This past year was a milestone year as Unity Charity celebrated 10 years of operating and our entire team is excited to build off that momentum. Through 2017, Unity held important workshops on inclusivity, preparing facilitators by providing more knowledge of how to structure programs, and continued to create new and innovative outreach practices to ensure that our programs are well attended.
With a number of our partnerships including Sketch, R.I.S.E, Blueprint for Life, Art Starts, MLSE Launchpad, Nexus Youth Services, City of Brampton, City of Mississauga, City of Brampton, and the City of Toronto Youth Workers, Unity conducted full day anti-oppression training days with staff and artists. It is important for Unity to continue on this trajectory and have conservations that reflect movement and growth.
For the 2017 Festival we expanded our presence to include the Bloor-Mirvish Village area, David Pecaut Square (home to both Toronto Fashion Week and Luminato), Underpass Park (a new urban space inside the Waterfront/Corktown Corridor), and Geary Lane (a part of the Dovercourt Village area set to become the new neighbourhood-wide commercial renaissance).
On Thursday July 13th, the Unity Festival celebrated our annual MC/Spoken Word and Graffiti exhibition in partnership with R.I.S.E., Sketch and Vibe Arts, showcasing Toronto’s most prolific music and visual artists alongside the most promising youth performers selected from Unity, Vibe Arts, and Sketch’s city-wide after school and drop-in programs.
We were proud to host two of Canada’s leading artist educators who led the exhibition with presentations on how they empower and effect change in individuals and communities: Stephen “Buddha” Leafloor, an internationally recognized and awarded social worker, celebrated dancer and founder of BlueprintforlIfe and Dr. Audrey Hudson, an assistant professor at OCAD University where she has developed two courses on the influence of hip-hop art and design practices.
On the second day of programming we were very excited to host our annual dance and beatbox exhibition at Underpass Park. Unity was one of the first institutions to hold a major event in one of the most extensive parks built under an overpass in Canada.
For our annual free outdoor concert we relocated the event from Yonge-Dundas Square to David Pecaut Square where we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the album masterpiece “Breaking Atoms” by the legendary and highly influential hip-hop group MAIN SOURCE. Making their Unity debuts in support of the headliner were TOBi, Los Poetas, Jayd Ink, Ebhoni, and one of the best all female hip-hop groups: The Sorority.
– Andrew “Andycapp” Hicks
ARTISTS TOP ROW: Judi Lopez, Jane Doe Smith, Jayd Ink, Igho Itebu, Iced Misto, Gene One SECOND ROW: Full Circle, Emstro, Ebhoni, Vicky W., Dynesti Williams, Darcy Obokata THIRD ROW: Chris Costello, Charmie Dellar, Buddha, Bucc N Flvr, Bubz, Britta B. FOURTH ROW: Berma, Audrey Hudson, Zak’isha Brown, Yannick Green, Wavgods, Nigel Edwards (Wavgods) FIFTH ROW: Unstyled, TOBi, The Sorority, Sanae Paris, Prince Rose, Samba Squad Youth Troupe, SIXTH ROW: Randell Adjei, SoulofJL, Philly D, Rock, Parallel, Obuxum, SEVENTH ROW: Nekkrak, Moises Frank, Mobi Mawla, Michael Morales, Dj Mensa, Mel Boogie, EIGHTH ROW: Main Source, Los Poetas, Mahlikah Aweri, Maria T., Killabeatz, Justus.
Check out more performances at:
Unity Festival 2016:
Unity Charity Website: