Estimated Reading time: 9 minutes

Happy Monday,

Various Toronto events in September highlighted encouraging pockets of diversity and inclusion. The Toronto International Film Festival returned to being fully in-person. One of the TIFF panels was called ‘Microsession: Underrepresented to Unstoppable’ discussing the importance of increasing representation, equity, and inclusion within the film industry.

On the panel were Franklin Leonard, Minhal Baig, Natalie Morales, and moderator Kevin Warren, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer of UPS. Some of the memorable quotes were:

"Hollywood is the least diverse business sector in the US. It’s less diverse than oil and gas, less diverse than finance, less diverse than Donald Trump’s cabinet was.”

-FranklinLeonard, CEO & Founder, The Black List

“We are still a little bit behind in responding to what audiences actually want to see. Because it’s not what a bunch of CEOs at the top feel like people want to watch because if that were true, you would have more people going to theatres than ever.”

-Minhal Baig, director of One Night and Hala and writer of BoJack Horseman

“There’s three archetypes [for a Latina actress]. It’s either the maid, the sexy seductress, or the New York Rican and tough girl. And I never really fit into any of those rules. They felt inauthentic."

-Natalie Morales, Parks, and Recreation actress and Language Lessons director

While there is more to do, it’s important to celebrate what has been achieved in bringing audiences closer to the kind of stories they want told.

Several new and established BIPOC Toronto-based Canadian filmmakers had their films premiere at TIFF. Toronto talent includes director V.T. Nayani and writer Stephanie Sonny Hooker for This Place, gender-fluid director Joseph Amenta for Soft, director, Clement Virgo and actor, Lamar Johnson for Brother, director Hubert Davis for Black Ice, Tyler Mckenzie Evans for Diaspora, and Nisha Pahuja for To Kill A Tiger, and Kelly Fyffe-Marshall for When Morning Comes. Vancouver-based Anthony Shim released Riceboy Sleeps. Director, Darlene Naponse from Northern Ontario released Stellar. Director Madison Thomas from Winnipeg released Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On.

Toronto's Elevate tech conference launched Canada's first 4-month NFTresidency program for underrepresented creators. The goal is to empower the creators to thrive in the NFT art space. The cohort showcased art pieces at Elevate’s NFT Art Gallery, in the historic Design Exchange.

The inaugural Legacy Awards, Canada's first all-Black awards ceremony was co-hosted by Scarborough-born actors and siblings, Shamier Anderson and Stephan James on Sunday, September 26th.

The 90-minute live show celebrated achievements in film, television, music, sports, and culture, and featured emerging and established Black Canadian talent.

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Publisher, Spinning Forward


"To have space, to hold space for the amount of Black talent that we have here, for future generations will tell them that they matter, that there is so much room for them, to tell them to aim higher. And I can't wait to see what happens with this in 25 years."

Amanda Brugel, on the inaugural Legacy Awards, Canada's first all-Black awards ceremony. Actress in The Handmaid's Tale, Kim's Convenience, and Sort Of





September 27, 2022

Power Hour: Russna Kaur, Brampton, Online, 12 pm ET

Art Battle Toronto, The Great Hall, Toronto, 7:30 pm ET

Ibeyi Afro-French Cuban musical duo, Danforth Music Hall Theatre, 7 pm ET

September 28, 2022

Meet & Greet and live performance with Avanti Nagral Day 1, Artist and Creator, Madras Kaapi, Toronto, 6 pm ET

Denzel Curry - Melt My Eyez Tour, Rebel, 7 pm ET

September 29, 2022

Manman La Mer, Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto, 7:30 pm ET

September 30, 2022

Concert Commemorate Truth & Reconciliation: Tomson Highway, Rebecca Cuddy, Sarain Fox, Online, 8 pm ET

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, The Rose Theatre, Brampton, 7 pm ET

October 1, 2022

Flower City Slam, Featuring Ontario’s First Poet Laureate, Randell Adjei, Hosted by Lamoi, Brampton, 8 pm ET


Just For Laughs Toronto Comedy Festival 2022, September 22 to October 1st, 2022, Toronto, 42 appearances, Various times

Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), September 22 to October 2, Toronto, 200+ Events & Activities