Black in Your Faculty 2017/2018

 

Black in Your Faculty 2017/18 Submissions 

We are happy to present 2018’s Black in Your Faculty submissions! We are proud to begin what will hopefully be a tradition of charting Blackness at Ryerson, so thank you to those who have submitted! Along with the submissions are personal descriptions to compliment the pieces!

 



 

Name: Miriam Asoh

Faculty: Faculty of Communication and Design

Program: Creative Industries

Year: 1

Celestial Bodies /  Black Bodies 

 

Tell us about this piece.

My piece is called “Celestial Bodies / Black Bodies”. It is a notebook sized, multi-media zine created through collage, paint, magazine cutouts and text. It is about 20 pages, front and back.

 

How has your experience been in your faculty? 

There are not many people of colour in my program, so that in itself is incredibly jarring and can be isolating. However, I’ve grown to be more confident and secure as a black bisexual woman and I’ve begun to reach out to other radicalized individuals in other programs within FCAD. I found that joining clubs and going to FCAD events has helped me branch out, as there are others who, like me, are simply searching for spaces of belonging. I am sure that as the years go on, I will be able to connect with more folks within FCAD and eventually feel at home.

 

Why is this piece important to you?

This piece is important to me because it allowed me to illustrate my thoughts and feelings about black bodies in white spaces, as well as in space/existence in general. Growing up, I was always expected to stay quiet, polite and not cause “controversy”. However, I’ve come to realize that by “shutting up”, I am doing a disservice to myself, as an individual, and my beliefs. I want to continue to stand up and speak out about what I believe in. Furthermore, when it comes to black liberation, I feel like the conversation often ends at the liberation of straight, cis and able-bodied (etc.) black men and I no longer want to accept that. This piece allowed me to express my (valid) anger towards the varying degrees of oppression that black folks face, as well as celebrate black beauty and excellence.

  


 

Name: Des B

Faculty: Faculty of Community Services

Program: Social Work

Year: 4

 

Chopsticks – Des B

 

Tell us about the piece.

This piece is a poem I wrote about a time where I went to a Dim Sum place with my friends. The rest of the piece should speak for itself.

 

How has your experience been in your faculty?

It has been an overall great experience. Being in Social Work has helped me identify and name many of oppressions I have been experiencing throughout my life. The program has exposed me to diverse perspectives and people that I feel I would not have met if I were a part of any other program.

 

Why is this piece important to you?

I often write poetry as a way to express feelings I have a hard time describing in the moment. I am mainly glad that this piece can act as a catharsis for me and can hopefully relate to other people.


 

Name: Shane LaTouche

Faculty: FCAD School of Graduates

Program: Media Production

 Year: MA/One Year

 

Nicks’s Cologne

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Tell us about your piece.

The title of this piece is “Nick’s Cologne.” These are photos that I took of my best friend Nick and they aim to showcase his experience and his emotions through photography. When I look at these photos, I remember my best friend’s smile, his laughter, and most importantly, how he experiences joy.  And it reminds me that even as black men, we are still all capable of experiencing “black boy joy.”

How has your experience been in your faculty?

Being Black at Ryerson has been a journey to say the least. From being a timid, nervous 1st year student to a much more confident graduate student, I’ve experienced both discrimination and the support of the small but powerful multicultural communities at Ryerson. It’s difficult when we don’t get to see a lot of our faces walking around on campus, so it’s important for groups like the BLC to create spaces where students like myself can find a place where we feel like we belong. I also see that stereotyping Black students has become a normalized behaviour for some people who aren’t Black, and there needs to be more education surrounding the narratives of Black people that we see in the media. These narratives don’t always represent the reality of Black individuals. Just because someone is Black or dresses a certain way, doesn’t mean that they are bad or that you are free to pre-judge them. We are all human beings and are more similar than we are different.

  

Why is this piece important to you?

This piece is important to me because it shows both sides of the coin of being a Black man. Sometimes we live in the world of street smarts, hood politics, and African American Vernacular English. And other times, we live in a world of sophistication, limited freedom, education, and professionalism. But overall, we are expected to be Black men, and we aren’t always given the freedom to smile or be sensitive. I wanted these photos to showcase the fact that we are allowed  to be happy, we are allowed have emotions, and we are allowed to be free.

 

 

Humans of Dancehall – Shane LaTouche

 

  Tell us about this piece.

This piece is a part of my online gallery and social photography project called “Humans of Dancehall”. It features a friend of my who was also heavily influenced by the choreography-side of the Dancehall culture. The project “Humans of Dancehall” is based on “Humans of New York” and features interviews with the people of the Dancehall world. I interview Dancehall dancers, DJs, artists, personalities, managers and more and aim to tell their stories through significant quotes from their interviews. You can view more pieces from this project here: www.instagram.com/humansofdancehall

How has your experience been in your faculty?

Loving Dancehall music in university has been an interesting experience. I’m not always welcomed with people who are familiar with Dancehall due to a decline in media coverage of the genre. I grew up in the Toronto Dancehall scene between 2000-2010 when it was at it the pinnacle of its popularity, and I was able to really absorb how rich the Dancehall culture was during this time. Going into 1st year in 2010, I witnessed a slowing down in the production of Dancehall music and most of my classmates didn’t seem to understand or care about what was happening with Dancehall. In fact, many of them viewed the music and the culture as something negative, vulgar, degrading, and “ghetto”, all in partial fault of the videos on social media and the lyrical content of the songs. It became somewhat difficult to bring such an aspect of myself into Ryerson, but now, as a graduate student, I see how the value in exploring such an expansive and culturally rich genre.

 

 

Why is this piece important to you?

 This piece is important to me because as a kid who grew up loving Dancehall, I witnessed both the evolution of the genre and the decline in plays. And now, I am currently witnessing the resurgence of Dancehall music in various new forms from new, non-Jamaican artists. But I also think it’s important to both acknowledge and respect both the people and the place from where the original sound and culture came from, Jamaica.

 

 

Excerpts from Boy With the Blue Heart

 

Tell us about this piece.

These are some excerpts from a poetry book that I am currently in the process of writing. They express my experiences with depression, love, and other real life struggles, giving form to my both my thoughts and raw emotions.

 

 How has your experience been in your faculty?

Over the course of my undergraduate education at Ryerson (2010-2014) I was unknowingly battling depression. I had no idea what was going on with myself and I wasn’t given a diagnosis until 2014 when I finally went to see a doctor after a dramatic weight-loss of 50 pounds within a very short period of time. I never understood how severe my depression was until it started affecting my relationships and everyday life. And to think that I was dealing with this throughout my education made me realize that I had never had these important conversations about mental health while in school. And I most certainly did not talk about them at home. But it also makes me think that if I had an understanding of what mental illness is and what it means to be depressed, I may have been able to seek help sooner. These conversations need to be held, and they are especially essential for people of colour who face these battles everyday.

  

Why is this piece important to me?

These poems in particular are important to me because I believe that I am not the only one who has experienced the thoughts and emotions that I address here. I feel like communication is so important in addressing mental illness and it’s also important to be open, and to not just talk, but to listen. There are those of us who suffer in silence with mental illness and I want these students and people to know that they are not alone, that they can get better, and that this isn’t it… that there actually is a light at the end of the tunnel.