Celebrating Black identity in Park Extension

Brique par Brique and Afro X host party to mark Black History Month

Angolan musician Ndaka Yo Wiñi was one of the artists performing at the event. Photo: Afro X and Brique par Brique.

It was all fun, dancing and music at Brique par Brique’s newly renovated community space on Beaumont last Friday during their Black History Month celebration. 

Afro X, a newly founded Black community association in Park Ex, hosted the party with the collaboration of Brique par Brique.

The event included music by world-renowned artists including musicians Ndaka Yo Wiñi and Ilam, free food provided by Park Extension resident Mahmood Baig and a documentary film screening of majorMinority by Khalid S. Z.

Great evening

“The evening, it was great, it went very well. We’re very happy with the way it turned out,” said Khalid S. Z., founder of Afro X and director of majorMinority.

“There was food for those invited and some great artists who showed up who are quite well-known in Montreal and internationally actually.” 

“The main thing was to celebrate Black History Month, while at the same time launching and introducing Afro X, which is a black association of Park Ex,” added Khalid, noting that it was one of the new branches of the Brique par Brique organization.

“I just wanted to also create an association that was more generic, more inclusive that will include everyone,”

Afro X

Founded a few months ago, Afro X prides itself as a Black community association in Park Extension, “with particular attention towards all Afro-descendants from Africans to Haitians to Latin America to the Islands, so basically, it’s for everyone that has a link to Africa,” said Khalid.

Khalid recognized the exceptional work done by other community groups in Park Extension but wanted to create a new one that was more inclusive and open to all Black and afro-descendant people in the neighbourhood. The organization will work to foster better representation of racialized people both in Park Ex and across the island.

“I just wanted to also create an association that was more generic, more inclusive, that will include everyone,” added Khalid. He explained that Afro X could better serve people and create a sense of community among those who do not necessarily speak French or English.

“Africans and Afro-descendants from around the world that are situated in Park Ex, that can speak different languages from Creole to Patois, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and many of the endless African languages, just together, we let them know, we are not invisible, we exist as well,” he continued.

Brique par Brique and Afro X hosted a party to mark Black History Month last Friday. Photo: Afro X and Brique par Brique.

MajorMinority documentary 

While the evening was marked with dancing and music from the invited artists, a movie screening was also on hand for those in attendance. The premiere of the documentary MajorMinority was screened in the back room of the space.

The new documentary, written and directed by Khalid S. Z. over the past 7 years,  tackles themes of visibility and representation among Black people in Canada. 

“Especially in countries like Canada, and in a big metropolis like Montreal or Toronto, where we say that it is very multicultural and there is a huge diversity. We know that. But we don’t actually see enough representation of people of colour on the ads around the cities,” stated Khalid. 

Language and representation 

The documentary also looks at the use of language and words in that experience. “We use visible minority, what does it actually mean?” asked Khalid, “how does it actually affect us? A visible minority, that basically translates into minority which means inferiority, visible minority equals invisible in society,” he added.

“We have to flip the narrative,” remarked Khalid. “The most important thing, I believe, is empowerment and education, to let them know that in Park Ex every single person is a different rich spice and that Canada is actually using this to create this amazing cuisine.” 

Khalid said educating people and letting them know that their presence and their contributions to society are valued will contribute to their sense of empowerment and better communities overall. 

Ilam, Ndaka Yo Wiñi and Khalid S. Z. last Friday at the celebration. Photo: Afro X and Brique par Brique.