What does Black History Month mean in 2023?
For Shad, it’s about telling a fuller story.
“To me, what Black History Month means is shining a light on a lot of our history that’s been erased or downplayed,” the Toronto rapper and Emmy award-winning host explains to ET Canada. “Part of what that does is it introduces so many new possibilities to the imagination, especially of Black people. When our history is erased or reduced, it limits our imagination as far as what’s possible for us.”
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But it’s also, quite simply, about having a “more complete history, period,” he adds. “If you don’t have the Black presence and you don’t have the Black perspective, then you have a limited story.”
The story of Canada would certainly be incomplete without the innumerable Black artists who’ve shaped the country’s music scene over the decades. From rappers to R&B singers to dance music producers, these talented visionaries have left an indelible mark on our culture and on the world, putting our nation on the map.
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To celebrate Black History, we asked eight exceptional Black Canadian artists, spanning different eras, to tell us about a person — anyone at all — that they want to give flowers to this month.
Kardinal Offishall, Haviah Mighty, TOBi, Shad, Adria Kain, Pierre Kwenders, DijahSB and Aqyila pay tribute to the Black icons (both famous and under-the-radar) who’ve inspired them, including Master T, Clairmont The Second, Omega Mighty, Whitney Houston, Frank Ocean and more. Watch the clip above.