Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — #6: Marcel Dee, Photographer, Marcel Dee Photography

Some years back, a number of friends and I connected over Twitter, forming a group that loved good food, fun times, and cracking wise as often as possible. Marcel Dee is part of that group — Team Trolling — and has been many things over the years: a blogger, a photographer, even a brand ambassador at times!

He shares his views on what it means to be a Black man in his Tales from the 2.9 submission below! Check it out!

Hello, my name is Marcel Dee. I’m a Toronto-based photographer. I’m an easy-going guy, love to have a good time, love to laugh, love to make people laugh or bring a smile on their face. I try to make one person happy everyday.  I’m a lover of Tech and I have no problem geeking out.

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1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?

Anytime I think about Black History Month, I tend to think about why schools don’t teach about Canadian Black History. I can’t believe that all this time, everyone was having tea meetings or skipping rope. Why isn’t Canadian Black History taught here or mentioned? We only learn about the major stories, from Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Mandela or slaves escaping to the North.

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?

It was sad to see what was going on in America last year. It only proves that the problem never went away. Years of people’s work went down the drain. Here in Canada I have two experiences. It’s either people want to hangout with me, because “Black” is the new cool, or badass; or people are afraid. I can’t simply approach a person and ask them a question or give them a greeting, without seeing them have a little fear in their eyes. I’m a tall person, it can be scary being approached by a big guy. But if you got other non-Black males my size and had them do the same thing you’d see the difference. It would be nice just to walk out and not worry whether people are stereotyping me.

3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?

To be honest, I just want people to be happy. I try everyday to bring a smile or laugh to someone. I never like to see someone upset or crying. I love the feeling of thinking back on a memory and remembering a good time. I just want to leave that feeling with the world.

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?

To be honest, my Dad was. I’m going to be real for a moment here – most fathers you hear not being there for their child are Black. It’s either it’s publicised the most on TV or you all know that one single mother. My parents separated when I was young, it happens. But instead of my Dad taking off or not caring for us, he stuck around, because he knows what impact a father has on their child. He always didn’t want to divorce my Mom, because his benefits were better and it would help her out. To me my Dad broke the stereotype. Not only that, he’s always giving me life lessons, even though I don’t want them from time to time. He taught me how to be a man and how to stand out from the stereotype.

5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?

Support each other. We don’t support each other enough. We’re always fighting against each other or shooting each other. Stop with the gimmick, with this stereotypical gangster we tend to portray ourselves. If you want the world to take us serious, then act serious in a civil way. Pull up your pants as well, because you’re looking like clowns with your boxers showing.

Tales from the 2.9 is an ongoing series on CaseyPalmer.com showcasing Black Canadian content creators and the experiences they’ve had growing up Black in Canada!

The Month That Was… November 22nd – December 26th, 2015.

It’s been the hottest minute since I put out a Week That Was, so much so that I needed to roll ’em up into a month’s worth of material to catch up on the stories! A bit of a fail, I admit, but when you’re simultaneously preparing for Christmas, scribing a lively giveaway series, and trying to keep the rest of your life in order, things are gonna fall between the cracks. But with Christmas over and done with and the new year just around the corner, I’m jonesing to start 2016 with a clean slate, taking everything I learned this year to push the blog in exciting directions!

But enough jabbering about the future when you’re here for the past — let’s take a look at my last five weeks and all the antics that took up my time!

Any blogger who writes a post like this asking “Where do I start?” obviously doesn’t store enough of their moments on Google Photos. Scrolling through a quick search of 11/21/2015-12/26/2015 gave me everything I needed, and jeez was it a lot!

Though I don’t quite know how I made it this far through 2015 with my sanity intact, November was closing itself off solidly with events like Read for the Cure courtesy of TELUS (where we sat in the closest possible seats to the authors thanks to their status as Platinum Plus Sponsors and Ian Brown gleefully called my wife a “little shit”*), and emceeing DECA’s Festival of Lights, an annual event in my ‘hood to help ring in the holiday season by lighting the trees on the edge of East Lynn Park. I made a new friend — a potential Dad blogger who was visiting town, and reassured me there’re others out there looking to parent how I parent through an enlightening conversation! I won a FitBit Flex and promptly gave it to a coworker, knowing I couldn’t make as solid use of it as some of my gym-going colleagues could; I succumbed to the hype and tried Hot Star Large Fried Chicken to discover it was little more than that — a bit of pounded white meat covered with tons of breading and even more hoopla; and we continued tradition, getting Little Man a snowboarding Elmo to hang on the tree amongst the various Christmas accessories we’d ordered in to jazz up Casa de Palmer!

November was busy, without a doubt, but there’s no way I was ready for what’d come next.

The Week That Was… October 11th-17th, 2015

Last Updated: October 14, 2020.

I struggled a lot with this week’s The Week That Was, trying to get in the right headspace to write on everything that happened. These seven days weren’t extraordinarily good nor bad — with how hectic my life usually is, you could even call them tame. I burned through page after page trying to get it right, but I couldn’t get it flowing as I wanted — a story worth reading for an audience that expects as much of me as I do of myself wasn’t within grasp, no matter how much I hustled.

But just because something’s hard doesn’t mean you don’t do it — sometimes you need to find another approach to getting your story across!

I mean, seriously — when some of your mornings start like this, would you want to write about it???

#100HappyDays — Five Days in the Life of Casey Palmer, Father Blogger

When Sarah got me doing the #100HappyDays, I thought it’d be a good exercise to teach me how to write shorter posts, giving my readers a break from the lengthy novellas I usually write.  A daily picture with a short description — not that hard, right? Except that all too soon, I’d lapse back to my old habits, and contextualized them with lengthy stories instead of posting pictures that simply spoke for themselves (a thousand words and all)!

It worked well enough until I just didn’t have the energy to keep it up.

With enough real-time stuff to keep me busy (visiting my parents in Mississauga, celebrating a friend’s birthday and having company over); side projects to work on (archiving old drawings at 1200 dpi so I can resurrect my Fish ‘n’ Chimps webcomic, marathoning through Seinfeld and playing this stupid game); and of course, the stuff that pays the bills and keeps my family flourishing (spending time with Sarah and our son, writing for The Hooray Collective, PTPA and other clients, and — of course — the 9-5), the weekend got away from me, the blog posts I planned to write fleeting with it.

But stumbling blocks only last forever if you let them win, and my blog posts won’t write themselves!

Welcome back, Mr. Palmer — it’s time to get your blog on!