Before being introduced by a mutual friend, TQ was one of those names who I thought I’d never cross paths with because it’s a publication that just oozes cool. But co-founder Chad G. Cranston’s submission to Tales from the 2.9 is deeply rooted in something I believe in — leaving behind things that matter, not just chasing after the hottest new things on the market.
Chad G. Cranston is one of Toronto’s top influencers in independent media. He successfully started and is the co-founder of TQ, Canada’s premier lifestyle coffee table book. While being in the media publishing business for over 10 years, TQ took third prize in 2011 the coveted National Magazine Awards and continued as trendsetting trailblazers with branched off companies Sully Wong (C’s other partner in TQ, George Sully) and Social Interactive. The award-winning metropolitan coffee table book features fashion, auto, music, entertainment and lifestyle. With an International Marketing diploma, Chad has become a digital pioneer in metropolitan lifestyle influence with a vast understanding of what the needs are from the Baby Boomer to Gen Z.
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
Black history to me when I was younger was all about the culture. I grew up in the 80’s RnB and soul, 90’s hip-hop era. Hip-hop was conscious. Artists like Public Enemy, KRS 1 and the Boogie Down Bronx, X Clan, Brand Nubian; and great female artists like MC Lyte and Queen Latifah were the teachers of black history. Each year, there was a talent contest in Ottawa and my group would prepare for weeks on end after school, practicing our lyrics, dance moves and stage performance. It wasn’t even to win; it was just to represent the culture for fun. It was the one time that as a youth, we felt a sense of unity no matter what part of the continent, island or city you came from, that night we were all one.
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?
First, I am going to go down the rabbit hole. What the media is doing successfully is divide and conquer. This is a human race problem, not black or white. We need to understand that first in order to exist as a species. Me being Black, I was told by my parents that everything I do, I will need to do it twice as good as the next person just earn respect. I was taught not to be discouraged because not matter what, whatever I persevered over, would make me stronger and successful. I am fortunate to have great family support, multi-cultural friends, and great education to be able to do the things I do. Pop Ash!
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
Legacy. The misconception of the Black man sucks. Since I was a youth, I made that conscious decision to not be a stigma. With legacy comes responsibility. By my actions, those who want to learn will understand it’s about living with integrity. Build something that you can leave behind that makes this world a better place. Maybe as small as planting a tree, or helping a kid, buying books for the less fortunate, inventing something, writing a book, whatever – Just do something positive to leave behind.
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?
Gene Simmons from KISS. Had a life changing deep conversation that lasted over an hour about being a media influencer. He put me on to create TCHAD Quarterly. From a cultural standpoint – Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and Mike Tyson. Now you say, “One of these things don’t match up?” But in actuality it’s all relevant. Mike Tyson came from the gutter and became the undisputed youngest heavyweight champion of the world. That right there, if you decide to choose the right paths, tells you that no matter what adversity you confront, you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it and are determined to fuel your energy in the right direction.
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
The time is now. Its starts in the family, at home, in church, neighborhoods, the city and the country. Invest in it. There is a lesson to be learned from other races that do it and are successful.
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!