Omari Newton is an award-winning professional actor, writer, director and
producer. As a writer, his original Hip Hop theatre piece Sal Capone has received
critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a recent presentation at
Canada’s National Arts Centre. He has been commissioned by Black Theatre
Workshop (BTW) in Montreal to write a companion piece to Sal Capone entitled
Black & Blue Matters.
Omari and his wife, fellow professional playwright Amy Lee Lavoie, recently
received a generous grant from the Canada Council to co-write a new play:
Redbone Coonhound. Their latest collaboration is a bold and innovative satirical
comedy that confronts instances of systemic racism in the past, present and
future.
Newton’s work in Speakeasy Theatre’s production of Young Jean Lee’s The
Shipment earned him a 2017-2018 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding
Performance by an Actor, as well as a nomination for Best Direction.
Notable film & TV credits include: Lucas Ingram on Showcase’s Continuum,
Larry Summers on Blue Mountain State and lending his voice to the Black
Panther in multiple animated projects (Marvel). Most recently, Omari has a
recurring role as Nate on Corner Gas (the animated series) and a recurring role
as Corvus of Netflix’s hit new animated series The Dragon Prince.
Twitter @OmariAkilNewton
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omariakilnewton/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/omari.newton

Ways you can Support Black Canadian Artists This February

February is Black History Month in Canada. The month has been dedicated to the celebration of Black Canadian history since 1995, after a motion was successfully put forward by The Hounorable Jean Augustine, the first black woman elected to Canada’s parliament. In America the celebration of “Negro History Week,” the precursor to Black History Month, dates back to 1926. The late great historian Carter G. Woodson declared the second week of February as a time to reflect on the contributions of African Americans, since that time period coincided with the birthdays of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglas and former POTUS Abraham Lincoln.

Here is a list of tangible ways UBCP/ACTRA members can celebrate Canadian Black History.

A BLACK PEOPLES MONTH FESTIVAL CURATED BY BLACK ARTISTS

DESCRIPTION: In celebration of Black History Month, the Ensemble Theatre Company is presenting Us: A Black Peoples Month Festival curated by Black artists Adrian Neblett and Mariam Barry. The theme of the festival is belonging.

LINK TO ONLINE FESTIVAL

https://www.ensembletheatrecompany.ca/festival-details

A VIRTUAL MUSEUM EXIBIT OF BC’S BLACK PIONEERS

DESCRIPTION: BC Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS) has partnered with Digital Museums Canada for British Columbia’s Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character influenced the Vision of Canada. The exhibit features 20 stories, nine videos, and 86 gallery items that include images, photographs, maps, and archival documents and focuses on a group of 800 invited settlers and how they contributed to the formation and development of society in BC.

LINK TO EXIBIT: https://www.communitystories.ca/v2/bc-black-pioneers_les-pionniers-noirs-de-la-cb/

21 BLACK FUTURES (SHORT FILMS)

DESCRIPTION: “This is the future of Blackness seen through the eyes of 21 Black playwrights, 21 Black directors and 21 Black actors, in collaboration with countless other Black creatives behind the scenes. With the pandemic shuttering live theatre performances globally, combined with a cultural reckoning around anti-Black racism, Obsidian — led by artistic director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu — challenged Black playwrights from Nunavut to Halifax to answer the question: “What is the future of Blackness?”

https://www.cbc.ca/arts/watch-the-trailer-21-playwrights-21-directors-21-actors-21-visions-of-the-future-of-blackness-1.5901840

21 BLACK FUTURES— TRAILER (SHORT FILMS)

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1854710339507

SOUL ON ICE (DOCUMENTARY)—Kwame Damon Mason

DESCRIPTION: “SOUL ON ICE tells the rarely-told history of black players in hockey. In a sport that is often seen as being whiter than the ice it’s played upon, these athletes dared to stand out and make the sport their own. At the heart of the story is Jaden Lindo, a young man chasing after his lifelong dream to play in the NHL, but some of today’s top NHL stars and former players join us on our journey through history, through in-depth personal interviews: P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Anson Carter, Joel Ward, Trevor Daley, Mike Marson, Tony McKegney, five-time NHL Stanley Cup winner Grant Fuhr, and more.

SOUL ON ICE (DOCUMENTARY)—Kwame Damon Mason Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYJBywPsF2g

SECRET ALBERTA: THE FORMER LIFE OF AMBER VALLEY (DOCUMENTARY SHORT)

DESCRIPTION: Winner of the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Excellence in Digital Storytelling; About 100 km North of Edmonton is Amber Valley, one of the first all-Black settlements in Canada. Arriving in 1909, the pioneers of this community battled the elements and racism to not only survive but thrive.

SECRET ALBERTA: THE FORMER LIFE OF AMBER VALLEY—(DOCUMENTARY SHORT)

FULL FILM

SECRET VANCOUVER: RETURN TO HOGAN’S ALLEY—(DOCUMENTARY SHORT)

DESCRIPTION: In this documentary short, discover how Hogan’s Alley, a historically black neighbourhood in Vancouver BC rich with jazz & black culture was systematically destroyed by the city due to “urban renewal.”

SECRET VANCOUVER: RETURN TO HOGAN’S ALLEY—(DOCUMENTARY SHORT)

Full Film

BLACK HISTORY BOOKS FOR KIDS

BIG DREAMERS VOLUME 1 & 2—(EDUCATIONAL BOOKS FOR KIDS)

DESCRIPTION: Big Dreamers: The Canadian Black History Activity book volume 1 gives an overview of the people, places, and events that paved the way for future generations of Canadians. The book profiles individual “Big Dreamers” from A-Z, provides a historical timeline, examines Black History in each province and territory, and keeps readers engaged with a variety of activities. Volume 2 highlights key and vital Black communities in each province and those that left lasting impacts there such as Little Burgundy in Montréal, Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver, Africville in Nova Scotia, Michaëlle Jean, Harry Jerome, and Burnley Allan “Rocky” Jones, and keeps readers engaged with a variety of activities and over 100 stickers

LINK TO BLACK HISTORY KIDS BOOKS:https://www.bigdreamers.ca/