Some people I meet in the mostΒ interesting places.

Back in 2014, Tobago’s Division of Tourism and Transportation held the 60 Days in Paradise contest, seeking an “Island Connoisseur” to promote Tobago and all it offers to Canadians looking to travel. Though the competition wound up feeling like a bit of a sham, IΒ did end up making new connections from the ordeal, and one of them was Chattrisse!

The narrative she outlines below is one commonly felt by Black kids when they choose not to follow the archetypes that youths of colour seem to frequently adhere to. I too have had more than enough helpings of “not Black enough” in my life, and I hope her words reach out to anyone feeling a little lost!

That said, enjoy Chattrisse’s submission, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

–case p.


Tales from the 2.9 β€” The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age β€” Vol. 2 #2, Chattrisse Dolabaille, Writer, Performer & Producer β€” Chattrisse Photo 2

What does being a Black Canadian mean to you?

It means lots of code-switching! Being able to move comfortably into, out of, and through different environments and situations as seamlessly as possible. In my experience, it also means I have abundant reasons to be proud of my heritage and identity: as a Canadian, as the child of Caribbean immigrants, as a Torontonian, etc. I’ve always enjoyed disproving stereotypes, and over the years I’ve found that being a black Canadian gives me numerous opportunities to do that.

Tales from the 2.9 β€” The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age β€” Vol. 2 #1 β€” Dwayne Morgan, Poet, Speaker, Social Entrepreneur

It’s a new day, one and all!

With 2017’s Tales from the 2.9, we’ll build off of the successes of last year’s entries with a deeper look into what it means to be a Black Canadian and some thoughts on our culture… whatever you might perceive it to be!

I could’ve done like last year and come out swinging with a piece of my own to share my thoughts about all the issues attached to this project like I was hosting Saturday Night Live… but Tales isn’t aboutΒ me.Β Tales is about the fact that youΒ can’t easily define what BlackΒ means, and I hope to share a month’s worth of stories to show youΒ just that.

I’ll still be here in my intros and asides, but I rather let my contributors do the talking until the end of the month, and when we get there,Β then we’ll have someΒ words.

This year’s Tales kicks off with a piece from Dwayne Morgan, a poet, speaker and social entrepreneur from Toronto, ON who hits us with some poignant thoughts on being Black Canadian and how to embrace a culture that’s fragmented by its very definition.

See you tomorrow!

— case p.


Tales from the 2.9 Vol. 2 #1 β€” Dwayne Morgan, Poet, Speaker, Social Entrepreneur β€” Dwayne Morgan

What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

I always struggle with this question. There isn’t a Black Canadian identity, in the same way that it may exist in the United States. For that matter, I’m not even sure how I would describe or explain Canadian identity, so I see myself as a Black man, with all that comes with that from history, who happens to be born, and living within Canadian borders. Maybe my CanadiannessΒ is my deep connection to my Jamaican heritage and African roots.