Montreal·Video

Fitting the stereotype doesn't disqualify you from greatness

Arrested six times in his youth for drugs and weapons, Svens Telemaque once fit an all-too-common stereotype. But now he's working to arm others with the knowledge that you don't have to be confined by your past and other people's perceptions.

Author Svens Telemaque teaches others you don't have to be imprisoned by your past

Svens Telemaque once fit an all-too-common stereotype. Now he's working to arm others with the knowledge that you don't have to be confined by your past and other people's perceptions. 2:03

As part of our series Real Talk on Race, CBC Montreal asked 10 people to share their personal stories about race. These stories are in their own words. Share yours with us on FacebookTwitter or email webquebec@cbc.ca.


"Awareness precedes change," and unfortunately, real talks on race can be an uncomfortable issue.

I wanted to address the all too common stereotype that labels young black males who have been graced with height as not being graced with brains as well.

It's too much of a common occurrence to have others believe your only contribution to society can be appropriated to athletics because you're tall and black.

Too much of common occurrence that others feel like, because you fit a supposed description, you are limited to the confines of ignorance.

But even if we do fit the description, we can always do and be better. 

Watch Svens' P.O.V. in the video above.


After he was acquitted on a gun possession charge, Svens Telemaque put an end to a life of crime, abandoning Miami, Fl. and everything that was once common to him to become who he is today. The life of turmoil he left in the past fuelled his creative abilities and transformed him into an author, speaker, and spoken word artist, with a principle interest in using his experiences to serve others.