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 — #28: Sandra Dawes, Owner, Embrace Your Destiny

Compiling a project like Tales from the 2.9 isn’t always simple when you’re competing with various schedules, Valentine’s Day plans, and everything that you already should be doing when blogging’s not your full-time gig. That in mind, I pulled every trick out of my bag, including reaching out to a world of potential sources through Help a Reporter, which is how I got introduced to Sandra Dawes.

Sandra’s submission deals with—among other things—the problem with perception. As an educated MBA-wielding Black woman, she’s seen her share of injustice, and you can check out some of her story below!


Sandra Dawes is a recovering control freak and excuse maker who works with clients struggling to do the same. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution. After the passing of her father and circumstances that followed, she was lead on a journey of self-awareness and forgiveness that changed her life in deep and meaningful ways. Sandra enjoys spending time with friends and family, her partner Satnam, her dog Lulu, as well as writing articles for her blog www.embraceyourdestiny.ca. She published her first book in the fall of 2013 titled: Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!


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

I think about the civil rights movement in the US. Canadian images that come to mind are influential figures such as Lincoln Alexander, Jean Augustine and other community leaders who have made a positive impact on our local communities for decades. I see them as trailblazers. They were able to achieve significant advances at a time when it was even less commonplace than it is today, especially in the political realm.

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?

My Dad was very big on making sure I knew my history. He had cassette tapes with recordings of people giving seminars on historical events, the challenges of the Black community and the importance of being proud of who you are.

I am amazed at how low the expectations are for some people when they meet a Black person. I am frequently met with surprise when asked about my level of education. There have been many job interviews where I was met with what I’ll call shock. There’s nothing on my resume that gives any hints at my ethnicity. Unfortunately, I don’t think my face is what many interviewers are expecting. I haven’t gone on a job interview for a while, so I’m hoping that’s changed!

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

My intention is to be remembered for inspiring others to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. It’s what I’m striving for on a daily basis in my own life!

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?

I would have to say my Dad was my mentor. He taught me to be proud of who I am regardless of what anyone else may think or say. He encouraged me to do the best I could and take pride in everything I did. He taught me that hard work is rewarded; we just have to be patient. The greatest lesson I learned from him was that I should love what I do, not the money it may provide.

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

Our numbers may be small, but our power and influence are great! It’s time to collaborate in a way that benefits us all.


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!

J. D. Amin, BramptonRises# | Tales from the 2.9 #27:

Last Updated: November 22, 2020


I’ll admit—being born in Mississauga but spending much of my life in downtown Toronto where I worked, dated and went to school, I’ve likely thought The Big Smoke the centre of the universe at least once. With much of our country’s 2.9% Black population living in the 8.5% of the 6ix that identifies the same, one can ignorantly forget at times that there are Black people everywhere — not just in Drake’s hometown.

But today’s contributor isn’t about to let that slide. Though Brampton is but a stone’s throw from the T-Dot, Torontonians write it off far too quickly, lumping it together with the rest of the suburbs in the surrounding area, failing to give it the recognition it deserves for everything it offers!

Amongst a number of initiatives designed to strengthen and empower Black people in the General Toronto area, J.D. Amin’s the founder of #BramptonRises, which connects, informs and inspires the new leaders of his city, and though we’ve yet to formally cross paths, I’d imagine he’d take none too kindly to those who dismiss Brampton without a second thought! His submission for Tales from the 2.9 helps illustrate that while Black History Month is a step in the right direction, we’ve still numerous issues to overcome if we ever want to see a Black community that’s treated just like everyone else.

But I’ll let the man speak for himself. Enjoy J.D.’s thoughts below!


J.D. Amin – Writer, Content producer, BramptonRises# founder

J.D. Amin is the founder of BramptonRises#, which created the intellectual property #BramptonRises. The platform was founded in 2012 to engage, connect, and inspire the new leaders of Brampton. The organization had had different phases and will be going in a new direction for 2016 and beyond. Rest assured, we will never change. Follow us on Twitter! #BramptonRises above and beyond. Don’t believe us, just watch.

J.D. Amin is also a founding member of the Pages on Fire writers collective. An anti-oppression writers group that host events and facilitate writers workshops all across the GTA. Past events include the highly reviewed “Black Futures” series, which encouraged participants to envision a better future, which we hoped would be the first steps to achieve it. Follow us on Twitter @PagesOnFire or on facebook.com/PagesOnFire.

J.D. Amin also writes for 4CornersBrampton.com. 4C is a website designed to connect the Brampton community. We present an exciting and engaging way to experience the food, culture, art and life of Brampton. With a team dedicated to providing the best of Brampton, we present stories that get you excited about our community.

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

Black history month reminds me of the unfortunate reality that in our modern Western society black history begins with slavery or colonialism. The entire month makes slavery seem like the “big bang” of Black existence.  “Black history” before slavery is rarely if ever acknowledged.

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?

Canada has been great for me and my family. I am confident I haven’t felt the intensity of institutionalized racism that is seemingly the “American way”.

However, there are unique challenges one faces being black in multicultural Canada. For one there is still basic level—and frankly stupid, racist tendencies or prejudices in people, of all colours. We are inundated with so many messages and images of black negativity it subtly shifts our perceptions of each other. Sometimes, even your fellow “black person” will look at you sideways in certain situations. One has to be constantly aware of those biases and tendencies and subsequently watch for their own reaction. Or else stupid situations will tend to escalate quickly, or 0 to 100 real quick! As intoned in some circles…

Secondly, the concept of multiculturalism has created a false sense of smug self-satisfaction amongst Canadians when we really want to speak about race issues.  Even though we are multicultural in regional demographics, due to media and old-time misconceptions we still see the world in the dichotomy of black and white. Everyone in between uses that to create their cultural context.

The fact that we as a group have to be called by a colour, and the dominant society is the opposite colour, is a doomed proposal from the start. Only an alien invasion or robot uprising can change it…

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

You have to think differently. It may sound like a marketing slogan, but it’s real life! Once you think differently enough, new ideas and solutions present themselves. Just do it, anyone can…

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?

This one is easy. My parents. They taught the value of hard work and being a straight-up good person. Our “operating systems” aren’t exactly compatible, but we DEFINITELY agree on that uncompromising principle.

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

Don’t get caught up in the hype of negativity. A positive life is a magical life. Oh, and watch out for Brampton, I heard the city rises….


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 — #26: Rachel Lambo, Owner, Smthng New Invitation & Stationery

When you think of Black people and the various parts of the world they’re from, I’d bet you Vienna, Austria wouldn’t be high on your list! But that’s exactly where today’s guest for Tales from the 2.9 is originally from, and it’s always interesting to get a read on the Black Canadian experience from the outside in and not simply focus on all the voices who grew up in it, largely speaking a common language because it’s what we’ve always known.

Rachel’s entry touches on the difference in being Black in Austria and being Black in Canada, as well as what it is that’s built Black culture to where it is today in North America!

Check it out below!


Marketing and Creative professional with over 8 years of luxury CPG and product development experience, with a focus on branding, brand awareness and sales.

Owner and Lead Designer for Smthng New Invitation & Stationery.

LinkedIn | @rlambo & @smthng_newinvitations on Instagram


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

What really surprises me is the dozens of pioneers and rich history that exists within North America. The many brave and courageous men and women that gave their lives for the privileges of today.

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?

My experience has been quite interesting. I am originally from Austria, Vienna and the environment was very different, people there are much more reserved and straight-forward.

Toronto is different, I love the multiculturalism and inclusion in this city. Struggles I personally faced were my own language barrier and understanding the cultural norm.

I never heard of Black History Month until I moved to this end of the continent.

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

That’s a very good question. Personally, I try to make an impact in people’s lives through my work, friendship and using my knowledge to create opportunities.

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. They have a saying: “Never forget whose child you are.” It’s very important because it talks about the pride and love a parent has for you, and their expectations.

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

Be yourself.


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 — #25: Brenda Chuinkam, Blogger, Canneverbeaskinnybish

Separated from my African roots by a number of generations, it was quite the trip when I visited Tanzania in 2012, realizing just how far removed our history had set me from my ancestors. Much has been lost to the systematic destruction of the oral culture they identified by, so it’s always good to connect with those who’ve lived overseas to better understand what the Black experience is like not only in Canada, but in all the places our families hailed from before.

With a childhood in Cameroon and North America, fashion blogger Brenda Chuinkam brings her stories to Tales from the 2.9, looking at what she’s cultivated here to become successful, and what she hopes to see moving forward.

Make sure to check it out below!

Until the next,

–case p.


My name is Brenda Chuinkam and I am a young woman who is passionate about African prints as well as all things bold and bright in fashion! I am obsessed with Ankara and currently have a collection of wax prints under my bed 🙂 I am the creator of the fashion blog Canneverbeaskinnybish, which is a fashion and lifestyle blog, with a heavy focus on African prints and designs.


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

I think of the stories I heard of growing up—I was fortunate to experience childhood both in North America and Africa so I was very aware at a young age of the patriots like Martin Luther King Jr. and I also knew of the patriots who made my country, Cameroon, what it is today. A good balance of both worlds if you ask me.

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 have concluded that our sufferings here in Canada are both similar and different from our brothers and sisters in the South. Have I experienced racism while here in Canada, definitely but not on the level my folks in the South have. I personally feel as though the racism here is more disguised than in the States. I do feel like I am generally able to thrive as a young Black woman in Canada but much more can still be worked upon.

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

I would love for the world to remember me as the eloquently dressed and charming woman whose story was relatable to most and was able to touch the hearts of many 🙂

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?

Currently, one of my biggest mentors is actually my boss—Kelechi Anyadiegwu, who founded the popular website for African fashion—Zuvaa. She is a tough and smart business woman who was recently featured on Forbes 30 under 30 list! I have learned a very basic principle from her: Go after your dreams ruthlessly!

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

Remember we feed off of each others’ success. We should never keep our success to ourselves because it should be passed on.

We never stop being mentors.


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!