Black Canadians




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



Shakura Saida Black canada awards

Shakura S'aida was Born in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in Switzerland. A long-time Canadian who lives in Toronto. She’s truly an international artist whose involvement in the Canadian music scene has been ongoing for the almost 25 years. Along the way, she has enriched the jazz, blues and classic R&B communities with her soulful voice, enthusiastic personality and commitment to her deep soul music. Shakura S’aida is a 2013 Juno Award Nominee-Best Blues Album of the Year; a 2013 Blues Music Awards Nominee-Contemporary Female Artist and a 2013 Indie Music Awards Nominee-Blues Artist of the Year, to mention a few of her accomplishments.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a singer, actor, recording artist, songwriter, international traveler. I’ve sung in all sorts of situations, all sorts of countries (from Rwanda to Romania, from Austria to Australia, from Paris to Peoria and from Melbourne to Montreal) and in all sorts of settings: Bars, clubs, folk festivals, blues events, coffee houses, concert halls…It’s been 30 years of singing for people who, apparently, never fail to love it…

Hobbies? Walking the dog (Lulu, who weighs 129 lbs and is a black Russian terrier).
Hints for success: Work hard, practice, sing in public as often as you can, and always sing from the heart.
Most important: Always make all the time you need for your family. My parents, and my children, come first.

What people may not know about you?
I’m a huge sci-fi fan, and a serious Trekkie. And I met James Doohan— Scotty in the original Star Trek — in the airport in Nashville. I’d love to have another long conversation with him. I’d also like to meet William Shatner.

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

I look at my hungry children’s faces and realize it’s my responsibility to feed them — that keeps me motivated! Seriously, I know that we are all destined for greatness if we work for it, and we can all be as great as the universe has in mind for us.

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

I trust in myself and I listen to myself. My parents helped me, and the support of family has been invaluable and essential... What more should people expect? More, I suppose....

What would you like to be remembered for?

I hope I’ll be remembered for being a good person, helping people when they need it. I travel a lot, and sometimes — when we’re taking off or landing — I worry about what my funeral would be like. I hope people would say that I was a loyal friend, that I tried to do my best.

Inevitably I would like to be remembered for my music, and that it was something that makes people feel good and helps motivates them to do more with their lives.

How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
Family comes first, friends are my leisure, and work is what allows me to have a loving family and friends.

What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Food: Truffle fries. And burned marshmallow ice cream from Ed’s Scoop in Leslieville.
Book: Currently I’m reading Omens, by Armstrong. I plugged that on Shelagh Rodgers’ book show on CBC Radio, The Next Chapter.
Music: I’ve gone back to Whitney Houston.
Movie: The Incredibles – all about a superhero family. I’ve seen it 10 times.

What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
We black Canadians are chameleons; we’re able to adapt to any kind of culture, situation and any kind of music. This allows us to go further than other blacks in the diaspora. We’re not labeled in the same way.

Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like Beyonce, Tyler Perry, President Obama, BET, etc
Absolutely there are as many opportunities for black people in Canada. No question about that, and no doubts on my part.

Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
I’ll start with my mother. A veteran of the civil rights movement in the United States — she is American, but we’ve lived in Canada for a long time! Other role models: Jackie Richardson, Salome Bey, Archie Alleyn, Jody Drake, Shawne and Jay Jackson … and I could go on. Musical role models, community role models.

Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
I make a point of supporting black owned businesses as much as possible.

What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
We don’t teach it in the schools as thoroughly as we should. Black history is part of Canadian history. Period. And kids don’t know that. It’s the reason why my mother and I make appearances in schools, particularly during Black History Month — we’re doing this in western Canada for the second year in a row.


Give us a few words from you to an uninspired person…
First, anything is possible. Secondly, nothing is stopping anyone from doing whatever they want to. Just pick yourself up, and DO it…


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