Ebenezer Inkumsah has organized two events as part of Barrie’s Black History Month celebration. – Chris Simon/Metroland
The Barrie resident has been organizing local Black History Month activities for more than two decades. This year’s celebration includes two large events planned in February.
A concert honouring late Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti runs Feb. 9. The concert will feature Femi Abosede. Kuti was an Afro Jazz innovator who shaped the music scene on continental Africa, Inkumsah said.
“We put events together every year,” he said. “History is skewed because it’s always told by the victors. But Black History (Month) celebrates the accomplishments. We just want the community to come out, celebrate and enjoy.”
Admission to the Kuti tribute is $25 and it takes place at Five Points Theatre, 1 Dunlop St. W., at 7:30 p.m.
On Feb. 23, Sankofa Through Sound with Tuku, Lisa Michelle, Najla Nubyanluv and Amina Alfred will be held at Georgian Theatre, 1 Georgian Dr. Admission is free and the event, which is geared toward students, begins at 9:30 a.m.
Sankofa translates into ‘go back and get it’ in Ghana’s Twi language. The event is intended to be a musical and visual odyssey, told from the viewpoint of people of African descent living away from home.
“It’s not what is (typically) in the media; it’s for us, by us,” Inkumsah said. “It’s our narrative. We’re there to share our heritage and culture while we highlight the contributions of African people around the world.”
Ghana and West Africa was considered the hub of the slave trade, he said.
The Barrie area played a prominent role in African-Canadian history. Between 1819 and 1831, settlement of black people along Wilberforce Street in Oro Township was sponsored by the government of Upper Canada. Among the black settlers were veterans of the War of 1812.
After generations in Oro-Medonte, the black families moved to find better jobs — some settled as shipbuilders in Collingwood — because soil conditions in the township were poor.
However, the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church remained and is now a National Historic Site of Canada.
Further details can be found at barrie.ca/theatretickets.