Afro Canada, must see series!

With this documentary series, Radio-Canada is doing useful work for Black people just as I would like to do for Native Americans.

African Canada (it looks like a new federal service!) will be presented on Saturdays from August 13 to September 3 at 9 p.m. It’s not the best day of the week, nor is it the best airtime for a series like this. At the public broadcaster, the management must have come to the conclusion that it will not attract a large number of people. So, true to her bad habits, she gravitated towards the ratings side rather than the big series side.

I’ve only seen the first two episodes, but if the last two are of the caliber of the first, this will be the best documentary series I’ve seen so far this year. In a completely different genre, it is of exceptional qualityEgypt from the sky by Yann Arthus Bertrand, which TV5 just aired. In two hours I learned (and understood) more about the history of Black America than in all my study and reading.


Montreal’s Henri Pardo, who appears to have given up acting in favor of the director, takes the lead African Canada masterfully. We also owe him the screenplay. He refined it with Judith Brès, who, among other things, was involved in the screenplay of the fiction I want to be deleted. In addition to her participation as a singer, Dominique Fils-Aimé, the semi-finalist of the 3e output from The voice in Pierre Lapointe’s team, has composed music that fits perfectly into the context.

African Canada 13 young Quebecers from different backgrounds are “learning” with Aly Ndiaye as their teacher. This one, better known by his alias Webster, is absolutely impeccable. He listens, explains clearly and does not infantilize his young interlocutors. He’s a very good teacher. Webster even manages to explain the emotional charge carried by the ‘n’ word for blacks, although I’m not convinced it should be banned as it could still be useful in a historical context.


It is both history and timeliness that the series addresses. It traces the complex and surprising journey of black people in America, beginning with Mathieu da Costa, the first African to set foot on the Atlantic coast. Da Costa lived with the First Nations in the early 17th centurye Century and acted as an interpreter for Samuel de Champlain when the French explorer sailed up the St. Lawrence River. We also follow Olivier Le Jeune, a slave who was first owned by the ship’s captain, David Kirke, before being sold for 50 kroner to a Frenchman who gave him to Guillaume Couillard, ancestor of the former Premier of Quebec. Quebec is tightly woven! This young slave, commemorated on a plaque in the courtyard of the Séminaire de Québec, is one of the 4,185 slaves who worked here from 1629 to 1800. These unfortunate people were the subject of a dissertation by historian Marcel Trudel.

The series highlights characters as important as Toussaint Louverture, a key figure in the Haitian revolution, as well as anecdotal characters. Like Viola Desmond, who took a stand against discrimination at a movie theater in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. I had never noticed that to commemorate her gesture, our $10 bills face her in the opposite direction of any sign honored by our bills. Many Thanks, African Canada !

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