September 2013 Show: The "Charter of Quebec Values", Angela Davis on the 1963 Birmingham Bombing, Tribute to Sharon Jones

In this edition of Spitifiyah Radio!, we discuss the proposed “Charter of Quebec Values” that has stirred lots of controversy this last month with some calling the Charter necessary to preserve Quebec identity and secularity while others claim it’s simply racist.

We remember the 50th anniversary of the September 15th, 1963 Birmingham Bombing - when 4 little girls died and 20 others were injured after the Ku Klux Klan planted dynamite in a church. No one was arrested for the bombings for 14 years. We will hear from Professor Angela Davis in an address given on September 15th at an event organized by the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law.  

Finally, this month's show is dedicated to the legendary and beloved American soul and funk star , Sharon Jones.  As a vocal powerhouse and charismatic stage performer  Sharon Jones has led her band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, to critical acclaim in the recent mass revival of soul and funk music. By bringing the sound of soul and funk as it was at its height in the late 1960s and 1970s, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have rocked audiences from across North America to Europe with 5 album releases since 2002 - and a new album on the horizon, "Bring the People What they Want". In therapeutic musical accompaniment to tonight's feature stories, we played a number of our favourite songs by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.  From everyone here at Spitifyah - we are sending through the radio waves our appreciation, love, and support to the humble, kind, great, sassy, soul conduit herself, Sharon Jones.  

Music played: Theme songs: Mystic, "The Life"; Michie Mee, "Don't Wanna Be Your Slave"; Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings,  "What if we all stopped paying taxes?", "Money", "This Land is Your Land", "100 Days, 100 Nights".

Listen to the show here.

August Show: Nydia Dauphin and Professor Charmaine Nelson discuss reactions to Nydia's Huffington Post article on blackface in Quebec, and Jackie Wang's revolutionary loneliness

We welcomed journalist Nydia Dauphin and Professor Charmaine Nelson who discussed reactions to Nydia's May 5th article on Huffington Post Canada entitled, “Why the Hell are Quebec Comedians wearing Blackface?”. Nydia pointed out the resurgence of blackface dawned by white Quebec comedians and offered a number of recent images demonstrating this trend. 

Her lucid commentary offered a moment to pause on the historical roots of blackface--- the transatlantic slave trade that brought millions of enslaved Africans to the Americas for more than three centuries.  Blackface minstrelsy was a popular, nostalgic site through which whites lamented the end of slavery using dark "humour" delivered in song, dance, and jokes that celebrated white fantasies of violence against black bodies.  It is a disturbing reminder of slavery’s evils and a symbol of anti-black racism. As Professor Nelson pointed out,  the McCord Museum holds broadsheets, photography, advertisements, and other paraphernalia of Canadian minstrel troupes that performed in Canada in blackface in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Nydia’s plain assertion that ugly forms of racism persist in Quebec society was mocked in many media outlets as was Professor Nelson’s response to the hostile reaction in the press.  

Professor Charmaine Nelson penned a May 28th piece in response to the reactions to Nydia’s initial blog post, entitled “Challenging Blackface is not Quebec-bashing”. In it, she writes:
“Recalling our colonial histories and challenging the disturbing re-emergence of blackface is not "Quebec Bashing." Is that where we are in 2013? Does being a "true Quebecois" imply complicity in the silence surrounding Quebec's colonial histories and contemporary forms and practices of racism? ”
Nydia is a Sustainable Food Policy Advocate. Born to parents of Haitian heritage, she was born and raised in Montreal. She blogs about Canadian and international social and political affairs related to the right to food, food sovereignty and sustainable development.  And her work has sparked a major discussion about race, racism, and representation in Montreal. 

Professor Charmaine Nelson is an Associate Professor of Art History at McGill University who has made groundbreaking contributions to the fields of the visual culture of slavery, race and representation, and Black Canadian Studies.
We also featured an excerpt from Jackie Wang’s keynote address at the conference
(En)gendering Resistance: Exploring the possibilities of gender, resistance and militancy" at the University of Waterloo held in late-April.  Revolutionary loneliness refers to the seemingly inevitably traumatizing and alienating effects of participating in revolutionary struggle, and to the sense of loneliness that the experience of gendered and racialized forms of suffering can produce. Historically, revolutionary movements have based their politics on masculine and white positions and fail to eradicate social alienation. Jackie explores the liberation narratives of militant women and gender variant revolutionaries.  

Listen to the show here.

July Show: Bethany Or from the film Être Chinois au Quebec, immigration policy, poetry, Trayvon Martin verdict

Victoria interviews Bethany Or in studio, to speak about a new documentary she co-created, called Être Chinois au Quebec.

From the film's website:

How do young Chinese living in Québec feel about themselves, their community and their place here? What do they know about the history of Sino-Québec?These are some of the issues to be explored by this film.

In the wake of the Apology given by the Canadian government in 2006 and the partial redress for the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act, many in the Chinese community feel the need to explore their place in this society and the need to be included. This film will explore the younger generation of Sino-Québecois and their struggles of identity, integration and building a life for themselves in this province. The filmmakers will search out the Chinese settlements in the different regions of Québec as well in the metropole of Montreal. This journey of discovery starts today as we see Québec through the eyes of two young Chinese, Bethany and Parker. 

We also featured a poem by Preeti.

Malek spoke about recent changes to Canadian immigration policy.

Alyssa discussed various recent news item and provided a commentary on the Trayvon Martin verdict. 

Listen to the show here

June Show: Racism in Quebec

When Nydia Dauphin published a post on HuffPost Canada on May 16th, bells and whistles went off; sirens even.  Her crime:  pointing out the resurfacing of blackface minstrelsy in Quebec.  Dauphin was responding specifically to the dawning of Blackface by Mario Jean at the annual comedy award show, the Gala Les Olivier.  The show aired on Radio Canada.  Jean was apparently attempting to impersonate a black comedian.

Dauphin's post also included a slideshow of blackface performances  by white Quebeckers in recent years and provided some much-needed context of the offensiveness of these sitings and her personal observations as a black quebecker.

We, as women of colour, lamented the reaction and the outpouring of mischaracterizations and attempts to dismiss Dauphin's remarks.  Flat out defenses of blackface were given in media.  The assertion that ugly forms of racism persist in Quebec society were mocked.

As a show that comes together every month to say NO to the silencing of the voices of women of color, to provide a platform for women of color to have self-determination as they discuss their lived experiences, we felt compelled to spend this month's show looking more closely at racism in Quebec today.  From the resurgence of blackface to the Quebec Soccer Federation's initial ban on the wearing of religious headware to the hostile reactions in the press at the assertion that racism persists in Quebec today, we took to the airwaves to give voice to our experiences as women of color members of the press confronting this discourse head-on.

To that end, we spoke with illustrious critic, writer, podcaster, and artist Fariha Roisin.

Alyssa Clutterbuck  also responded to the denials that blackface, slavery, and other forms of anti-black racism form part of Quebec's history in her piece, "Are people still denying that slaves were brought to New France by French settlers?”

Mercedes Bonair presented a personal testimony of growing up in Little Burgundy in Montreal.

We also had a reading by Lili Dao - The Silencing of Racism in Quebec, which is a book review of Jan Wong’s Out of the Blue.

Listen to the show here.

May 2013 Show

Malek reported on the Status For All March which took place earlier this month in Montreal. 

We also featured a special report by Alyssa Clutterbuck on Assata Shakur and her recent placement by the FBI on their list of Most Wanted Terrorists. Shakur is the first woman and the second domestic target to be added to the list.  Alyssa discussed the implications of this action and the four decade long hunt for Assata and what she represents for the US government. 

Mercedes Bonair facilitated the second installment of our roundtable discussion on race, media, and pop culture. 

Listen to the show here.

April 2013 Show

We welcomed back into the studio, journalist and critic Christiana for an interview with Mercedes Bonair about  the Funny or Racist Panel Discussion that took place at McGill on March 28th. 

We also featured an exciting piece from Mercedes, who discussed the film “Life is but a Dream”, a recent documentary about Beyonce.   We then held a roundtable session, on the question of the representation of women of colour in popular culture.

Listen to the show here.

March 2013 Show

We started our March show with a piece by Preeti Dhaliwal on a crime that has received widespread international media attention - the rape of a young woman in India.

In honour of International Women's Day, Malek Yalaoui reported on a demonstration held in Montreal celebrating this event. 

Alyssa Clutterbuck covered the vicious responses to those speaking out against rape in the wake of the convictions of two boys in Stubenville, Ohio. They were charged with sexually assaulting an unconscious girl, an incident that was captured on video and widely circulated on social media outlets.

We also featured an exciting piece by Victoria Nam, who turned a critical eye to Status Quo, a new documentary by Karen Cho, exploring the state of feminism and the status of women in Canada. We then held a roundtable discussion, where fellow Spitfiyahs weighed in. 

Listen to the show here

February 2013 Show

Mae interviewed  sex educator and burlesque performer Lorraine Hewitt in Toronto.

In honour of Black History Month, Alyssa Clutterbuck reported on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and today's US Supreme Court’s hearings on the matter.  

Malek Yalaoui brought us a report on the sexaul assaults and acts of violence against women in the Tahrir Square protests, as well as on the worldwide day of action that took place this month  calling for an end to the violence.

We also welcomed black feminist writer and critic Christiana Collison as our in-studio guest.  Mercedes Bonair interviewed Christiana on her recent piece “Complicating Space - Safe Space and the Politics of  Privilege and Marginality” which was published earlier this month in the McGill Daily.  

Listen to the show here

January 2013 Show

We featured an interview from McGill artist KOSI whose art will be exhibited next Wednesday, February 6th at O Patro Vys.

Alyssa brought us a report on a story not getting the attention and care it deserves: The survivors of the “Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children” have broken their silence and are now suing in a class action suit for the sexual and physical abuse they suffered, or what one survivor describes as “torture”

Alyssa also gave a small comment on President Obama’s second inauguration and Merlie Evers’ Williams, long-time Civil Rights Activist, who delivered of the 2013 invocation

We also  hosted a round-table discussion about recent headlines this month -- The removal of Kwaanza as proposed by Senator Glen Grothman -- also the controversial film Django Unchained.   

Listen to the show here.

December 2012 Show

Alyssa reported on the Idle No More Movement, a nationwide grassroots movement to protest the Harper government’s harsh policies and treatment of First Nations peoples.

We also heard from Mercedes about reality TV and its portrayal of Black men.

Spitfiyah also caught up with D’Bi Young, dub poet and playwright, when she was in town for her show last month.

Lastly, Alyssa spoke about Republican opposition to the reauthorization of the  Violence Against Women Act, the main piece of federal legislation which addresses domestic violence, and what it could mean for Native Women.

Listen to the show here.