The 1995 theatrical release of Rude marked a significant milestone in African Canadian cinematic history as the first full length dramatic feature film directed by an African Canadian. This highly acclaimed debut film from Clement Virgo follows three urban stories simultaneously. The tales of a reluctantly recidivist ex-con, a woman recovering from an abortion and the breakup of her relationship, and a shy boxer who’s bullied into gay-bashing are woven together by the by the central character, a freelance radio deejay. Rude was Clement Virgo’s first feature following his successful short film Save my Lost Nigga Soul (1993), which won prizes for Best Short Film at the 1993 Toronto and Chicago International Film Festivals. Save my Lost Nigga Soul also received a 1994 Genie nomination for Best Canadian Short Film.
Watch the Rude trailer
Considerations of race as an element of social structure are a critical factor in any analysis of the historic and current issues of systemic discrimination faced by the African Canadian population within the city of Toronto. These issues have been studied and documented in several reports published over the last thirty years most notably the 1992 Report on Race Relations in Ontario authored by Stephen Lewis and the recent Roots of Youth Violence Report, authored by former cabinet minister Alvin Curling and former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry.
There have also been numerous cinematic explorations of these issues; EMPz 4 Life directed by the late Allan King tells the story of a group of teenagers living in the Malvern area of Scarborough a suburb of Toronto. Shot in cinéma vérité style, EMPz 4 Life documents issues such as institutional racism, economic disenfranchisement, racial profiling and police community relations from a critical perspective, that of the Malvern community which is rarely seen in mainstream Canadian media. Jennifer Hodge de Silva’s Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community directed in the realist style, documents issues such as racism, economic disenfranchisement and police community relations that are still relevant and virtually unchanged since the time of its release in 1983.
Watch Allan King talking about the making of EMPz 4 Life
Watch the EMPz 4 Life trailer
Watch Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community (full feature 57:35)
Learn more about Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community
Exploding the myth that Hip-Hop is merely “rap music”, 5 Sides of a Coin is an in-depth look at the worldwide phenomenon of Hip-Hop. Directed by Paul Kell, 5 Sides of a Coin features exclusive interviews with Canadian Hip Hop groups Rascalz and Swollen Members along with interviews and footage of Hip-Hop pioneers, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Jazzy Jay, Gil Scott-Heron, Run DMC, Jurassic 5, De La Soul, Dilated Peoples, Beat Junkies, Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, The Pharcyde, DJ Spooky and The Stereo MC’s.
Watch the 5 Sides of a Coin Trailer @ paulkell.com
Welcome to my blog, I am a graduate student at the Simon Fraser University School of Communication. My areas of research interest are cultural studies, African Canadian and African diasporas, cinema, television and new media.