Black Canadians




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



Promise Jason Jamal Shepherd professionally known as Promise is a Canadian Hip hop soul artist/songwriter from Toronto. He is currently a member of the group Perfeck Strangers, based in Scarborough, Ontario. Promise has collaborated with many artists, including Marco Polo, Wordsworth, eLZhi and Sha Stimuli. He has also collaborated with fellow Toronto native Drake, whom he met on the set of Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself? And what many people may not know bout you.

Hi my name is Promise. I'm a hip-hop/soul artist who is also one of a hip-hop duo, Perfeck Strangers. I am also an avid songwriter. My father was born in Barbados (his mother, born in Brazil), my mother born in Jamaica. Because I was born in Toronto, Canada that definitely makes me a Black Canadian artist (laughs).

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

Life & love are my biggest inspirations. God is love and life and has demonstrated both these things so excellently. I am motivated by living; everyday is full of so many grand things that we need to just open our eyes to the world around us. I use my life and/or the life experiences of others to create or to be inspired by.


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

Hard work and dedication? I guess that's the formula for any form of success, coupled with real skill (usually), passion, perseverance, etc. You can definitely expect a plethora of new material in the near future. Some of the best in my whole career.


What would you like to be remembered for?

Making an impact for better living, changing the mindsets of those lost/blinded by this world, bringing the good news of love and hope that Christ intended for us.


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

Carefully (laugh) nah but seriously, it takes discipline. I try to "work" in studio 9-5 mainly like a regular day (unless otherwise needed) and before and after that plus weekends is 'family time'. My work is also my leisure but other than music I try to take 1-2 nights a week to connect with friends, etc. Its really just time management.


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

I don't know if I have one favorite food, some of the things I like/love are: real bacon, fried flying fish, Jack Astor's garlic pan bread with cheese, Auntie Joan's rum/black cake with hard white icing (laughs), sweet potato fries, McDonald's french fries (in Canada, not US! Yes, there is a difference). My favorite book is the Bible just for the insight I've gained from it and key principles that have helped me to live a better more wholesome life. Favorite music? like song or genre? man, I can't pick ONE song! As much as I rap and I love hip-hop I admire what singers (mainly r&b/soul) can do with a note/tone and few words. They can paint the most vivid picture and set a vibe that evokes emotion. Movie? Man, I don't know, I like a LOT of movies! Are we talking real movies? anime? straight cartoon/Pixar? I'm all over the place but let's keep it simple and say Taken (acting/drama) or Memento (foreign) but I could probably find a favorite movie in every sub-genre.

What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?

It's been pretty average, I never really dressed like the stereotypical black young male with pants saggin' etc. Wasn't really ever loitering, etc. Though I did experience slight racism in the past, being pulled over a few times as a young black male driving a luxury car is suspicious to some cops apparently (laugh). A lot of the time, how you act reflects on how people treat you. If someone judges you its usually because you pass something off on them that reflects that or they've unfortunately encountered it in the past and cast it on the whole race.


What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?

We see every other race join together for so many things but Blacks rarely support one another for whatever reason. When I do see it happen and its successful I am proud.


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

Based on what I see, no. But here I see every 6-9 lead roles is a white male + 1 black male who doesn't even get a full season contract. Some might argue that not enough Blacks are stepping up to take that role. I don't have facts so I can't say. It just seems like its been made a bigger deal in the US. We have a multicultural community in Canada so race is definitely something to discuss here. I have seen a lot of improvement however.


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