Realizing the dream of an Afro-Black cultural centre in Ottawa
Wise Atangana at the debut of his fundraiser for an Afro-Black cultural centre in Ottawa. (Shaun Vardon / CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- Wise Atangana released his new album Friday, called “Justice for Peace – Black Lives Matter”. His goal is to raise $100,000 to help created an Afro-Black Cultural Centre in downtown Ottawa.
He’s doing this by selling one thousand CD packages for $100 each. For that, you get a CD, one digital album and one ticked for an exclusive online show.
Originally from Cameroon, in Central Africa, this Canadian performer, songwriter and motivational speaker was inspired to spearhead the project after the killing of George Floyd in the U.S. in May and the Black Lives Matter marches that took place around the globe.
“I did that album because I was trying to understand what systematic racism is, what’s the cause, what’s the consequence and what’s the solution to really fight systematic racism and anti-black racism in Canada,” Atangana said. “If you want to do something very concrete an Afro-Black cultural centre is something you need to bring that vision to life.”
Rawlson King, the councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe and co-chair of the Police Service Community Equity Committee, was on hand for the project launch along with Somerset Ward councilor Catherine McKenney.
King feels and Afro-Black cultural center in Ottawa is long overdue.
“I’m excited by the prospect of an Afro-Black cultural centre in Ottawa because it would give youth amazing opportunities around arts and culture,” King said. “Producing and telling their stories and building life skills and employable skills, which is an amazing synergy, so I’m absolutely supportive of this.”
King feels spreading the word in the wider community is key to its future.
“I think the key is insuring that we educate people about this initiative,” King said. “We need to engage residents to let them know that there is this initiative and get them involved.”
Atangana has more fundraising events planned for later this year and he hopes to cut the ribbon on the new downtown centre in January 2021.
“To create and Afro-Black cultural centre is first to create the opportunity for Black artists, for youth artists, to create a place where youth artists can reinforce their identity,” Atangana said. “To create a place where we can celebrate Afro-Black culture.”