ALICIA WYNTER - 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? My name is Alicia Wynter. I am a recent Photojournalism graduate from Loyalist College in Belleville, ON. I made the Dean’s List, and also an Athletic Academic Award & The Shaun Best Memorial Award recipient (for dedication and excellence in sports photojournalism).
What many people may not know about you? Something that people may not know is that I play rugby, and I wrestled in high school.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated? My inspiration is Gordon Sparks, an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He is best remembered for his
photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film, Shaft. (Wikipedia)
My mother, being a role model for my sister inspires me. Knowing that there are not many known black photojournalists, especially black female sports photographers, inspires me to work hard, and do what I love. Doing what I love to do, shooting sports, portraits, and features is also an inspiration for me.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect? I attended Humber College for Creative Photography in 2005, after college I knew I wanted to continue photography, but hadn’t figured out how to use my skills. One day while I was in Toronto, I came across a rally and dove into the crowd and started taking photos of what was going on. I soon discovered that, that was what I wanted to do; it was an adrenaline rush for me to capture an event that had a meaning and purpose. I soon decided to go back to school and attended Loyalist College for the Photojournalism program. I went to school with one focus and worked hard to reach my goals to become what I wanted to be. I learned what my strengths and weaknesses were and perfected my skills. In the end hard work paid off, I received two awards and made the Dean’s List by the time I graduated this year.
I am currently a freelance photojournalist/photographer working towards becoming a sports photojournalist. I would love to shoot for Sports Illustrated someday or any other well-known sports publication, team or organization. One of my dreams is to shoot for the NFL and photograph a Super Bowl one day. I’ve had the chance to intern with the Toronto Argonauts and had been blessed to photograph the 100th Grey Cup as well. So, I’m getting there.
What would you like to be remembered for? I’m not the type to receive praise very well, my mother says it’s because I have a humbling spirit, so this is a somewhat difficult question to answer, but, I would like to be remembered for my kind, but strong spirit, and hopefully to be remembered as one of the top sports photographers in Canada.
How do you balance work, family, friends, and leisure? It’s difficult as a freelance photojournalist to balance work, family, friends, and leisure; I do my best to put aside time for my family and friends when I can. I have to go out and be continuously shooting and looking for events, games, or anything happening in the community to cover, and because I am a recent graduate, my main goal right now is to establish myself and get my name out into the industry.
What are your favorite food, book, music, and movie?
My favourite food is Italian and sushi. I will always enjoy my Jamaican foods as well like guinep, sugar cane, call, aloo , plantains, etc.
My favourite book, I haven’t been able to read like I used to, but I would have to say Roots, I like the author, Sister Soujah, and I’m currently reading How to Kill A Mocking Bird by Maya Angelou
My favourite music, lately I’ve been into a lot of Indie music, I enjoy all types of musical genres from R&B, Dancehall, Reggae, Conscious Hop-Hop, Soul, Jazz, to Classical music.
My favourite movie, don’t make fun of me but I’ve loved The Little Mermaid since I was a little girl, and love Pirates of the Caribbean, that’s my young childlike side. I also love action-packed and comedic movies.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
I was born in Canada and had a pretty good childhood growing up. I did encounter some racial bullying along with my experiences growing up as a child. I learned very quickly that being a black female wasn’t going to be a walk in the park even though I live in Canada. There were points in my life where I felt that the reason why I didn’t do well in school or was not reaching short-term goals in my life was because I was black.
My advice to other blacks in Canada is to just press on, and don’t make “being black” an excuse for why you can’t move up the ladder of success. Work hard and do what you have to do, to get to where you want to be because in the end it will all be worth it. We’re a strong race, and we need to remember our history and how far we have come, and the sacrifices our ancestors and elders have made for us. We need to take advantage of the privileges and opportunities that we have gained from those who fought for our equal rights.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?
I personally feel that the Black community in Canada is not supporting each other enough, and not only in Canada, I feel it is like this internationally. Instead of pushing each other to be successful and better ourselves, we’re stealing from each other, being jealous of each other, and killing each other. We need to support each other to get ourselves out of poverty and struggles. If we can help one person in our lives, in turn, that person will remember you and pull you up the ladder of success and happiness.
The Black culture and community are already viewed negatively and we need to change that, and we can. There are so many successful blacks in this world, and I know that we can do better, and lead by example. I think we need to see the potential in each other because it’s there; the will to be better is inside all of us. We just need to realize our gifts and use them not only for ourselves but also for each other.
What the black community is doing right is putting together programs for youths to better themselves, and volunteering to be role models. Unfortunately, I don’t hear or see a lot of this happening, but I hope that this kind of work will expand and not only for our youth but for all generations.
Should and do Blacks support black music, events, and businesses? I think Blacks do and should support black music, events, and businesses as long as it’s positive and will benefit each other and any community. It’s great that we are trying to support and uplift our community, but we can’t forget that we are not the only ones living in this world. We need to expand ourselves and reach out to other cultural communities as well.
Some claim we have musical artists and talents in Canada that are as good or better than those in the US?
I believe we do have musical artists and talents in Canada that are just as good or better than those in the U.S. I think we need to step up our entertainment industry all across Canada and support them and find those talents that just need that one chance to show what they have.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Artists?
I enjoy Kardinal Offishall, K-os, and a good personal friend of mine Junia-T of Smash Brovaz.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Black History in Canada is something I don’t know about, to be honest. I find it difficult to learn about our history here in this Country. I think this is something that should be integrated into our educational school systems, and I also feel we need to do our part to educate ourselves and others about not only American Black History, but about Canadian Black History because this is where we live and where we are born.