Nicky Lawrence in Concert

The Ugly Black Woman: Reflections in Song and Discussion

Details: Join us for this one night only performance with actor and powerful vocalist Nicky Lawrence. Featuring the songs and stories of female jazz and blues greats—Billie, Ella, Nina, Lena, Etta, Dinah and Sarah. This musical journey and discussion will not only reflect on their histories, but also consider the present realities and emerging futures for Black Canadian women and Black female artists globally.

Nicky’s personal experiences and perspectives on the “ugly Black woman”, through her own stories and music, will be part of this unique concert and dialogue.

When: Fri., Feb. 1, 2019, 6:30–9 pm
Where: Great Hall, Hart House
Cost: SOLD OUT A limited number of restricted view seats are available for cash sale at the event. A rush line for these seats will open at 6:30 pm.

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“Blues and jazz are a biography in themselves. Women like Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone who sang these remarkable songs, have stories which parallel my own; ups and downs, long lonely nights and the reminder that their worth may not be equal to that of a man. Gutsy yet tender, independent yet vulnerable, exploited but not resentful.  The performances and the candour of these women shaped modern music as it is known today. In turn, each of their voices shaped my own and their spirits reign supreme within me. At the pinnacle of their success lies deep-seated pain which no one person should have to face alone. Yet as often as in the case of Black women, we are left with a lexicon of choices made and incidents occurred due to the colour of our skin – love lost and gained, then lost again, and the feelings of inadequacy one has when they think “Will I ever be good enough?”. When asked for a biography I have often said: “look to the choices I have made in song.” In each bar of music you will hear the account of my life and the journey written by someone else.  You will find my memoirs in the half and sixteenth notes, swelling next to whole notes that cry out in vain. You will find my performing experience in the long riffs that run down your spine and grab your guts with a force only a woman scorned could create. Therein lies an authorized version of events that will guide and inform you of my choices as a black woman living now, in this time. I ask that you join me in telling a story through these remarkable women, whose dream it was to watch me walk through any door I please.”@thenickylawrence

SHAW FESTIVAL:  Ragtime -Sarah’s Friend, Trouble In Tahiti –Ensemble Guys and Dolls Agatha- Lady Windermere’s Fan Lady Stutfield DRAYTON ENTERTAINMENT Motormouth Maybelle Hairspray YPT: Sour Kangaroo Seussical ACTING UPSTAGE/OBSIDIAN: Once on this Island –Asaka ODYSSEY THEATRE: The Financier Mme Tucaret GLOBE THEATRE All Shook Up- Sylvia NEPTUNE THEATRE Shrek- Dragon, Mamma Bear, Mamma Ogre GLOBE THEATRE Key Change – Jazz Vocalist FILM: EVO – Mary In the Shadow of the Moon Netflix – Actor TELEVISION: Damien A&E–Nurse 1 Beauty and the Beast  CW Network– Nurse 1 Conviction ABC Studios-Waitress  Killjoys NBC /Space Network- Sweet Janet  Schitt’s Creek CBC/Netflix-Actor In the Dark CW/CBS Studios -Maria WORKIN’ MOMS CBC- Actor  Anne with an E CBC/Netflix  -Principal Actor Training and Education: Sheridan College Performing Arts Preparation Graduate, Music Theatre Program, General Arts and Science Graduate.


Justin Abedin is a graduate of the University of Toronto music program (BMus Jazz Perf 1995). He is a Juno award-winning musician, working for 25 years as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, most notably as guitarist for Jacksoul from 1995-2009. Justin has also performed, recorded and produced records with incredible talents such as Nelly Furtado, Amanda Marshall, Rufus Wainwright, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Molly Johnson, Ron Sexsmith, Jarvis Church, Divine Brown, Chantal Kreviazuk, Serena Ryder, Shad, Jim Cuddy, Shakura S’aida, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and many more. Justin was also part of the Canadian Idol house band on CTV from 2006-2008.  Other television appearances include Canadian Screen Awards, Over The Rainbow, and the East Coast Music Awards. Justin has also performed as part of the Toronto production of ‘Come From Away’ and is excited to be in the orchestra for the upcoming Tony award-winning musical, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.


A. Harmony is a Toronto-based emcee and writer. She is a hip-hop contributor at Exclaim! magazine, and has written for CBC, A.Side, Bustle, Grungecake and more. As an artist, she had worked with rappers such as Mos Def, Saukrates, and Monie Love, and in 2011, released a joint album called Hometown Herverts with Toronto emcees DijahSB and Phoenix Pagliacci of The Sorority.

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