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

Some people I meet in the most 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, I 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 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #2, Chattrisse Dolabaille, Writer, Performer & Producer — 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.

COMIN’ RIGHT UP: The We & We Free featuring Junia-T!

In a time before blogging was my extracurricular activity of choice, I used to draw like a fiend. On break at work. Zipping around on buses between home, school and work. I’d fall asleep with pens and markers in hand as I tried to draw just a little more (my Mom has the ink-stained sheets to prove it!)

It was in one of these scribbling sessions where I first crossed paths with Junia-T.

The We & We Free — Junia-T — Street Shot

Hailing from Sauga’s southwest, Junia’s been in the rap game since before most people knew what Internet radio was. Back in 2003, after we met and exchanged info while riding the city’s notoriously unreliable Mississauga Transit #26, you’d find me with Junia and his 3-5 Playa crew in their basement sessions while sketching out the cover work for Up to Par… Da Mixtape.

Over a decade later, and the Sauga City cat’s still at it, as one of the artists performing at the free upcoming The We & We Free concert on Friday, May 9th at the Izakaya Sushi House!