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HERstory in Black: Akua Delfish and Onika Powell

Best friends Akua Delfish and Onika Powell are the co-founders of Scarborough dance company D’Lyfe

Akua Delfish and Onika Powell HERstory

Akua Delfish, left, and Onika Powell, right, are the co-founders of Scarborough dance company D'Lyfe. (Leilah Dhore)

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In honour of Black History month, CBC brings you stories from HERstory in Black, a Toronto-based digital photo series profiling 150 black women from the GTA and other parts of Ontario by How She Hustles, a network of 5,000 diverse women.

INTERACTIVE: Meet 150 black women who have made a place in Canadian history

HERstory in Black: Camille Mitchell

HERstory in Black: Jasmyn Fyffe

​HERstory in Black: d'bi young anitafrika

​HERstory in Black: Krissy Doyle-Thomas​

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Who: Onika Powell and Akua Delfish

What they do: They are the co-founders of Scarborough dance company D'Lyfe also known as Dance, Let Your Feet Explore.

HERstory in Black: Akua Delfish and Onika Powell 2:15

What inspired you to open your dance studio?

Akua Delfish: There just wasn't a space for us. So, for me, I really wanted to see Caribbean dance be on the competitive level for dance competitions, as well as be pushed into arenas where normally we're not invited to perform because we're not seen as prestigious enough.

Onika Powell: For me, it's always been a dream to have a place where [black youth] could fit in, but also have a place where others could come learn about Caribbean folk and the things that Akua and I have grown up on.

D'LYFE Dance Powell Delfish

Onika Powell, left, and Akua Delfish, centre, teaching a group of dance students. (CBC)

What do you hope people take away from the photos of women featured in HERstory in Black?

Akua Delfish: I hope that when women see us, especially in that group image of 150 women, I hope they see community... because as much as D'Lyfe is powered by Onika and I, it's not us alone.   

Onika Powell: It's a village; it's definitely a village.  

HERSTORY BLACK_POWELL_DELFISH_GROUP

Onika Powell, top left, Akua Delfish, bottom left, are among 150 black women from the GTA featured in a digital photo series called HERstory in Black. (Ebti Nabag)

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