Music

How to support Black Canadian musicians right now

From a list of Black artists to support on Bandcamp Day to arts organizations across the country, here’s where you can make a difference at home.

From Black artists to support on Bandcamp Day to specific arts organizations, here's how you can help

Cadence Weapon released a remix compilation on Bandcamp on June 5, and half the proceeds will go to the Canadian Association of Black Journalists.

Black Out Tuesday on June 2 was supposed to be a day to recognize how the music industry profits off Black voices and culture and to hold major corporations accountable — but the results were mixed.

The truth is that if you're listening to Black music, if you consume Black culture, you're profiting off Black lives — Black lives that are undercompensated for their work, disproportionately over-incarcerated and whose work has been appropriated for centuries.

"It's not your duty to open your mouth to say Lil Uzi Vert is my favourite artist, but I don't care what happened to George Floyd. Now how does that make sense?" asked teen tennis star Coco Gauff on June 3, demanding for change.

2017 marked the first year that hip hop and R&B, which are combined in the stats, became the most popular genres in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The two genres accounted for 24.5 per cent of total music consumption in the States. But in 2020, the Grammy Awards are still plagued with being primarily male and white — with only one artist of colour, Bruno Mars, having won the Grammy for album of the year since 2010. (Outkast was the last rap act to win, in 2004.)

The Weeknd (2016) and Dan Hill (1978) are the only two Black musicians to have received Juno Awards for album of the year. 

Below, CBC Music producers have compiled a list of organizations both directly and indirectly supporting Black musicians — and aspiring youth — across the country that you can support in various ways. If you think an organization is missing, let us know in the comments or via @CBCMusic on Twitter.


National

Black Lives Matter: the international site for the movement that was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer. Its mission is to "eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes."

A list of nearly 100 Black Canadian musicians, DJs and producers to support on Bandcamp Day on June 5, when the site will funnel 100 per cent of the money made back to artists. (Bancamp will also donate 100 per cent of its share of sales on Juneteenth (June 19) to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and there will be one more Bandcamp Day, on July 3.)

Unison Benevolent Fund: "A non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community."

LOVE (Leave Out the Violence): "LOVE programs include creative expression, group discussion, social and emotional learning, leadership development opportunities, and one-on-one, 24/7 support" in Quebec, B.C. and Nova Scotia.

Black Boys Code: "At Black Boys Code, we inspire young men of colour to find their confidence and realize they have the ability to take on any challenge. We help Black boys engage with culture and become tomorrow's drivers, creators and innovators of technology."

B.C.

Vancouver Black Therapy & Advocacy Fund: "The goal is to address the lack of Black therapy resources, advocacy, and mental health support in the Vancouver Lower Mainland  — land of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations." The GoFundMe is organized by Betty Mulat from the Vancouver DJ crew NuZi Collective. 

Hogan's Alley Society: "advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative. Through our initiatives we hope to build the capacity of racialized and marginalized communities to participate in city building."

Unity Centre Association for Black Cultures: "a registered non‐profit organization, which was founded to pursue the goals of unifying, promoting and integrating Black cultures within Canadian society."

Strategem 2020: "a virtual conference and digital resource hub on equity, inclusion and justice."

Alberta

Africa Centre: "Otherwise known as the Council for the Advancement for African-Canadians in Alberta, Africa Centre serves as the hub of African communities in the province of Alberta through creating opportunities of access and encouraging participation."

The Come Up: a youth empowerment group created out of the Africa Centre that shares "core values and principles and presents itself as a hub of African and Caribbean youth of our greater communities."

Saskatchewan

Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan: "raising awareness of the benefits of cultural diversity and the dangers of racism since November 22, 1975." 

Manitoba

Black Space Winnipeg: "Spreading perspectives of Afrocentrism, and pro-Black conversation, Black Space Winnipeg creates safe spaces for people of colour through hosting community events, artist demonstrations and workshops."

Ontario

The Remix Project: "Our mission is to help refine the raw talents of young people in order to help them find success as participants define it and on their own terms."

COVID-19 Black Emergency Support Fund: Black Lives Matter Toronto's fundraising campaign to support the GTA's Black community through one-time stipends of $125 or $250 to Black people through an online application process.

Black Artists' Network in Dialogue (BAND): "dedicated to supporting, documenting  and showcasing the artistic and cultural contributions of Black artists and cultural workers in Canada and internationally."

Nia Centre for the Arts: a Toronto-based charitable organization that strives "to build the creative capacities and support the development of a healthy identity in Black youth."

Obsidian Theatre Company: "produces plays from a world-wide canon focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the works of highly acclaimed Black playwrights. Obsidian provides artistic support, promoting the development of work by Black theatre makers and offering training opportunities through mentoring and apprenticeship programs for emerging Black artists."

Toronto artist Noor Khan has offered to help artists with grant applications: 

Harriet Tubman Community Organization: "As a non-profit agency Harriet Tubman Community Organization is dedicated to building meaningful and developmental relationships with young people, experiencing racialization between the ages of ages of 8 – 25 years old.… We provide strength-based, youth centered and culturally relevant programs that foster identity development, life skills and education."

Quebec

Never Was Average: "is dedicated to creating community-based artistic and cultural experiences. The intention behind our projects is to showcase the power that comes from sharing personal histories and inspire millennials to improve their wellness by living meaningful experiences."

Centre multiethnique de Québec: a community organization whose mission is to welcome immigrants to facilitate their settlement and promote their access to better socio-economic conditions.

Black Community Resource Centre: "a growing, resource-based organization that strengthens community capacity by providing professional support to organizations and individuals in need."

Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association: "to support the development of social, cultural, educational and economic institutions in our community."

The Black Coalition of Quebec: "defends Black and other cultural communities which are often the targets of injustice and discrimination."

New Brunswick

New Brunswick African Association: "aims to promote the arts and culture of Africa. We also want to work with other ethno cultural groups, associations, organizations (profit and non-profit) to create a vibrant community in New Brunswick."

P.E.I.

Black Cultural Society of P.E.I.

Nova Scotia

North End Opportunities Fund: a group that since 2016 has "been fundraising, applying for grants, and partnering with community groups and programs all in the service of facilitating young people getting to attend the camps and activities of their choosing."

Black Cultural Centre: "your donation will help us in our ongoing feat to Protect, Preserve and Promote Black Culture and Heritage in Nova Scotia."

Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund N.S.: "a mutual aid fund for Black individuals living throughout Nova Scotia [...] to support individuals whose lives are impacted by unexpected costs such as funds for basic necessities (food, childcare, rent, utilities); for loss of income for artists, freelancers, and gig economy workers; for seniors and the elderly, persons with disabilities; and for those already facing daily challenges of capitalism and precarious housing."

Newfoundland

Black Lives Matter N.L.: "created in light of the George Floyd murder as a forum to support and promote the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-Black racism in Newfoundland, Canada."

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