SHADE - Director Michael NguyenShade is an irresistible shout-out to all those who think when it comes to beauty, white is right. This crackling short features two young Somali poets, Zeinab Aidid and Shadiya Aidid, who deliver the goods on the pressure that black and brown people feel to conform to western notions of beauty. Fun, irreverent and uplifting, Shade is crisp and stylistic, with an unforgettably confident spoken word performance by two intrepid young poets.
Traditional Opening By Clayton Shirt
Zeinab Aidid is a Toronto based writer and spoken word artist. Her work is fragments of what it means to navigate the world as a black muslim woman. @zayyaidid
Shadiya Aidid is a Poet, Fashion Designer and DJ, Shadiya Aidid weaves stories through her art about female empowerment, black excellence and environmental justice @shashafunk
Audrey Hudson is an artist, educator and researcher. Audrey is a faculty member at OCAD University where she developed a course on the influence hip hop has on art and design practices. Currently, she is teaching an art and design education course in collaboration with OCAD University and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Audrey recently defended her PhD thesis at University of Toronto/OISE entitled, “Decolonizing Indigenous Youth Studies: Photography and Hip Hop as Sites of Resilience”. She believes the arts are a way to bring these rich knowledges and voices of young people into pedagogical spaces to discuss histories of colonization, race, representation and sovereignty. Audrey views the arts as a tool to begin decolonizing education because of the creative platform it provides for historically marginalized communities.
Rich Kidd Since his ascension from local underground stardom to national fame in the past couple of years, Toronto's best-kept secret Rich Kidd is now out in the open. With a landmark year that saw him spread his name all over the world, Rich has been steadily amassing praise from industry greats and music critics for his 360-degree musical vision: as a visionary artist, world-class producer, and electrifying performer. From his very first steps as a producer, Rich Kidd's name has been synonymous with quality and it didn’t take long for him to get in the studio with the country’s best like Drake, Kardinal Offishall, K-os, Shad, and Saukrates, adding underground classics, commercial hits and award-winning projects to his resume. Letting the music speak for itself, Rich Kidd’s name and signature sound traveled the globe with his compilations We On Some Rich Kidd Shit Vol. 1-7, his beat tapes Kiddstrumentals Vol. 1 & 2 and with collaborative work under his belt with rap greats like Busta Rhymes, Redman, Raekwon, DMX, and Talib Kweli, each time bringing him closer into the radar of rap royalty. Whether it comes from joy or pain, sampled-based or entirely original, the constant with Rich Kidd’s sound is the attention to bass, giving a certain feel to his music that takes the listener on an emotional ride. Lyrically, his depth of vision and perspective mirrors the production style. A comedian and a realistic, he writes music that is above all human. In the past year, Rich Kidd has cemented his reputation on every front. His collaborative album The Closers with SonReal took him on the road for months, his solo project In My Opinion delivered his biggest singles to date with "Syke" and "I'd Be Lying". Kiddstrumentals Vol. 2 and We On Some Rich Kidd Shit Vol. 7 cemented his stature as a producer, and Naturally Born Strangers a pioneering project with Toronto clothing line TheLegendsLeague showcased his range. The Closers and In My Opinion went on to be nominated by the JUNO Awards for Rap Recording of the Year respectively in 2013 and 2014, leading to the Naturally Born Strangers being nominated and eventually winning the award in 2015. Now with a debut album on the way, anticipation is sky high as there seems to be no limit to what the Kidd can do.
Clayton Shirt: Clayton is from the Wolf Clan of Saddle lake Alberta, Treaty 6. He has been working as a Traditional Teacher and Healer for more than 10 years in the Native and multi-cultural community in Canada. He was taught in the old way, working for many years with the guidance of a number of Aniishnawbe Elders (Zaawawagaabo) and other First Nations Elders in Canada and the United States, and was taught to do traditional ceremonies, teachings, circles and one-to-one work, and to help all people to “walk in a good way” though life.
David Strickland - David Gordon Strickland was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario and grew up in the infamous Gilder Housing Project. His family, from Newfoundland, Labrador and Northern Quebec have strong French roots that trace back to Samuel De Champlain, along with deep seeded Mi'kmaq and Northern Cree roots. Being a First Nations youth growing up in the housing projects of Toronto wouldn’t stop David from dreaming big.
The rise of Hip Hop music in the early 1980’s gave Strickland an opportunity to learn this new culture of B-boying, DJing and the art of rap bringing a renewed passion into his life. He began to learn about music production after borrowing a EMU SP120 drum machine and sampler for a weekend, transforming the would be DJ-MC into an aspiring young record producer. By the year 1992 Strickland was enrolled in a Radio Broadcasting Program at Humber College and he continued his education graduating with honours from the Trebas Institute for Audio Engineering.
A couple years later he met his mentor, Master Recording and Mixing Engineer- Noel “Gadget” Campbell. He worked alongside Gadget and Sam Weller at Audio Flex Studios, SLAM and Studio 306 in Toronto. He quickly enlisted in a training camp for professional sound engineers moving on to commanding the school’s Technical Maintenance Departments as well as teaching positions in Engineering and Production.
By the late 1990’s Strickland was working with such artists as KOS, Ghetto Concept, Jelleestone, Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, Jully Black, Tara Chase, Marvel, Da Grassroots, Point Blank and Choclair. In 1999 Choclair’s debut album “Ice Cold” went Certified Gold in Canada winning a Juno Award for Best Rap Album. Strickland was a lead engineer on the Glenn Lewis album entitled “World Outside My Window” which won the Juno Award for RnB Album of the year, went Platinum in both America and Canada and nominated for a Grammy for RnB Album of the Year.
In 2004 David continued to make his mark in Canadian Music gaining attention and nominations for awards and plenty of radio airplay while working with Big Black Lincoln, KOS and Divine Brown. From 2005-2009 he began travelling to the United States collaborating with artist such as Redman, Method Man, Keith Murray, Wu Tang Clan and the Legendary producer Erick Sermon of EPMD.
Grammy Award winning producer Noah “40” Shebib and long-time friend of Strickland’s began working with Drake on his first instalment “So Far Gone”. Making waves in America the album became the first Mixtape Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Shebib quickly enlisted Strickland to work on Drake’s debut album “Thank Me Later” which was released in 2010 and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. As the momentum grew so did the opportunities to work with artist like Jamie Foxx , Sade and Rick Ross.
In 2012 David won his first Grammy for his work on Drake’s album “Take Care” which won the award for Best Rap Album. He continues to be one of the most sought after producers in Canada with his latest collaborations on Que Rock’s Pass The Torch and Erick Sermon's E.S.P.
Strickland is set to launch his first ever producer’s album that will combine First Nations with mainstream Hip Hop and RnB Artists. David’s life has seen many challenges but he has persevered and succeeded at the top of the Canadian music industry for nearly two decades.
For many years David has lived a traditional life, being involved with the Anishnawbe Health Center in Toronto participating in daily First Nations ceremonies such as smudging, talking circles and a weekly sweat lodge. He has combined these traditional and cultural teachings into his work and over the years developed a unique artistic expression through drawing and painting. To date he has produced hundreds of pieces and has paintings featured in several galleries throughout the greater Toronto area. Donating many works of art to communities across Canada he is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for murdered and missing Aboriginal Women and important social issues. He has close ties to elders and communities in the Maritimes and Ontario and is accepted as a Mi'kmaq brother.
David Strickland is one of the few Indigenous Audio Engineers in North America. He owns and operates The Eagle's Nest and Aboriginal Audio in Toronto and was just recently featured in a VICE documentary by Noisey called "First Out Here, Indigenous Hip Hop. He continues to build recording studios for business and community projects across the GTA and is a positive force in music, the arts and an inspiration to First Nation’s Youth across North America.
David has dedicated his life to this healing power because for him it all begins and ends with The Music.