Waveland Transforms A Downtown Toronto Office Building For Black History Month
The music non-profit celebrated the start of February by transforming the Richmond-Adelaide Centre lobby into a celebration of Black music, art and culture.
A downtown Toronto office building became a hub of Black creativity last week.
On Thursday, Feb. 1, Waveland Canada, a subsidiary of Billboard Canada publisher Arts Help, hosted a Black History Month kickoff event at Richmond-Adelaide Centre in the Financial District – an intentional decision that brought Black art and culture into the heart of the city.
“It feels amazing to bring this type of event to a workplace, basically to transform an office lobby into a space for community, for culture, for art.” Claire Eastmond, the Community Manager at Oxford Properties Group tells Billboard Canada.
The free event was intentionally accessible and communal, bringing in guests of all kinds together to converse and enjoy live performances. Although the main attraction was the musical guests, a merchandise section offered an opportunity for visitors to support locally-owned Black businesses. Canadian caricaturist Bruce Outridge even offered free portraits.
The night’s powerful performances – ranging from Kenn Lewis’ smooth steel drums, to Jasmine Kiara’s silky R&B vocals, and Desiree McKenzie’s striking spoken-word – created an upbeat and positive atmosphere. No matter who was on stage, people were smiling, laughing, dancing, and having a great time.
“The music is the most important part of it. We all love to dance, we love to celebrate, and music just brings everyone together. It’s something that everyone can feel good about,” guitarist Mario Posella, one of the event’s performers, says.
The night featured a large lineup of Black Canadian talents, such as Tova. Tova – who was nominated for R&B artist of the year at the Western Canada Music Awards in 2022 – released his new single “Willow” in November of last year, and has an upcoming project releasing in April.
“Black History Month is a celebration of love of art, Black culture, Black lives and history. It’s a moment to sit back and reflect on all the contributions to society black people have made historically, and those who will make contributions in the future,” Tova says.
Check out a video of the highlights here: