Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome to, to be continued, a stone crop symposium podcast on today's episode type and Tyler Boyce, co-collaborators siblings and organizers chat about black joy and community organizing and celebrating queer and trans black communities. Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of Timmy continued loss sharing stories have always been the way we've made ourselves known to each other and how we've learned with each other. We're challenged by profoundly different set of living circumstances and conditions that raise questions on how we make connections. I learned from stories and produce a sense of intimacy. How do we share when physical gatherings come at great expense, this podcast series acts as an extension of, to be continued traveling the queer archive and art exhibit, which is taking place September to may at the Carlton university art gallery, the show and today's conversation, both take place on unceded unsurrendered Algonquin territory.
Speaker 0 00:01:07 The intention of this show is to amplify honor and celebrate the realities of QT BiPAP folks. It's been an ongoing process to think through the ways universities and galleries and I work within them are either complicit in sustaining existing power structures or deploy to creatively and critically disarticulate them. Especially when we think to the archives that these spaces are implicated in producing towards in terms of nation making projects, as such the show is specifically designed to think through what intervening or interrupting these processes can look like today. I'm really excited to share space with folks who've worked to center the joy and lives of queer black folks. In the context of Ottawa, what does it look like to contribute to archives of community memory making and to invisibilize blackness in this city? What power dynamics are constantly there necessary to navigate? My name is Ana Shaw Hawk and I, along with Carra tyranny are the co-curators of to be continued troubling. The queer archive. The show comes out of this deep desire to build and share stories from the community. So as to reorient our relationship to land space in place, how do we envision communal knowledges? How do we raise our communities into the center when oftentimes these normative stories do not reflect us as readily with that said, I'm going to ask each of you to introduce yourself. Tyler, would you, do you want to, Oh, actually, you know what important question. Who's the eldest sibling between the two of you.
Speaker 1 00:02:32 That's a common question that we got. Uh, so who do you think the eldest sibling is? You know? Um, I think Tyler, but okay. Are you the eldest Tyler? No, no, no, but we are one year. I just look younger than Tyler. That's why. Thank you. Thank you for that.
Speaker 2 00:03:01 We can go with a little bit, a little bit of, Do you want to introduce yourself first? Does the elder?
Speaker 1 00:03:11 Yeah. Uh, sure. Um, so yeah, my name is <inaudible> my pronouns. Are he him? I'm a activist educator, student, brother, uh, person living in Ottawa and I am just gay and black and love all of that about myself and Muslim. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:03:37 Yeah. Um, so my name is Tyler voice, the one year younger sibling. Um, yeah, so I am one of the co-founders along with Tayeb of darken fruity and the darkened fruity collective aims to create space, um, for black queer and trans joy to celebrate ourselves and to build community. I'll also note that, um, both type and I are in Ottawa on the traditional lands of the <inaudible> peoples. And, um, as black folks, that's black settlers, black indigenous solidarity is something that's really important to us as individuals, but also to us as, uh, co-founders of the, and fruity collective. So really happy to jump into the conversation and thanks for having us, Anna,
Speaker 0 00:04:22 Why such a pleasure? Uh, I'm sure you got this question so often, but like siblings, activists, community organizers, like tell me, um, what was it like growing up in Ottawa, uh, and how, what happened to like motivate and mobilize the sort of different prongs of activity organizing that you both participated in and taped? Do you want to go first?
Speaker 1 00:04:46 I, I don't want to always go for as, by the way, because that's not how our life works, you know, in terms of Tyler and I, yeah, it's very much a, uh, an equal partnership, um, with like different, uh, capabilities, but also very similar ones because there's been moments in my life where toddlers needed to go first and, uh, I've needed to follow and, and vice versa. Um, and you know, growing up in Ottawa, it's kind of been that story, you know, of us trying to just navigate, uh, coming into ourselves and, you know, supporting one another in doing that, but also like carving our own path based on like our interests and our capabilities. We grew up in a community housing with our mother and our brothers. And, you know, we went to an all white, uh, school from like elementary to high school.
Speaker 1 00:05:50 And, uh, that really shaped like our activism, our sense of identity, especially coming from our family, like surrounding ourselves, w uh, starting us with culture surrounding us with love and representation of black excellence in our family. And also in culture and media, you know, we, we have memories of going to Rogers to rent a movie, and our mom would always be like, okay, where's the black film, where's the black film, you know, we'd watched rush hour, we'd watch barber shop, we'd watch, you know, all of those movies that were coming out when we were growing up in like the two thousands, uh, that were like really central to like black representation. So we always like, felt a sense of pride in our blackness. And it was just later on in life where we found for me personally, where I found pride in my awareness as well, because that way I feel like it was more of a slow progression than acceptance of my blackness.
Speaker 2 00:06:55 Yeah. That was really well said. Um, kind of like, what I'll add is that, you know, growing up in Ottawa and, you know, uh, Ottawa has experienced like a major demographic shift in the past 10 years, uh, in terms of like the number of black people. So me and Tanya were born in Ottawa, both our parents immigrated to Ottawa. So our household was very much like, uh, uh, very African, very proud, um, black household, but kind of like the city just wasn't always there. Um, despite how much it's changed today, right? Like today, black folks in Ottawa are, I think, one of the, the largest, um, quote unquote, physical minority groups in the city. So kind of your question around how that's shaped our activism and shaped our experience is that from a young age, it was always us creating spaces for ourselves in the public.
Speaker 2 00:07:51 So whether that meant, uh, in elementary school hosting a protest, because our teacher said we couldn't wear a do rags to a high school, always being the ones who are advocating and organizing our black history month assembly. And having white teachers tell us that we shouldn't have a black history month assembly. Um, it kind of moved in to our adult lives of understanding that, you know, both of us being queer on top of that, that again, and again, what it means as black people, as queer people, and especially as black queer people, is that creating spaces for ourselves is always going to be part of the game. And it's something that needed type of been doing for a long time. So I guess for, for me, it's really, um, powerful that now, you know, in my adult life, I get to work with my brother on again, um, through and fruity just curating that space for us to, to be together as brothers, but also for us to build community and to show these like the younger, you know, other queer people in this city, other black queer, and trans people in the city specifically that we deserve, we're deserving of space.
Speaker 2 00:09:03 We're going to take up space regardless of what anyone says and us celebrating our joy is, is going to be a part of Ottawa period.
Speaker 0 00:09:12 Yeah. Thank you. You know, I really love, um, the story about like going to blockbuster and where the emphasis is on finding representations of blackness, even in sort of mainstream narratives. Right. Um, and I'm wondering like, like I love the sweetness of that memory, because so often when we talk about racialized experiences, it's often so deficit based and not about the joy and not about like the living thriving ness of our beings. And I wonder like, as youth, um, in you're signaling to the fact that like so many of the spaces don't automatically make space for black youth. And so you had to like advocate for yourself and do that labor to produce those moments for yourself and for your peers. Were there ever any moments that, you know, you either went to a community event or that a person that you met that like actually validated and helped you grow as a young person growing up in this city? Tyler, do you want to go first?
Speaker 2 00:10:14 Yeah. Um, that's a really good question in terms of like people that have helped me grow, um, as a black queer person in this city. I really just think that, um, it's been, you know, tidy up my brother. I think that one of the reasons that we wanted to start darken fruity was because we have been really lucky to always have each other throughout this whole being young, black queer and in the city kind of lifestyle. So it was always, you know, always having a friend to go to your first queer club with, it was always having a friend to go to your, your first protest with, it was always having a friend that was going to be down to support you with whatever idea you had to make the city a more warm and welcoming place for black queer folks. And I feel that at the end of the day, you know, I think we can always find mentors in Ottawa specifically that are black folks doing amazing work. But I think what was, what was missing in terms of that mentorship was the intersection. So to hop like a black queer person, someone who can see us, like for our blackness, for sure, but also like for our queer identity. So, yeah, I think just like having like a peer, like my brother would definitely be that kind of, um, supporting, supporting role that I had growing up.
Speaker 1 00:11:40 Yeah. I'll just echo that, you know, we're so lucky to be two queer brothers, let alone two black queer brothers in this city, because I talked to people through the networks that I'm a part of and organized for. And they're always saying to me, like, I wish I had a black, like queer brother as well, like other black gay men. And, you know, saying like, you know, it would have made going to the club, uh, easier. I would feel safer, you know, going out with someone, if I could text someone and let them know where I'm going. And, you know, I can't do that because I don't have someone who's gonna understand or even cares. So toddlers really been that person for me, showing me, uh, and us showing each other, like, uh, the way in a way. And I, I'd also say, you know, we both did time abroad living in Nairobi and Mombasa and living in Kenya basically.
Speaker 1 00:12:40 And, you know, we, we S we got to see different sides of like what it meant to be queer, uh, in an East African context, because Nairobi is one of the most, uh, gay, friendly, queer friendly, uh, places in East Africa. But that's not saying much because there's still the problems that arise there. Um, and part of my work, uh, while I was there doing human rights advocacy for LGBT communities was to communicate with folks from, uh, Uganda, uh, folks from, uh, who are Kenyan and are queer and are in need of support. And those are the stories and connections that really taught me, you know, what it was like to, uh, embrace my queerness because, uh, like them, I saw, you know, this, we were into the same music we were into, you know, the interests, the same foods. And we were, I saw myself in them more so than I saw myself in the community.
Speaker 1 00:13:44 Uh, here that's very white. So when we came, when I, when we came back, we were like, we were coming back from a situation where we were just saturated with such African black queer excellence. Uh, and then we come back to Ottawa in 2017 and we're like, Oh my God, this is what we're, this is what we've, we, you didn't, you didn't, we didn't know what we were in until we were outside of it. And then when we came back, we were like, no, this can't continue. We need to have a space where we can thrive and we can be ourselves and listen to music that we want to listen to and feel safe. We didn't have the opportunity to have, you know, black queer elders, you know, in our networks in Ottawa. Right. And we have to also mention that we're not far off the AIDS epidemic, black people during the eighties were hit very hard when it came to that virus, you know, because of racism, because of homophobia, because of transphobia and all of that.
Speaker 1 00:14:44 So, you know, I've met elders doing HIV advocacy, like, uh, through the black gay men's network of Ontario through, um, uh, cau through black cap in Toronto, you know, we've met amazing black queer elders. And just, uh, when we go to Toronto, we, we always connect and we share experiences. And speaking of Toronto, that's where we are most connected with like our black queer, you know, uh, peers, the past couple of years, you know, we we've gone to Toronto to enjoy Blockarama. And, you know, when we first went to Blockarama, that was like an eyeopening experience for us. Cause we were like, wow, this is what black queer, uh, excellence could look like. Why isn't it not in Ottawa, but even if it's not an auto, we're going to go to Toronto and like, enjoy it. And yeah, it just, I just think that Ottawa, we're trying to be those people for other people who are queer and black in Ottawa and because we're that to each other. And we want to share that with other folks as well.
Speaker 0 00:15:59 Yeah. Thank you both. Um, Ted, do you want me to just explain to the viewers, like what Blanca Rama is in the context of Toronto?
Speaker 1 00:16:06 I'll try. I'm not an expert, but for me Blockarama was, uh, started by, um, the, like a group of queer folk in Toronto in the, was a house party at first. And then it just grew and grew and grew. And it's been at a church and Wellesley for a long time, and it's a soca dance hall, like regular music atmosphere. And they have like big artists come sing as well. I think last in 2019, they had Winnie Harlow, the supermodel with vitiligo on stage, um, modeling for everyone. And it's always a great atmosphere and great time to just be black queer and just like, have your, all your inhibitions, just leave you. Um, I remember one time we were getting ready with our friends and we ended up just like, there's always a huge, huge line to get into Blockarama, but not once have tolerant. I stood in that line to get in Every, every year. There's like some secret way that we get in. So, so one year we were just like dressed to the nines as we do. And we were with like our friends and we just walked in the back door of, uh Blockarama and the security guards were like, wait, you can't do that. Wait, wait, nobody. And we just kept walking, walking, walking, and then our friend, she's just like, Oh, they're with me. They're with me. She does like promotion of parties and things. So we just ignored them and walking. And all
Speaker 2 00:17:50 Of a sudden we were in the VIP and who do we see a guy with a snake around his neck, just muscling daddy, just and spine with a snake around this and that we were having a ball like the buck Rama is so much fun.
Speaker 0 00:18:04 I think like between the two of you. I mean, sure. There's the familiar sibling support, but there's such a beautiful network and language of love and care that informs how you, how you're doing everything. Like so much of it is, is resting on that CA that sharing of care. Um, and I think that's so profoundly beautiful at the same time. You know, when you speak about going outside in order to see what's lacking on the inside, like what signals to an appetite or a hunger that's unspoken until you feel that appetite somewhere else and realize that you want this at home, right? You want this to be near and close and easily accessible. You're both engaged in a lot of different community organizing at the, like with institutions, but also at your own sort of capacity, you're producing things. And I'm wondering if there's particular projects that you want to share with me. I know Tyler, you've talked about dark and fruity. Um, can I ask you to tell me a bit more about that and then we can go from there?
Speaker 2 00:19:06 Yeah, for sure. Um, I just want to say though, quick things, like, I remember that big muscly Donahue with a snake around his neck and like that being like the entrance to Blockarama 2019 and yeah. Big vibes cannot wait. Yeah. Like dark and fruity essentially was like Teva as mentioned, you know, we were living abroad. Um, we were, uh, living in East Africa in different cities. I was in Mombasa type of between Botswana and Nairobi and yeah, like we just, we laughed, we were living our best queer lives. Um, then we came back to Ottawa and it was just like, no way, are you guys still this, like, we were shook, you know, like there are so many black people in Ottawa now, and there are so many black queer and trans people in Ottawa right now. And, um, yeah, for us, it just was not a possibility to continue moving forward without us, um, connecting with each other and at the bare minimum, being able to go out on a Friday night and know that you are gonna have a great time, um, where you can be as black, as queer as you, uh, as, as you want to be.
Speaker 2 00:20:25 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:20:26 So, yeah, I'm just gonna, um, bring back, like, just to repeat what I was talking about a little bit earlier, it was just having experienced blocker Rama in Toronto and knowing like what black joy looks like and needs to be in the context of Ottawa going abroad and seeing this, uh, celebration and assessments that's absent in Ottawa, you know, what the two of you sort of experienced recognize and then wanted to contribute to. Right. So in terms of like thinking about black archives for the city, celebrating black joy, having spaces where queer black folks can like be there in safety and in camaraderie, what did that process look like? You both at one point or another, and have either sat or signal to a co collaborative project doc and fruity. And I'm wondering if we can know a little bit more about what, you know, we know prompted it, but how did it come about what did this process of putting this event and bringing together community look like for you?
Speaker 1 00:21:27 Maybe like, I can just talk about like that process of how we even came to the name darken, fruity and all of that. So, yeah, as we said, we came back and we were like, wow, there's still no, uh, black centered queer events in the city. And as Tyler was saying, there's a lot of black people in Ottawa and there's a lot of black queer people as well. I think the difference between Ottawa and Toronto is that, you know, in Toronto they have, uh, like a rich history of black organizing and amongst different communities, uh, where in Ottawa, there isn't so much of that on the same scale. And I think it has a lot to do with like, who's the demographic of the city. Um, so people are working in like secure government jobs often. And if you're black, it's more like, like in our instance, we were coming from a first-generation like newcomer family as well.
Speaker 1 00:22:23 So a lot of the young people are, you know, just coming up, uh, into their professional careers, you know, finishing their school or finding, you know, their passion, uh, whether in the art or in, uh, something creative. So that doesn't leave a lot of time for, for organizing when you're trying to juggle, you know, your, your professional life and also your, your family life and that's us as well. And I guess we just, how dark and 3d came about was we collected other black queer and trans folk who wanted to put on something for our community, but had small amounts of time to give. And we collaborated all those small amounts of time and different types of skills. And we created darken fruity in the summer of 2018. And we met for a, as a group, a group of, uh, you know, five to seven queer folk and a lot of them I'm sure, you know, you would know as well, um, cause darker and fruity isn't something that, you know, was only me and Tyler thing, but it was like a community effort, uh, of folks who are very well known black queer folks who are very well-known, but, and had the time to dedicate to organizing this event.
Speaker 1 00:23:42 And we put a lot of effort into organizing that first event for darken fruity, because we all didn't know how to organize an event. There was no like handbook on how to organize an event in Ottawa, right? So we were learning about bylaws. We were learning about, uh, how to raise money for, uh, to pay DJs and to get food and to pay for the park fee and all of those things. Cause none of us had organized an event before. And I would just say that, you know, it all was successful in near the end and it was literally a community effort. You know, it was Tyler and I stuffing our barbecue into the back of our Dodge journey and taking it to a park, uh, in, uh, by, uh, Bayview station and, you know, just putting out some blankets, some tables that I got from ACO, my, my old work in Ottawa.
Speaker 1 00:24:36 And we just put some tablecloth that we got from the dollar store on top of the tables. And we put on the, the condiments that we got some bottles of water, a speaker, uh, you know, we hooked up our controller to our, you know, 10 year old, uh, MacBook pro. And we had a generator and some cables that we were not, we almost could have started a fire cause we're not electricians, but we're all just like, we don't know what we're doing, but you know, we wanted to have music in the park with some food and some good vibes, uh, posts, uh, 2018, uh, pride in, in Ottawa, in August, you know, kind of mimicking Blockarama doing it, the Ottawa version, which was very like low key listened to music chat, like people who we didn't know came through and that on the picnic blankets with us and chatted and we shared meals and stories and danced a bit, but it was just something nice to do after the Sunday parade.
Speaker 1 00:25:46 And it, again, it just stems from the fact that we didn't have a space like that, uh, you know, organized by something like capital pride or any, any NGO in the city. Like they never organized anything specific to black queer folks. I would have liked if they were like, Hey, we have money and we're going to put it towards this. And, um, it was always us having to go to them, never them coming to us and that, you know, we worked through it and we came up with a name darken, fruity just came from, you know, us being darkened, fruity, and us wanting it to cater it to people who were, uh, melanated and, and hello, you know, other, um, in society. Yeah. That's how the really came about.
Speaker 3 00:26:37 Yeah. So I just want to say like, you know, I think the work that, um, that dark and fruity in terms of
Speaker 0 00:26:45 Making space, but also drawing together, uh, like folks from all over Ottawa, um, both like familiar and unfamiliar is such a beautiful thing, right? Like, um, and I'm just trying to, there's so many, there's so many things happening in this project that I think is incredible. The self engineering sort of execution of putting, you know, uh, an event together. Like this is something we don't normally talk about, uh, that oftentimes we don't inherit archives or legacies of how to do or how to go about doing a thing. Um, and that often means that we're reliant on like patching it and DIY aversion to, to like fill a particular need. Um, and what that often is sort of absent in, in the presentation of it. So, you know, folks show up to the event, you know, um, they're able to like make connections, they're able to partake foods together, but all of this background, invisible labor that goes on is sort of like left unknown.
Speaker 0 00:27:49 Um, and so I really appreciate both of you like sharing, you know, how that first event even like, was brought together and simultaneously, as you both spoken about, you know, the lack of access to black queer elders, for instance, in the city of Ottawa. And, um, last season we had Mickey Bradshaw who, you know, um, is between Ottawa and Montreal and how they would even, they would talk about how, um, the challenge of people leaving when people leave Ottawa in because an appetite gets left unfulfilled, right? Like where you have to put things together so often. And sometimes it's such solitary lonely work that I have a certain point, you deplete yourself of having to generate that over and over. Um, and I wonder like, how do you regenerate yourself? Like, how do you keep the momentum going for a project like dark and fruity? Um, what do you, what are some challenges that you faced along the way, uh, outside of the lack of access to the archives or knowledges of how to do this thing, um, and bring it to, you know, to public awareness.
Speaker 2 00:28:59 So like two things that I would say is one, if you want to follow dark and Prudy, we're on Instagram and we're on Facebook, we're on Instagram at, uh, at dark and fruity. Um, and same thing on, on Facebook. You, I think we're on Facebook as dark and pretty collective. Yeah. Um, but what I'll also add is that, you know, there are a lot of like employment opportunities in Ottawa, um, at LGBTQ organizations. Um, these folks, you know, these were organizations, you know, they're funded to meet the needs of LGBTQ communities in Ottawa. And when we look at those needs, those needs are exacerbated and very acute for, for black queer and trans folks in particular. So if we want to talk about keeping initiatives like darken, fruity going, if you want to talk about having new initiatives happen in these cities, it all starts with people being able to live in the city.
Speaker 2 00:30:03 So what I would like to see is more black, queer and trans folks being hired at these LGBTQ organizations if they want to work there. Um, I think that sometimes we can fall into the tendency of, um, you know, white folks, um, really being gatekeepers in those organizations. And then you'll have your one block employee and it's like, look how diverse we are. And for me, it always like, it's so strange because you know, the programs that are needed in this city are programs like for black folks, like for indigenous folks, for trans folks. So why is it that when we go to apply to provide those community, those, those resources for our, for our communities, um, there could only be one of us. I think that the staff should really be reflective of the programming that they're supposed to be carrying out and block people, black, queer, and trans people in Ottawa are brilliant. They're organizers, they are capable. And I want to see them with the employment and matches those skills.
Speaker 3 00:31:08 Yeah. I would
Speaker 2 00:31:09 Like where dark fruity has gone since then. So like, I can feel that he has, has grown a lot since, um, like brainstorming in the, uh, throughout the summer kind of off the side of our desks while we're all, you know, on our individual hustles. Um, since then, you know, we've, we've noticed that, you know, this is something that's needed in the city. I think a changing point for me was when people who, I didn't know, I didn't know, none of the other organizers know like complete strangers to every, to the organizing, uh, group they came through for the first event, uh, that we through and just to see like black queer and trans people in Ottawa all together and making those connections between one another. Um, I think that's kind of the reason that we did not direct them through the, in, in the first place when you're black and you're queer, um, community is, uh, something that's needed, uh, oftentimes for our survival.
Speaker 2 00:32:15 Um, you know, we're gonna have your back help you navigate whatever kind of resources that you need, that you can get to it also pleases to just generate like that joy that's so necessary for us to continue forward. Um, and yeah, that's what we did in 2018. So since then some cool things we've been able to do with dragon fruit is, um, we hosted another event where, um, I was involved with these, um, black queer filmmakers, um, through a project that was actually funded by kind space, like queer organization here in Ottawa. Um, so specifically for black queer folks interested in film. So we came together and we made a documentary about, um, the massive evictions happening on hearing aid. So Heron gate is a, an area in Ottawa, um, you know, low income or geared to income housing. And it was being, um, you know, uh, demolished gentrification and the people were being forced out of their homes, their homes, not, not being taken care of by their private developer at timber Creek.
Speaker 2 00:33:20 So we came together and we did that documentary, but a lot of people had been evicted. And for, I think for me coming from a family who immigrated to Canada and just seeing what that struggle was for us growing up of, you know, navigating anti-black racism, navigating language, navigating culture, trying to just like do it for the kids, you know, and to see those families being forced out of their homes because, um, folks wanted to make more money. Um, we wanted to do something and darken, fruity allowed us to do what black queer and trans people have always done throughout history, but it's take care of ourselves and take care of the broader black community a hundred percent. So you hosted an event. Um, and just, you know, we got our art, we call it the community controller, which is like the little DJ set that, um, was belonged to one of the original organizers with us for dark and fruity.
Speaker 2 00:34:11 And yeah, we hosted an event, um, and we just collected donations and we were able to donate, um, I think through all of our different initiatives for herring gate, we raised 700 bucks, um, and could give all of that money straight to the hair and gate tenants coalition to provide for like the, you know, the, the immediate needs of folks who were being evicted from their homes, um, them and their families. And then we were able to even like last year or not last year, but like in 2019 we had another dark and foodie event. And this time it was like, all right, we'll tell you, are we, are we doing it?
Speaker 4 00:34:47 Like, can we do it right? And he's like, yeah, yeah, we're gonna, we're gonna do it. We have to do it.
Speaker 2 00:34:53 Um, so dark and fruity, uh, in June of 2019, the event moved from a park to actually our backyard. And again, it was a barbecue. So we went, we, we used, um, you know, money that we got from, from tight that the grant hustler that he is, but also like our own money to set up that backyard, make sure everyone came through and was fed. We set up our DJ controller, our big speakers and we, um, posted the address. And so many people came through, like, I'll never forget our backyard just being full of black, queer, and trans people dressed to the nines, looking amazing and just playing the music that we want to hear eating the food that we want to eat and dancing and being free. And I think that in those moments, we can see that and fruity has the power to connect people and it has the power to, um, to really be something more than any of us could have, could have really expected. Um, so we are really excited to see how that continues forward.
Speaker 0 00:36:01 Yeah, yeah. And the expectation of like contorting yourself in order to fit into what already exists, that doesn't necessarily cater to what you need. Um, and I think like, you know, one other sort of element that I'm wondering, I mean, you both signaled to it, uh, the, the need, the desire for more black queer trans specific spaces to be available is, you know, how do folks who are listening, who learn about Docker and foodie who want to be part of more future, um, activities, what kind of support, or kind of sort of resources do you wish, you know, that you had access to when you first started the collective, but what do you imagine that support or resource giving need to look like going forward? Um, how do you, how do we like sustain initiatives like dark and foodie for queer trans black folks in this city for years to come, not just as a, as a now, but also as always going forward.
Speaker 2 00:37:01 Yeah, like that, that's a really good question. And that, you know, it's something that we've, we've talked about, um, like tape and I before, um, you know, when darken foodie started in 2018, we were a group of about, you know, five, six, five, six, seven, you know, black queer and trans folks, just, um, with an idea of, um, how we want the city to, uh, to celebrate pride, how we want like black, Korean and Chinese people to be able to, to celebrate pride. And we were United on the common belief that, you know, we deserve it. So we're going to create it. Um, you know, people move away people's, um, capacity changes. And then, you know, in 20 point 19 came around and it was just me and Taya, uh, left. And we, we put dire labor in, you know, the two of us, uh, to, to throw another event.
Speaker 2 00:37:53 And I think kind of what keeps us moving forward is like, like we've mentioned at the beginning, darken foodie is a community platform. It's a community space. And sometimes that may look like, you know, me and Taya being the ones with the capacity to, to keep this going. Um, because like you said, people, people move away. And I think what keeps me going personally is understanding that the more that tayyiba and I, um, are the ones right now to, to, to create these spaces that there's this whole new, younger generation coming up and seeing that creating space for black queer and trans people in Ottawa to celebrate joy is possible. Uh, so it's not, you know, right now it might look like me and Taya doing this work. Um, but I, I wholeheartedly believe that in the future, it's going to look like more and more, um, black queer and trans folks kind of creating space for themselves.
Speaker 2 00:38:52 Um, you know, uh, I would love to see like, uh, spaces to celebrate, you know, black trans lives in Ottawa. Like, what does that look like? How do you and I are two black queer cis-gendered, um, you know, guys and like what, like, you know, we are definitely not representative of the, the beautiful diversity of what, um, black queer and trans lives are in this city. Um, and I think that the more we move forward, you know, we'll be able to, there will be more spaces where we can see like how multifaceted auto as black queer and trans community is. Um, so yeah, that's kind of like what, what, what, what keeps me going is knowing that, you know, we might be the ones who are starting this work and the ones who started it in 2018, but it is going to grow and grow and grow.
Speaker 1 00:39:44 And I'll just say that, you know, if you want more black, queer and trans organizing pay black queer and trans people, period, Ottawa has a problem of not hiring, you know, oppressing black, queer, and trans people. That's why we move away. You know, I've had many friends who've moved away from Ottawa because they couldn't find a job and they spoke French and English. So language wasn't the issue. It was just like, you're not queer enough for us, but if we're hiring for a queer position or, um, you know, you're too black, if we're hiring for, uh, you know, a different position, right. And that's what makes us move away. The anti-black racism in the city and, you know, the anti-black racism, uh, when we do stay is too much to a point where you're like, I don't want to spend my Sunday on, you know, talking about anything.
Speaker 1 00:40:43 I just want to eat my food and watch my RuPaul's drag race and go to the gym and live my life. Cause that's, that's how I do my self-care, you know, I exercise, I watch my trashy TV and I love to cook, you know, but at the same time, it's like, I shouldn't have to feel unwelcomed in the city. You know, I should feel that there's like a space for me because I've had instances where I've gone to queer, uh, events in Ottawa and have had, you know, white queers lesbians, like not want me in this space or do microaggressions upon me. Uh, like I have one story where I was at Ottawa pride and with Tyler and we're looking at the end of the parade, it is our first pride in Ottawa. And, you know, the parade is coming down and we're next to these two older lesbian women and they turn to us and they're just like, Oh, isn't it.
Speaker 1 00:41:46 So I'm so happy that you're here, uh, that you see that you're here to witness this, uh, because I know that you don't have this opportunity in your country. And I look, I looked at Tyler and I looked at her. I was like, does this like be where? Just say that like, no, you can't be serious right now. You know? And like, what country is she talking about? This is my country. I didn't even have a passport at that time, but I grew up my whole life in Ottawa. So, so just like the unabashed, you know, othering that the community does upon you is, is so visceral that, of course you don't want to stay here. You want to go somewhere else. And if it's on top of that, if you're struggling in terms of, uh, finding employment and finding a secure housing, of course, you're going to go, uh, somewhere else. And that's why, you know, you, you have a lack of, uh, you know, uh, black organizing in the city because this city really like wears you down from all ends, whether you're trying to be your queer self or trying to be your professional self, there's telling you. No.
Speaker 2 00:42:52 Yeah, yeah. Like, just to add on that, like, I will say that, like, that is why like, spaces, um, that are black specific are not up for debate spaces that like where black people can come and just be more than what the world expects us to be like when that, when that older, white lesbian at pride, um, saw you, she didn't see Tayeb, she just saw, um, an LGBTQ to refugee because that's all because like, that is, that is what she sees black queer people as full stop. And I feel like when we go to the, to these white gay clubs in Ottawa, um, you know, there isn't space for us to be for them. There isn't space for us to be, you know, outside of like the black gay BBC stereotype that, that people want to see. Um, and I feel like when we, like in creating spaces, like dark, like dark and fruity and keeping them going, you know, those are spaces where you can show up and you can be, you can be your, you can be your full self when you walk into that space. No one is so shocked by your blackness or your queerness. That they're just that they, that they can't see past it. Um, rather that's something that we all share in common. So actually everyone is looking to see past that people want to know your name. And I think, um, that is something that needs to be spoken about more, um, when we talk about black queer and trans people, like just like our abilities to be so much more than what the world expects us to be.
Speaker 1 00:44:27 Yeah. And I'll just say, Tyler has been a lot of, uh, on the, of, you know, helping black queer folks become employed. You know, he sat on the board of max Ottawa and, you know, he helped them with their diversity and also like mainstreaming the organization to include black people, you know, while he was at Somerset West, he was part of hiring to include black queer and trans people in the staffing and, you know, myself as well. Like that's what we have to do with the resources that we have, you know, always advocate for black queer and trans people as we come up ourselves, bring the community up to. And like, that's what we, me and Tyler tried to do with, with our, with the resources that we have, you know, it might not be much, or it might not be as much as we would want it to be, but we do what we can with what we have. And I just want other people to do that as well. It'll make the situation so much better for everybody.
Speaker 0 00:45:31 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think like it's so important to think about at the organizational level where those who get to make the decisions are representative of the folks most effected by, by the lack of representation. Right. So, um, you know, Tyler, as you're talking about diversification within institutions, oftentimes it's diversification through whiteness, but not necessarily thinking through indigenous black POC realities. And what does it mean when you have people with lived experiences at the management level, at the board level who are able to speak of, and for the lived experiences and the communities that are, that need there, um, sort of like both needs and community, um, engagement to be centered. And that is still something that in the context of Ottawa, more specifically speaking as, uh, in dire need. Um, I want to thank both of you so much for taking time and like, you know, sharing your stories with me and sharing your energies and just, yeah, I really appreciate it.
Speaker 0 00:46:33 And I'm excited to see, and you're more of a darkened fruit he gets up to and how, you know, um, how it grows. And so many other ways like, um, I love, I love knowing that, like not only have you done the events where, um, you know, you're, uh, you're mixing in the, bringing in food and bringing people together, but also what it could look like going forward in terms of like, you know, queer black party nights, um, thinking through how so much of the moments where, you know, queer folks in Ottawa come through, but it's not necessarily representative of like, um, queer black indigenous, uh, racialized folks to be able to have, you know, space, um, yeah. Tape. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:47:19 I just, I, I didn't want to end this conversation without giving a massive shout out to our family, um, being behind us because, you know, Tyler, I, we are able to give each other that specific, like queer, you know, support, uh, as, as we navigate that. Um, but in terms of our, of our activism publicly, our family has, has always been in our back pocket, you know, at the events that we host, um, whether for the queer community specifically, or the black population in general, they've, they they've been there. You know, uh, from when we were at, in high school at the black history month assemblies that we organized to, you know, city hall where we're saying black lives matter, black trans lives matter and other things. Uh, and I feel like sometimes black queer folks don't have their family behind them, which makes organizing, uh, harder because you don't, you're not able to, uh, be queer publicly.
Speaker 1 00:48:22 You're not able to like go to an organization and say, Hey, I'm a black queer person. And I'm organizing for black queer things because you're not out to your family. Right. And I had that experience organizing for black, uh, for and fruity the first time, you know, I wanted to rent a speaker from the sky. And then I was telling him like, what that was for, I was, he was, I was like, it's for black, queer and trans people after the, uh, Ottawa parade, uh, uh, pride parade. And then he was like, Oh, Oh great. I fully support like black, uh, people and gays. And then I clicked in my head that, you know, some of the people that we interact with are just like regular Joe Schmo, heterosexual, uh, assists people that never have the opportunity to interact with a black queer person and let, let alone someone like a queer person let alone someone who's also black. Um, and you know, we were able to stand in our truth in those public interactions, because we have the validation of our family behind us. You know, if this person is going to be homophobic or racist to us, we know our family is going to be there to back us up. And that's what like gives us the strength to, for me personally, to like continue organizing, knowing that my family is always behind me.
Speaker 3 00:49:42 That's beautiful. Thank you, Tyler. Tyler, you want to tack something?
Speaker 2 00:49:46 Yeah. Type I'm really happy. You brought up our family, you know, me and <inaudible> are the two eldest brothers, um, out of seven brothers. So we have like a lot of, um, younger siblings and, you know, we're all boys. And, um, I really think that, yeah, having like our family behind us, like our extended family, like our aunts, um, our parents, and, you know, like knowing that your family is going to be there behind you is, uh, a privilege that me and Tanya have and something that allows us to do the work that we do. Gap big shout outs. Y'all if you guys are listening, um, I just wanted to, I guess end by saying to any black queer and people who are listening to this podcast, that you are not too hard to love. You are beautiful. You are amazing. We love you. We are so excited to see what you do. And we are so excited for you to see tomorrow. And we were so excited for you to live in your truth today, whatever that means for you.
Speaker 0 00:50:48 No, thank you. That was so beautiful. I appreciate that. I wanna, uh, again, just reiterate, like, I think what you and Dave are doing are incredible. I can't wait to see it grow even more. And thank you so, so much for taking time on this Sunday, to chat with me, um, about all that you're doing and on your journey of getting there.
Speaker 2 00:51:11 Thank you. Thank you. It was cute. Thank you for the text before behind the scenes. Y'all made it happen.
Speaker 0 00:51:22 Thank you. This is fun. Thank you for the opportunity. My pleasure. All right. Take care of y'all bye. To be continued. A stone crop symposium podcast is produced by Finn soundly and on our show Hawk special thanks to today's speakers Taihape and Tyler Boyce. The music is composed by Sandman on Pixabay. The podcast is part of Carleton university art galleries, virtual stone Croft symposium. The symposium is organized in conjunction with the exhibition to be continued troubling. The queer archive, curated by honor, Shaw Hawk, and Carr Tierney, and presented at the gallery September, 2020 to May, 2021. The exhibition in podcast expands conversations around local queer histories and futures. We're grateful for the support of Carlton university, the Canada council for the arts, the Ontario arts council and the stone craft foundation for the arts. So stone craft foundation promotes education in the visual arts and fosters the public's appreciation of the visual arts. Find out more about the stone craft symposium by visiting <inaudible> dot CA that's C U a g.ca.