Last Saturday I had the chance to attend Melanin Narratives, a local event hosted by YEG – The Come Up that focuses on different experiences that African and Caribbean Edmontonians face. For those who are not familiar with the seven letter term, it can be defined as the following:
Mel•an•in: a dark brown, close to a black pigment that can be found in the skin, hair, and iris of the eye. It provides a shield of protection from the sun’s rays and is produced by cells called melanocytes. Dark skinned people tend to have more melanin than light-skinned people and is also found in all forms of animal life.
Upon arrival at Latitude 53, the venue was filled with photographs of everyday black Edmontonians with short narratives about their experience being black in Canada. Another room consisted of visual art by local artists, my girl Dupé showed me her painted portraits of women who inspire her followed by kind spoken passages under each photo. There was even a period where local artists showcased their musical talents on the mic and uplifted attendees with their soulful sound. The vibe was on a 100 that night! The purpose of Melanin Narratives is to celebrate the everyday achievements, experiences and stories of black Edmontonians by giving them a platform to express their realities and histories, plus educate others on what it’s like to grow up black in society. With having biracial parents, I do recall a few situations where people asked me which side I embraced more. Being biracial is a mixture of cultures from around the world and we must embrace each side equally and most importantly, learn more about our cultural counterparts. Growing up was tough for I would be the odd one out due to my wild curly hair that I once wanted to be straight so that others would accept me. For years, black women are and still discriminated against for their hair, while white attributes such as straight hair, is viewed as superior. I realized that this crazy mane provided by my black mother made me unique, while the silly-yet-loving personality was a reflection of my white father. And guess what? I love them both equally! It was really cool to see that the event catered to all shades of melanin while providing narratives for each individual. It’s one thing to talk about equality, but to visually see it is beyond heartwarming. A big shout out to YEG- The Come Up for shining a limelight in all areas of black culture in Edmonton and for educating the youth! Can’t wait to see what ya’ll have in store next 🙂
Enjoy the recap!