BLACK ARTISTS IN CALGARY - ON THE MOVE
This discussion will feature some of Calgary's talented Black artists who are successfully establishing themselves and realizing their projects despite the obstacles and unique challenges they may be faced with.
Wunmi Idowu: Founder & Director, Woezo Africa Music and Dance Theatre Inc
Wunmi Idowu is an award-winning accomplished dancer, choreographer, instructor, performer, ARTivist and producer and the Founder and Director of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc. Wunmi began performing traditional dance styles at the age of 3 in her hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. Moving to Alberta in 1992, she continued immersing herself in the African dance community in Edmonton and Calgary. Ignited by the absence of African Diaspora history in the public school curriculum, Wunmi decided to influence change by using the galvanizing capability of the arts. For her, the Canadian performing arts industry was an avenue to help build community capacity and leadership, disrupt colonial illusions, and empower the youth in their cultural identity ensuring that she didn’t forget or leave behind her heritage as a Nigerian. Her endeavours continue to center around the idea of representing and communicating a sense of oneness that ensures that the African, Caribbean and Black communities don’t lose our culture and inheritance for our children and the generations to come.
Sabrina Naz Comănescu: Dancer-Choreographer and Filmmaker
Sabrina loves to explore the nature of Jazz and Caribbean movement and music as well as various funk styles. Through a fusionist lens, Sabrina’s work manifests in dance, fashion, photography and film.
Randy Quansah: Host/Founder Kujo Kid Zone
It all began with a passion for play and experimentation. Founder and host Randy Quansah mixed curiosity and fun entertaining his brother’s kids with fun activities that nurtured discovery, expression and understanding of the world around them. Once he became a father, he saw the direct and exciting connection between fun, engaging early learning, intellectual growth and language development.
‘Kujo’ is actually his given name, meaning "Born on a Monday"–a special tradition that originates in Ghana. Randy’s character mirrors Kujo’s to a certain degree, as he brings out everyone’s inner child with openness and willingness to explore and challenge old ways of thinking in order to grow and expand perspectives and horizons.
Adora Nwofor: Award-winning Comedian, Actor, Prolific Host, Anti-Racism Advocate, Feminist and Model
Adora is the real deal. Named one of Calgary’s Top 10 Best Dressed by Avenue magazine, she has worked with Shaw Television (Canada), the cultural media magnate Omni Television, and is the creator and host of the web series Living a Creative Life (now in its second season). At over 6ft, Adora has a strut like no other. Adora has keynoted at TEDx YYC, hosted Canada Day 150 and Alberta Culture Days, and has MC’d and advocated at comedy, culture, and antiracism events across the province. A trusted and outspoken voice in the community, Adora has been on the Board of Directors for the Nigerian Association and Femme Wave (Calgary’s Feminist Music and Arts Festival) and has worked with Afrikadey Festival, Cariwest, Calgary’s Nigerian Canadian Association, Young Women in Power, and many more. She is a co-founder and has been Grand Marshal for the YYC Women’s March since its inception in 2016. As President and co-founder of Black Lives Matter YYC Adora is a major contributor to the local embodiment of a global movement that is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Beni Johnson: Entrepreneur, Visual Communications Specialist, Music A&R, Artist and Creative Consultant>
Beni Johnson is an Entrepreneur, Visual Communications Specialist, Music A&R, rap /spoken word artist on hiatus and Creative Consultant. He is most recognized as the founder and executive director of 10 at 10 Music & Culture – a platform known nationally for providing community and visibility to emerging artists while evolving the cultural landscape of Alberta. In 2015, Beni was awarded Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 award and Making Black History award by MP Joan Crockett. He has been a judge for the Juno Awards, sits on the board of Music Calgary and recently was recruited for ADVANCE: Canada’s Black Music Business Collective regional sub-committee.
Zaire Ink: Hip-Hop Artist
Zaire Ink is an emerging Hip Hop artist with deep roots in Spoken Word/Poetry. He is the co-founder of an independent label, Two World Creatives, who are two-time recipients of Inspirational Song of the Year at the YYC Music Awards.