Celebrate Emancipation Day with some of Canada’s leading Black creators and BIPOC culture makers

Measha Brueggergosman-Lee singing "Over My Head"
Measha Brueggergosman-Lee sings “Over My Head” (FreeUp! Freedom Talks)

On August 1, Canada celebrates Emancipation Day with two back-to-back hour-long specials, including a new series of engaging roundtables called FreeUp! Freedom Talks.

Last year, the House of Commons voted unanimously to designate Aug.1 as Emancipation Day across Canada — a day to celebrate, educate, and reflect on what freedom means. The date commemorates the anniversary of when Britain’s Parliament abolished slavery in the British Empire in 1834.

FreeUp! Freedom Talks roundtable featuring (L-R) Humberly Gonzalez, Lisa Berry, Tamara Podemski and Guled Abdi
FreeUp! Freedom Talks roundtable featuring (L-R) Humberly Gonzalez, Lisa Berry, Tamara Podemski and Guled Abdi (FreeUp! Freedom Talks)

The celebration begins Monday, August 1 at 8pm/8:30NT with FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2022. The performance-driven special, hosted by award-winning stage actor, writer, director and producer Ngozi Paul, will feature a colourful array of performances from Zaki Ibrahim, Shad, Hollywood Jade, Red Sky Performance and more. Plus, Canadian jazz legend with Africville roots, Joe Sealy, will be honoured as this year’s recipient of the Rosemary Sadlier Award.

This special was shot across Canada where Emancipation Day celebrations have been celebrated for years, including in St. Catharines, Ont., Owen Sound, Ont., Halifax, N.S., and in Toronto’s Little Jamaica. FreeUp! also visits St. Lawrence Hall, site of the 1851 North American Convention of Coloured Freemen, and the Buxton National Historic Site, an endpoint on the Underground Railroad.

Following the performances is FreeUp! Freedom Talks. Freedom Talks is an energetic exploration of freedom featuring moving insights and roundtables with some of Canada’s leading Black creators and BIPOC culture makers, punctuated by performances from Jully Black, TiKA, and Measha Brueggergosman-Lee

Freedom Talks trailer

7 days ago

Duration 0:51

Part of the 2-hour FreeUp! Emancipation Day special. Freedom Talks is an energetic exploration of freedom featuring moving insights and roundtables with some of Canada’s leading Black creators and BIPOC culture makers, punctuated by heartfelt performances from Jully Black, TiKA, and Measha Brueggergosman-Lee.

The full celebration airs Monday, August 1, starting at 8pm/8:30NT on CBC and CBC Gem.

Being Black in Canada logo featuring various coloured fists raised
Being Black in Canada highlights stories about Black Canadians. (CBC)

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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