Been a Long Time Comin’

Pluralism and the African Diasporic Aesthetic


Event posterDetails: In support of Black History Month a coalition of partners within the University of Toronto community, including faculty, staff and student groups, are pleased to present “Been a Long Time Comin’: Pluralism and the African Diasporic Aesthetic”. Working closely with student groups on campus, this event is an opportunity for students to participate, engage in discussion and interact with the broader artistic and academic community.


The programme features the student ensemble Wind in the Leaves Collective and community dance troupe Kashedance and will offer the opportunity to view, explore, and experience the influences of the African diasporic aesthetic on contemporary cultural performance in Canada. The featured dance performances will speak to the intricacies and interwoven influences within the African narrative and unearth the personal and historical journeys of the African diaspora, offering emotional, visceral and spiritual performances.


The dance performance will be followed by a dynamic panel discussion moderated by U of T alumnus, Rhodes Scholar and community activist Kofi Hope and current President of the Black Students Association Chauntel Parkinson. Panelists include Associate Professor and author Charles Smith, artistic director and Associate Professor African Studies and Post Colonial Literature Modupe Oloagun, dancer Amanda Paixo and Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Equity Studies, Rinaldo Walcott, among others.

DancersWhen: Wed. Feb. 6 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: William Doo Auditorium, 45 Wilcox Street, University of Toronto
Cost: Free



This event is proudly sponsored by Hart House, the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office, the Multifaith Centre for Spiritual Practice, and New College.

About Baraka (Kashedance)
Kashedance is an artistic statement assessing the cultural homage to the African aesthetics in the Jamaican, Caribbean, North American and Canadian landscapes. The inspiration for Baraka came from the movie “Boys of Baraka”, a story that followed the lives of boys from Baltimore at a school in Kenya over the course of a year. The movements illustrated in Baraka speak to the traditions that have survived through time. Baraka was created and developed by Choreographer, award winning dancer, teacher, and founder of Kashedance, Kevin A. Ormsby. Kevin is a staunch advocate of arts education and a well-respected arts consultant.

“I am an artist foremost who happens to be of African heritage…black is not what I am, it was a definition ascribed to me. If there is a tenant of truth in this statement, what is it?” Baraka seeks to unlock this premise.

About Wind in the Leaves Collective:
Led by poet, playwright and essayist, Charles Smith, the Wind in the Leaves Collective creatively weaves spoken word, photography, music (live and recorded) and dance in the performance excerpts from Fleurette Africaine and Destination Out. These pieces chronicle the struggles and triumphs of Black musicians and students in schools, the Black body in diaspora and celebrations of Blackness in supportive and nurturing environments. Multi-textured and illustrative, the performance is expressed through diverse artistic mediums connecting individuals and communities in a multicultural, multiracial society. Charles currently teaches Cultural Theory and Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Management program at University of Toronto Scarborough campus and is an active participant in the equity, social justice, education and performing arts mediums.

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