Black History Month offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate the considerable contributions from different black diasporas to world culture. Whether at the local, provincial, national or international level, artists from indigenous or Afro-descendant communities have created works that stand out for their finesse, strength and acuity.
This is surely why it has become difficult to speak of only one unitary literature, one unitary poesy or even one unitary “black” theatre. This conception of art, as unifying as it may be, cannot conceal the fact that today, there are as many approaches and forms as there are black creators who draw on their origins or their identity.
With this in mind, the Théâtre français de Toronto and the Consulate General of France in Toronto have chosen to offer four short videos throughout the month of February. You will discover – or re-discover – writers who may be well-known in their homelands but who certainly deserve greater recognition elsewhere: Djennie Laguerre (Canada, Haiti), Suzy Ronel (Guadeloupe), Simané Wenethem (New Caledonia) and Berekyah Yergeau (Canada, Guyana) will each in their own way move you.
For four weeks, you are invited to listen to each of them successively to better understand their poetic, literary and political uniqueness above and beyond their place of origin. Whether through storytelling, theatre, slam or poetry, their words are anchored in reflections and examinations that are both personal and formal. We have also deliberately chosen not to name their origins at the start of each video so that listeners can appreciate each text, each artist, each performance as an expression of a vision of the world sculpted meticulously from the possibilities of a French language freed from the yoke of normative thought.
I invite you to watch these performances without giving in to the need to understand everything. Let them sway you and move you. And so I also invite you not to turn on the subtitles when listening for the first time: keep them for the next time you watch. In doing so, you will discover that as they speak, the meaning is often less important than the feeling. This is the common thread uniting these authors as they give voice to their texts.
An unexpected pleasure awaits you.