Arts·21 Black Futures

Watch the trailer: 21 playwrights, 21 directors, 21 actors, 21 visions of the future of Blackness

Presented by Obsidian Theatre and CBC Arts, 21 Black Futures premieres Friday, February 12 on CBC Gem.

Presented by Obsidian Theatre and CBC Arts, 21 Black Futures premieres Friday, February 12 on CBC Gem

21 Black Futures trailer

2 years ago
Duration 1:44
Presented by Obsidian Theatre and CBC Arts, 21 Black Futures premieres Friday, February 12 on CBC Gem.

Season 1 of 21 Black Futures is now streaming on CBC Gem!

When I was in school, I was never taught how my ancestors' contributions to our history could impact my future. Black history was always minimized, as my teachers would dutifully dust off the Mary Ann Shadd posters, take us on a field trip to Black Creek Pioneer Village, and gather us in the gym for a 30-minute assembly, which I am pretty sure followed the same script every year. I never saw my cultural experience presented in a way that was not only celebratory, but urgent and alive — until today.

Fast forward to 2021 and a Black Futures Month enriched by a truly ambitious project: Obsidian Theatre Company and CBC Arts present 21 Black Futures, an anthology told by 63 Black creatives.

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?"

I had the extreme pleasure of producing these pieces — and directing one — surrounded by a group of multigenerational writers, directors and performers from a wide range of identities and with varying perspectives. They tackle some of the most urgent topics affecting Black communities today — including policing, mental health and reparations — while also sharing stories of Black joy, love and raising empowered children. In this series, our past, present and future collide in a way that may never happen again in our lifetime. It's a historic collaboration in and of itself and not to be missed. Welcome to the future.

Sheila Ingabire-Isaro in Chronologie, appearing in Season 3 of 21 Black Futures. (CBC Arts)

21 Black Futures will premiere exclusively on the free CBC Gem streaming service in three parts on Friday, Feb. 12, Friday, Feb. 19, and Friday, Feb. 26.

Directed by d'bi.young anitafrika, Dorothy A. Atabong, Leah-Simone Bowen, Lisa Karen Cox, Lucius Dechausay, Alison Duke, Alicia K. Harris, Jerome Kruin, ahdri zhina mandiela, Weyni Mengesha, Jay Northcott, Charles Officer, Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, Ngozi Paul, Mike Payette, Kimberley Rampersad, Jamie Robinson, Tanisha Taitt, Sarah Waisvisz and Leighton Alexander Williams.

Performed by Lovell Adams-Gray, Philip Akin, Uche Ama, Akosua Amo-Adem, Prince Amponsah, Natasha "Courage" Bacchus, Lisa Berry, Adeline Bird, Amanda Cordner, Daniel Faraldo, Peter Fernandes, Avery Grant, Virgilia Griffith, Sheila Ingabire-Isaro, Dion Johnstone, Pablo Ogunlesi, Sabryn Rock, Chelsea Russell, Alison Sealy-Smith, Emerjade Simmsand Ravyn Wngz.

Written by Peace Akintade, Keshia Cheesman, Lisa Codrington, Miali-Elise Coley-Sudlovenick, K.P Dennis, Cheryl Foggo, Shauntay Grant, Lawrence Hill, Kaie Kellough, Stephie Mazunya, Tawiah M'Carthy, Motion, Omari Newton, Amanda Parris, Joseph Jomo Pierre, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Jacob Sampson, Djanet Sears, Luke Reece, Cherissa Richards and Syrus Marcus Ware.


Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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