Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — #29: Samantha Kemp-Jackson, Writer, Multiple Mayhem Mamma

After everything we’ve seen through February with the Tales from the 2.9, I wanted to end on a great note with someone who’s seen a community grow from its beginning, and ’round these parts of the nation, that goes back to ’60s/’70s Toronto where the first Caribbean immigrants came in search of better lives for the generations to follow—exactly what my parents and grandparents did to give my brothers and I the lives we have today! And who better to illustrate this than Samantha Kemp-Jackson, who grew up and raised kids of her own through those decades of change?

Sam’s submission for Tales says it as it is—that Black Canadians often fail to know their own history, our stories often overshadows by the Black American narrative ever-present in our collective consciousness. That we have a lot of preconceptions to work past if we want to grow as a society. That through sharing our collective stories, we understand one another far better than we might should we continue keeping it all to our own individual circles.

Enjoy Sam’s piece to close off an excellent month, and keep your eyes peeled for a Black History Month wrap-up piece coming soon!


Samantha Kemp-Jackson is a successful parenting writer, blogger, public speaker and frequent media spokesperson. She regularly discusses the various triumphs and trials of parenting via her blog, Multiple Mayhem Mamma as well as on various media outlets including The Huffington Post, CTV Canada AM and CBC Radio. Since starting her blog in 2011, she’s become a much-sought-out media commentator and parenting expert, having appeared on and given interviews to CBC Marketplace (February 2015), Reuters, Canadian Press, CTV News, Global News, Maclean’s, Newstalk 1010,  Entertainment Tonight, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post and many more.

For over a year, Sam was the resident Parenting Columnist on CBC Radio One’s “Fresh Air” weekend program, dispensing parenting advice and insight on a regular basis. Having children of the most diverse age range of anyone she knows, her “claim to fame” is that she’s a rare breed of folk who has the dubious distinction of having raised children in four decades: the ‘80’s, ‘90’s, ‘00’s and the ‘10’s.

Most recently, Sam’s unique story was profiled in the November 2015 edition of Toronto Life (full story here), as well as on Canada AM (clip here), where she has regularly appeared as part of the program’s “Parenting Panel.”  For a more detailed overview of her broadcast and print media interviews, please visit her media page, here.

In Sam’s professional life, she’s a strategic, senior-level communicator, writer and media relations expert with 25 years of professional experience working with both the public and private sectors. Currently, she provides senior-level Writing, Communications Strategy and Digital Support via her independent consultancy,Triple M Communications. She’s also an undercover tech geek (having worked in Technology PR for most of her communications career) and a lover of Social Media. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google+.


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

Growing up in Canada, particularly in the ’70’s and ’80’s, a lot of the Black history that was taught was written from an American perspective. While the experiences of our Black neighbours south of the border were and are compelling, there were very little “homegrown” stories to which I could relate. As the first generation of children born to Jamaican parents who went through the very typical West Indies-to-the United Kingdom-to-Canada route, I would have loved to have heard more stories and experiences of other Black Caribbean Canadians like me.

At elementary school, we learned about American slavery with a slight tip of the hat to our Canadian forebearers who also suffered incredible hardship. We knew that they existed but didn’t know enough about them. I do hope that the curriculum at school has changed since then. I know all about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad but would have liked to learn more about the men, women and children on the Canadian end who made lives for themselves in spite of their incredibly difficult circumstances.

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?

Absolutely, as I noted in the first question, our experience here is heavily influenced by the experiences of our southern neighbours. While it would be great to think that we’re insulated from many of the injustices that have resulted in the “Black Lives Matter” movement, unfortunately we’re not. In Canada, we still have systemic racism and have a ways to go before we can say that we’re completely free of discrimination and prejudicial treatment against people of colour. Perhaps we’re more polite about it and it’s definitely not as overt as in the States, but it does exist, sadly.

In terms of experiences, there are so many to choose from as is likely the case with most Black people who have grown up as minorities in their country of residence. Hmm…

I guess the preconceptions and stereotypes that people have about me before they even meet me, or when they just meet me, without even having spoken to me. And Casey – you say that “Casey Palmer” invokes visions of a blonde woman, and that people are surprised when they meet you? I completely understand, as “Samantha Kemp-Jackson” apparently doesn’t match who I am either, and I’ve had many surprised looks in the pre-Google days, when I walked into a job interview, a meeting or event. In a way, I’m now thankful that people know what they’re getting when they meet me as Googling someone before you meet them is the way things are normally done in this digital age, aren’t they?

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

When I started blogging, I didn’t do so to be known as a “Black Blogger” or to blog about race-related issues. Blogging was really just a way for me to get my thoughts out on what I was experiencing during my third round of parenting (with twins, no less!). Since that time, I’ve had more digital presence and my hope is that people can read my blog and get advice, tips, insight and opinion, but also appreciate the diversity that exists in the blogosphere. We’re here and we’ve got something to say, and a range of voices is always a good thing!

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?

Am I allowed to say my parents? Because honestly, the person that I am today is because of them. Despite my mistakes, missteps and failures, they always were there for me and always taught me to be strong, be proud of who I was, and to believe that I could do anything I wanted to do. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Love you!

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

So glad you’re out there and I look forward to hearing more of your voices, digitally or otherwise!


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!

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — #22: Mike Armstrong, Blogger, Daddy Realness

Pretty sure I haven’t stepped foot in Hamilton since dating someone there, but Justin’s told me about its booming blogger scene, including — for example — parent bloggers I’ve yet to meet in the flesh!

Mike Armstrong is one of those Dad bloggers out in Steel Town sharing about his journey, and as his moniker implies, he’s always looking to keep it as real as possible when sharing. His submission for Tales from the 2.9 echoes what many of us are trying to do — just live the best lives we can with the resources afforded to us.

You can check his thoughts out below!


Mike Armstrong is a husband and father of two kids. Born and raised in Hamilton, his day job involves working in industrial distribution. In his spare time, he writes about his parenting experiences on his website, Daddy Realness. It’s him blogging about the adventures and misadventures of fatherhood (mainly the misadventures).

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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

I think of the more well known stories and people.  It also makes me think of of how much history that I don’t know. For example, I remember, years ago, reading about how a new school in Hamilton was going be called Ray Lewis Elementary School. I didn’t get why they were naming a school after the Baltimore Raven’s linebacker. I then found out that it was named after a different Ray Lewis. I felt so foolish. I knew about the important Black American Olympians, but not the Canadian ones. Anyway, this month really does make me realize that it is on me to learn and appreciate our history more.

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?

For the most part, my experience in Canada has been positive. There have been incidents and moments along the way, but, overall, the vibe up here is different than in the US. Count me in the category as one of the people who’s never been considered “Black enough”, too. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve been called White Mike. I mean, yeah, I’m aware of what the old stereotypes and perceptions of what a Black male is supposed to look and sound like. And yeah, I could easily act and talk that way, too…but what’s the point? In a country as diverse and tolerant (mostly) as this one, I’ve learned that I can get by just fine by being myself.

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

I may not be the best at anything, and I make a lot of mistakes, but I try. In everything that I do, there’s always an honest effort. So much good has happened in my life just from being open-minded, and working hard. I don’t know how much of an impression this mentality has made on the rest of the world, but it’s worked for me, so far. If I can at least instill it in my kids, then that’s a win.

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?

Definitely my Mom.  Her life experiences have given her a more jaded perspective. I don’t share her same viewpoint, but she has opened my eyes to a lot of cultural and racial issues. From that, her oft-repeated quote to me back in the day was “work hard, go to school, and get an education.” Pretty simple advice that I took to heart.

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

Whatever you think your expectations are, defy them. Like that Big Sean song says, one man can change the world.


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!

Bee Quammie, Digital Content Creator | Tales from the 2.9 #21

Last Updated: October 29, 2020


After all this time invested in blogging and building my brand, I sometimes foolishly (arrogantly?) think that I’ve met everybody in the Toronto-area blogosphere who I’d vibe with, and I’m thrilled that I’m still continually proven wrong today — Bee Quammie is the business.

As a fellow ’83 baby — and more recently as one of the few parent bloggers of colour in our nation — Bee’s stayed true to her brand ever since her first post way back in August 2011 (yes, I looked), and stands for much of what I’m trying to accomplish as a Black father and content creator in Toronto!

Bee’s submission for Tales from the 2.9 is a good one — it looks at what it’s like coming from a place that sees you as the enemy, what our responsibilities are in shaping a better world for the generation to come, and ultimately, a lesson we all need to remember to keep moving forward!

Check it out below!


Photo courtesy of Samantha Clarke Photography

Bridget “Bee” Quammie is a healthcare professional, award-winning digital media content creator, and speaker.

Bee manages two personal blogs – ‘83 To Infinity and The Brown Suga Mama – and writes for publications like Chatelaine, Metro News, Parents Canada, For Harriet, and The Huffington Post Canada. Bee has been recognized by Black Enterprise and the Black Canadians Awards and has held speaking engagements and television features across North America.

Websites: www.83toinfinity.com | www.thebrownsugamama.com | https://beequammie.contently.com/

Twitter: @beequammie | Instagram: @beequammie


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

The first image that comes to mind is me, back in elementary school – the only Black girl in the class, who was always tasked with speaking on BHM and doing the jobs of teachers who had no clue where to start. I think of historic Black American figures like Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, and Black Wall Street, etc. – but I always remember that Black history is global. Now I make an effort also to seek out stories of Black history within Canada and across the diaspora.

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?

I grew up in London, Ontario – a place and time where it was par for the course to have bananas thrown at my family and I from apartment building balconies and have the N-word hurled at us in both loud and hushed voices. Moving to Toronto opened me up to connections with a more diverse community, but anti-Blackness lives here too. As a first-generation Canadian, there’s a bit of internal reconciliation work I constantly do to figure out what it means to be Canadian when the family and culture I was raised within are from elsewhere.

When we think about the experience of being a Black person in Canada, it’s crucial to remember that this is a huge country with places that are the complete opposite of Toronto. I’m so happy to be here and have opportunities to connect with my culture in ways I didn’t have outside of the city. Thus I often think about how others across the country view their own Black Canadian experience.

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

My motivations are twofold. There have been so many times where I felt like my voice was drowned out, invalidated, or ignored. Having my own platform via the work I do helps me to speak up and out authentically, so I hope that it encourages others – particularly those whose voices are marginalized – to do the same in their own way, and remind people that they aren’t alone in various life experiences. Secondly, I do the work I do to hopefully make my daughter’s navigation through life a bit smoother than mine. I’m having conversations now that I hope she doesn’t have to repeat in the future.

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?

My parents have been my immediate mentors – the good and bad of their life experiences give me a lot to learn from. As far as a cultural mentor, I’d say Bob Marley has been a huge figure for me. His music and thoughts on everything from Jamaican culture to politics to spirituality to Black empowerment to global equality always give me something to think about, learn more about, or embrace with my own understanding. He consistently makes me consider what my definitions of success and legacy are.

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

Let’s find ways to connect. The experiences of Black people in this country are extremely multifaceted, but we have threads that link us to each other. There’s so much we can learn from each other and so many commonalities that can strengthen our various communities, so I believe it’s important to find ways to navigate these connections.


Live from the 3.5 is an ongoing series on CaseyPalmer.com showcasing Black Canadian content creators and the experiences they’ve had growing up Black in Canada!

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — #19: Septembre Anderson, Multimedia Journalist

For what the Black Canadian community lacks in size, it makes up for by being well-connected — there’s always somebody who knows somebody, and this pretty much described how I first virtually crossed paths with Septembre Anderson.

I first heard of Septembre a couple of years back when I needed someone to cover an event in my stead. Since then, I’ve watched her continually take the world head-on to establish a place where people like her get judged by the merits of their actions and not the colour of their skin.

Septembre’s contribution to Tales from the 2.9 recognizes that though we may want to integrate and be seen as equal to our Canadian peers, there’s a number of obstacles we’ve yet to overcome to get there, subtle as they might be.

Check out some thoughts below from someone who not only sees the struggle, but uses much of what’s within to try and quash it!


As a multimedia journalist, cultural critic and public intellectual with six years of experience in the journalism industry, Septembre Anderson is a force to be reckoned with.

Her published work covers topic areas like fashion, beauty, lifestyle, current events, social justice and, health and wellness while her articles have appeared in publications like Flare, Metro, Vice Canada and the Ottawa Citizen.

For Septembre, writing isn’t just a profession but a part of her activism and article topics include how office dress codes are Eurocentric, unrealistic beauty ideals, internships and labour exploitation, political correctness and the all-white everything 2016 Oscar nominees.

Septembre has also appeared on a number of panels, radio shows and TV programs including CBC Day 6, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, CBC Q Radio, Global News, Canadaland Commons, the What Makes A Man? Conference and the OPSEU “The ‘F’ Word—Reclaiming Feminism!” Conference.


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

For me, Black revolutionaries, usually Black Caribbean Canadians come to mind. The Black Action Defence Committee, Dudley Laws in his black beret, Afua Cooper and the more revolutionary Montreal. People who fought for the space that I now occupy. The trailblazers whose shoulders I stand on and whose work has amplified my voice.
 
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?

In Canada, the Black experience we’re shown and sold is the Immigrant Success Story of coming to Canada and becoming wildly successful (we’re seeing echoes of this with the Syrian refugees). My story has been the opposite. My grandmother came here and struggled and, unfortunately, that struggle has been passed on to my parents generation and, now, mine. Thankfully, my grandma also passed down her strength and sense of justice so I’ve made advocating for Black people and other marginalized groups part of my life and work. It’s hard to fight and advocate, though, because Canadian-style racism is very sly and sneaky and not as overt as American-style racism.
 
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?

My goal is always to empower, liberate and educate. I hope to empower people to feel confident enough to use their voices for the liberation of Black people and other marginalized groups. I also try my best to educate. For me, knowledge and the accompanying language to explain and articulate what has been done to me has been so liberating and I try to pass that on. I feel that’s my job as someone who has the privilege of a university education and who has her big toe in the journalism door.

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?

All of my mentors were authors. My biggest mentor was Malcolm X. He gave 12-year-old me the words to understand what was being done to me. I also find Naomi Campbell, Rihanna and Kanye West extremely inspirational. Their confidence and unapologetic nature is exactly what I need to overcome the naysayers and racists and speak my mind loudly.

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

I don’t know you personally but I love you.


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!

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — #17: Tash Jefferies, Healthy Living Expert, TashJefferies.com

With everything that’s kept me busy of late, it feels like a lifetime age where Tash and I first crossed paths, somewhere back in 2012, me a fledgling lifestyle blogger spending more time winning swag and hitting every party I could find, and Tash like a wiser cousin who knew there were far better things to invest our efforts in.

Years later, I’m a Dad of two who’s slowed his roll to strive for something a little more permanent, and Tash is out east in her home province of Nova Scotia transforming lives one conversation at a time with a focus on health and wellness.

Tash’s submission for the Tales from the 2.9 touches on a sore truth about life as a Black person in today’s North America — that despite the horrors of our collective history, putting all of our energy into lamenting the past will only take us so far. We need to actively build a better present so that we can give our kin a better starting point for their futures.

Check out some of Tash’s East Coast experiences and sensibilities below!


Top-Rated Online Instructor | TEDx Speaker | Huffington Post Top 50 Healthy Tweeter

Tash Jefferies is an African Nova Scotian woman who has dedicated her work and life to helping people live healthy, vibrantly, fully self-expressed, and true to who they are.

Her work includes public speaking, teaching, and consulting in the areas of healthy living, social media management, entrepreneurship, personal branding, stress management and sustainability.

Twitter | Free Wellness Program


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

I’d like to see Black History Month transform, from solely talking about stories of those from 100+ years ago, to starting to usher in the successes of the current generations, those African Canadians doing cutting edge research,  technologies and non-stereotypical media development. That means, I’m still in search of my modern and relatable icons.

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?

I’ve had more than enough confrontational experiences with my brothers and sisters south of the border because many of them can’t envision a lack of the overt, constant forms of racism in everyday life. I must admit, I have been very blessed in that I have not encountered very many instances of those kinds of struggles – in my educational, professional or even entrepreneurial experiences. If anything, I’ve learned to embrace my robust history, culture and legacy and allow it to be a source of inspiration and creative energy for me.

On that same note, I truly believe that the experience of growing up as an African Canadian is very unique, in that those of us who come from indigenous Black communities have such multicultural backgrounds – Aboriginal, French, Latin American, Caribbean, and many others – identify with more than one ancestry. I am not just a Black Canadian, I am also part of the Metis community, and I’m sure there are still other roots that have yet to surface.

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

I truly hope that my voice will show the world that if “they” want to put me into a self-identified box (African Canadian, Metis Canadian, Female Entrepreneur, the list goes on), I REFUSE to fit into one, no matter what I do, where I go. I do my best to represent excellence and progression and positivity, period.

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?

My biggest cultural mentor, without a doubt, was and still is my Mom. She taught me, since before I could fully speak, what it means to live with integrity, how to have resilience no matter what the world throws at you, and how to remain human with a strong sense of humour! She also taught me the importance of never feeling inferior because of where I came from, the colour of my skin, and how to always keep my self-confidence strong in any situation. All of those lessons have led me to have a life that I’m proud of, and where I feel I continue to grow and reach for the best experiences that life has to offer!

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

STOP holding on so strongly to the past. Acknowledge, value and cherish it for creating you, us and our vibrant history and culture. However, START creating a new future, with new possibilities, and create your own view of what the world has in store for you, us, and our next generation.


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!