Black Canadians




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Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list ) 

NICOLLE COCO LARAIN Black canadian awards
Tell us a little bit about yourself?

 My name is Nicolle Coco LaRain. I am a 2013 Herbert Carnegie Unsung Hero Award Winning. Motivational Speaker, Vocal Artist, Spoken Word Poet and Life Skills Coach, with a passion for inspiring people through the arts. I founded a youth development organization called Inspired by Coco in 2001 to inspire children, youth, families and the community. I started my motivational speaking career at the age of 17 and have been inspiring people with the lessons I've learned along my journey from being an Abused Teenage Mother to Motivational Speaker.


Since 2000 I have continued to share my story utilizing the arts to engage, educate and equip children and youth with the tools they need to face and overcome challenges and strive for wellness and success. I work alongside numerous organizations across the GTA facilitating workshops for educators, college, high school and elementary schools, teenage parents, youth living in group homes and shelters and so many more. In 2010 I won a Hot Mamma Award from the University of Washington DC which awards women who have made a positive impact on our world with their entrepreneurial pursuits.I am a proud mother of three beautiful children or should I say young adults. My goal is to inspire children and youth, but they end up inspiring me.


What many people may not know about you?

 I am a shy person yet I love the stage. I love performing to Inspire. Small talk is not my thing. I'm addicted to chocolate and slushy and do I ever love a big mac once in a while.


What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?

 My children are my motivation, all I have to do is attend one of my Son’s or Daughter’s Spoke N Heard poetry events and listen to all the incredible artists and I'm ready to move.


How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?

 I got where I am because I never gave up on my dreams regardless of the challenges I faced. I knew that God would turn it all around for my good and for the good of those I am assigned to inspire. My goal is to release my first book in 2014 along with my first single entitled "Golden Letters" The journey from Teenage Mother to Motivational Speaker. My goal is to inspire people to face and overcome challenges and strive for wellness and success.


What would you like to be remembered for?

 I'd like what I have taught to be remembered more than myself.


How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?

 I recognize when I need to rest, when my family members need me and when I have to push to get the work done. Its a daily balancing act that I am still trying to master.


What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?

 My favorite food is fried chicken; my favorite book is Hinds Feet in Hind Places; Music - all things Stevie Wonder and Movie would be Love and Basketball.


What's your experience as a Black person in Canada? (Also suggest solutions if any challenge)

 I am 7th Generation Canadian, my mother’s family is from Nova Scotia; we are Black Loyalists. My experience as a Black person is Canada has been very interesting to say the least, I have seen the challenges we face as Afro-Canadians and have been exposed to racism since childhood (being called the "N" word in Kindergarten was no joke). However my family taught me to be very proud of who I am and to celebrate my heritage.


Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like TD Jakes, Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc?

 I think the opportunities for Blacks in Canada are few and far between due to systemic racism. We lack the unity in our community to make a significant difference politically and otherwise. In my opinion, this prevents our voices from being heard. We do have role models that most of us are not aware of and that is a crime in itself. My organization specializes in facilitating presentations that highlight the stories of unsung hero's in the Afro-Canadian community. In February 2014, we plan to facilitate a number of presentations within various schools across the GTA, to ensure the next generation is educated.


Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?

 I recently received a Herbert Carnegie Unsung Hero Award, which was such an honour. Mr. Carnegie is one of my role models as he like myself utilized a painful experience in his life to make a difference in the lives of youth.


Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?

 Our community is segregated, in my opinion and we lack the resources to unit us. We need more representation in the media so we can hear about the events and businesses in our community. We have been divided for generations and the effects of our enslavement still has a lasting impact. The house slave vs. field slave scenario still plays out in our community causing a lack of willingness to support each other.


What is your understanding of Black History in Canada?

 Black history is rich here in Canada from the Black Loyalist and the Underground railroad, to Africville and the first black school teacher in Nova Scotia. Our stories and experiences are beautiful and speak to our resilience.


How to connect with Nicolle
Twitter: @inspiredbycoco, @cocolarain