(TORONTO) – In celebration of Black History Month, Afro-Caribbean-Canadian poet Akil McKenzie, in collaboration with Canadian production companies Falling Motion and Hallowed Grounds, released a four-minute video short, HISTORIANS, driving a compelling narrative around the history and experiences of people of colour, and inspiring individuals around the world to continue striving forward for racial equity. The video, now streaming on YouTube – won the Best Social Justice Film at the Vancouver Independent Film Festival this year.
“The racial uproar derived from the tragedies of 2020 brought forth an innate desire for me to use this movement as a creative outlet,” says Akil McKenzie. “The immense collaborative efforts of so many talented individuals provided a platform for us to deliver a truly compelling and inspiring video, which I hope will provide hope to everyone who needs it.”
Directed by Akil McKenzie - featuring a diverse collection of dancers, artists and various on-screen talent - the collective visual efforts accompany McKenzie’s spoken word poem. HISTORIANS captures the depth of emotions & ongoing lessons and challenges the power of perceptions, inspired by the underlying microaggressions experienced by the Black community today.
Through the HISTORIANS campaign, McKenzie drives a movement fostering hope and discussion, calling for action towards racial equity in 2021.
"As artists we carry a gift and a duty to create content through mediums, which offer a compelling platform to drive change,” states Fabio Buritica, Executive Producer, HISTORIANS. “Through Akil’s empowering poetry, he shines a light on so many issues people of colour face, and this incredible collaboration is a testament to how necessary our roles are in working to amplify this message of hope and change as we move forward together.”
The campaign includes talent throughout Canada and the United States and has been supported by RED Digital Cinema, Canada's Top Drag Queen Priyanka, and BLM Toronto. Originally released on YouTube, the video has seen immense support through Instagram, with over 18,000 views to date.
Following the racial devastations, continued brutality, inequality, and suppression of people of colour, brought again to the forefront in 2020, birthed an inspiring collective, driven by Akil McKenzie, of potent and talented individuals to capture the state of the world today. A powerful reinstatement of Black history, through inspirational and moving poetry, came an invigorating and empowering video intended to remind viewers Black is beautiful. Black is resilient. And Black Lives Matter. The HISTORIANS short is a collective effort to restore hope for the future of racial equity; for brothers and sisters needing this upliftment to maintain the courage to push forward through 2021 - a chance to move toward racial equity.
Director | Performer | Editor: Akil McKenzie
Executive Producer: Fabio Buritica
Producer: Caroline Torti
Justin Barkie | O’Shani Cardwell | Percy Anane-Dwumfour | Jendayi Dyer | Kelis Robinson |
Taylor King | Emmanuela Okon | Kema Keborku | Nenyi Keborku | Frimpong | Stevie Ray Hunter | Ayo Adeojo | Jaelen Pryor | Serge King | Reuben Taylor |Oman Okrant | Gary Scott | Cherise | Dominique Marks | Uzoma Keborku | Shawn McKenzie | Jacinta Lesmond | Sandra McKenzie | Olive McKenzie
Troy Bernard | Tantoluwa Tejumola | Jennifer Boyce | Jerick Collantes | John Galzote | Joshua Telfer | Daniel E. Forrester | Taylor King | Venessa Clarke |
Putpower | Levis Square One
Director of Photography: Cameron Roden
Director of Photography: James Arthurs
1st AC/ Music Supervisor: Alex Chung
Grip/ Gaffer: Miha Matevzic
Hair and Makeup: Rhea Lynn
Production Assistant: Jessie Thompson
Sound Recordist: Brian Herzog
Re-recording Mixer: Daniela Pinto
Colour: Christos Evangelou