MICHASHA ARMSTRONG - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Born in west ham London England. Father was a Radio engineer for the Royal Air Force and mother was a nurse and a fashion model. The father and mother relationship became strained due to work demands. Michasha his mother and sister left the UK for a new life in Canada.
As a kid growing up in the UK?
I wanted to be a race car driver. Formula one and my car was the Elf 6 wheel racer.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
I am my own inspiration. After years of feeling inadequate for not graduating high school. Due to a jealous stepfather. I took responsibility and entered an adult high school program and two years later graduated valedictorian with honors. My valedictorian speech was covered by local Media and can be viewed online.
How did you get to where you are now and what more do you hope to achieve?
A childhood friend in Calgary, AB told me of a movie being filmed were they needed black extras. I was on the set and was bumped up to play Sir Sidney poitier’s right hand man. The movie was called Children of the Dust. It was my first professional acting role. After speaking with Sir Sidney Poitier I moved from Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver BC, where I landed the part of Shak'el on STARGATE SG-1
What would you like to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for delivering strong, solid and believable performances as an actor in the Canadian film and TV market.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
Ha! What Balance. Life is complicated as it is. I work out and get in touch with nature, hiking and running with my fury friend and keep good relations with friends and family.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
My favorite food is meat. my favorite movie is all three classic Star Wars movies. My favorite music, Hip Hop 90's.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
I have not experienced negative reaction being black in Vancouver directly. I have noticed that due to a small Black population and the lack of Black people in key positions in the city. Black citizens are taken more as a novelty than a serious contribution to the city as a community.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, Oprah, BET, etc:-
This is a fantastic question. Black Canadian talents are just as talented as any others on the planet. I believe that the Canadian producers of film and TV need to back there performers. It seems to me that ACTRA Toronto is understanding of the need for diverse programming when it comes to Black Canadian actors. There seems to be allot of talk about this in other cities but not allot of change in the casting process.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
This is it isn't it. This question is what the lack of telling our Black Canadian stories is about. There are lots of stories in Vancouver about pioneering black Canadians but it is up to all Canadians as well as black to promote them.
Black Life Guard of English Bay, Joe Fortes. Olympic medalist Harry Jerome and The Black area of Vancouver known as Hogan's Alley. A place that was rich with black Canadian history.
Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
From where I am in the city of Vancouver. Blacks do not fully support other black interests due to a lack of information or that the city does not embrace us so why try to have events that show us in our light . This is not to say that there are not events that do not take place but there seems to be a lack of community and this is rightfully so. If you are born and raised 4th or 5th generation in Canada you assimilate. If you are African or from the Islands there seems to be a stronger bond to your culture and a willingness to preserve the traditions and the connections for community.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
My understanding of Black history in Canada is not a page out of the slavery books of America. To be honest. I don't know how to answer this question but I want to know the history and as long as I want to know and not become complacent with the words of others who are writing our history. I shall never fully understand it so I must continue to ask questions and seek out the answers for myself. Reach out to others who are just as curious and to demand the answers from the true Black Canadian storytellers.