SHIFTER is proud to reveal our first annual Outstanding Black Men in Canada list for 2020. This new annual feature was inspired by the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Toronto rapper Houdini, as well as the many Canadian men who took to TV, radio and social media to be vulnerable with their emotions.
We wanted to do our part in changing the narrative surrounding Black men in Canada, telling the stories of Black men who are having an impact at home, at work and in the community. We also wanted to promote a culture of brotherhood, solidarity, and mutual respect among Black men in Canada, where we’re not afraid to show love and appreciation for each other.
Our 2020 list includes 20 Black men from coast to coast, from Vancouver to Halifax. We received nominations from across Canada in forming this list and our jurors included six Black men and women from four Canadian cities and representing various industries.
So without further adieu, here are SHIFTER’s Outstanding Black Men in Canada for 2020 in no particular order with what their nominators had to say about them.
“Richardson founded a club that provides hundreds of kids with elite basketball training regardless of their socio-economic background, spearheaded the building of a comprehensive training facility, and created the largest basketball tournament in Western Canada. Through the sheer volume of his contributions, Eddie Richardson has helped turn Calgary into a hub for youth basketball and provided accessible training to hundreds of young athletes.”
“Aside from being a CFL champion and an analyst on TSN, he has broken barriers for black men in Ottawa as one of the few Black men on TV in the city. He’s very involved in the community, including the S.M.I.L.E. campaign and a football camp for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is an example for the youth. He’s also involved with the Bruyère Foundation as an Ambassador and is a loving husband and father. Overall, Smilin’ Hank is a positive role model for Black men, both in Ottawa and beyond.”
“Markland ‘Jahiant’ Campbell is one third of Half Size Giants. A true pillar of the hip-hop community in Ottawa. He lost his life one year ago to the same violence he preached against. I believe his memory should be honoured as an outstanding black man in Canada.”
The long-time Ottawa hip-hop artist was murdered in Ottawa’s Byward Market after defending his daughter who was being harassed by a group of young men. Rest In Peace.
“Desmond Cole is a voice for Black people in Canada. He’s been advocating for Black rights in Canada for a long time, especially in the past few weeks with the death of George Floyd. He’s a well-needed voice for change in Canada.”
“Tyrone Edwards is one of the few young Black men on national television. He’s a great example of Black fatherhood, often seen with his daughters, who he loves very much, on social media. In the community, he co-founded Concrete Hoops, a basketball camp that uses the sport to teach life skills and is also a volunteer with the Remix Project. In recent weeks, he’s been a voice for the Black community in Canada. Him expressing his emotions on national TV about racism towards Black men, helped to spark a national conversation and made Black men feel like it was okay to express their emotions.”
“Jamaal [Jackson Rogers] is a great community leader. He’s the former poet laureate for the City of Ottawa and the current Artist-in-Residence for Carleton University’s music program. He’s done a lot of work with Youth Ottawa and in schools around the arts and is a mentor to young artists. He’s also a loving husband, a father of six, and a strong and respected community leader.”
“Quentrel is an inspiring young leader and anti-violence advocate, founding the movement known as “Stop The Violence, Spread The Love.” He was recently named ambassador for the Halifax Hurricanes and one of the 100 most influential people of African descent under 40. He successfully crowdfunded so 400 kids could go see Black Panther. He also organizes Christmas toy drives and gives presentations in schools.”
“As a CTV news anchor, Stefan is one of the few black men on television in Ottawa. In the community, he’s a United Way Community Builder and Ontario150 Award winner. He was very vocal after the death of George Floyd about the experience of black men in Ottawa and is a leader in the black community.”
“Born and raised in East Oakland, Terrance played professional baseball for the Los Angeles Angels and Div. 1 Basketball for San Jose State University. Following this, he and his wife were Youth Pastors, pouring their lives into building up a generation of young people. During this time, Terrance began to see his ministry expanded to begin to reach interior British Columbia through his athletic and musical gifting, hosting youth basketball camps and performing hip-hop concerts. In 2016, the father of three moved his family from Sacramento, California to Vancouver, BC planting Love Quest International Church. He has continued to develop and hone his craft as a speaker, hip-hop artist, songwriter and artist developer. With 8 current studio albums and a Gospel Music Award for Urban Song of the Year in 2017, he focuses on creating music that is focused on empowering and uplifting while remaining connected to but not controlled by the latest sonic trends.”
“In 2019, Rawlson King became the first ever Black city councillor in Ottawa’s history and is a bridge between affluent and lower income communities in one of the most economically and cultural diverse wards in the city. He successfully proposed an anti-racism secretariat and recently became the anti-racism and ethnocultural relations liaison for city council.”
“Thierry Lindor is a Montreal-based real estate expert, entrepreneur, speaker, father and husband. He’s a past G20 Delegate and UN Delegate, and was previously a part of the MIPAD Top 100 under 40. He has also interviewed or shared the stage with notable influencers and celebrities, including Gary Vee and Charlamagne tha God, and is championing Black empowerment and Black ownership.”
RUDDY DANIELS // Ottawa
Entrepreneur, basketball referee, single father
“Ruddy came to Canada from Jamaica when he was 8 years old. With a thick accent and being one of two black kids in the school, he learned quickly that he was different. He played university basketball at Bishops and graduated. His hard work and resilience in his career in sales with American Express saw him rise from the basement bottom to the top sales person in North America. Ruddy has been a basketball referee in the Ottawa Board of Approved Basketball Officials for 28 years. He’s been the ‘fall guy’ on numerous occasions when challenged by players, fellow officials or coaches, and still he shows up every single time. Ruddy also became a martial artist, earning his 5th degree black belt in Taekwando and has taught Taekwando to kids and adults alike in Ottawa for over 25 years. But the most important thing that makes this black man an Outstanding Black Man in Canada is being a single father to his 10 year old son. He’s experienced every injustice you can imagine in the family court system. Some days it just became laughable how blatantly unfair the system was to him and his child. The white mother took the little boy and left when the child was 18 months old. The police wouldn’t help, the CAS definitely wouldn’t help, lawyers weren’t helping and he had nowhere to turn. Ruddy didn’t do anything wrong but the courts consistently denied his access to his son.”
Everything he had endured while maintaining a positive outlook on life has made him an Outstanding Black Man in Canada.
“Omar graduated with a law degree and currently serves in the Canadian Army. Omar’s twin brother, Jammar, was taken away from him two summers ago and since then, Omar has never ceased the fight. Omar is remarkably standing strong to maintain the balance within his family since this great loss. Jammar’s only daughter is now Omar’s biggest priority as he is very present and caring of her. Omar has been a pillar for his entire family, despite the immeasurable pain of not having his other half around anymore. Since his twin brother’s abduction, Omar has continued his legacy (the clothing brand “Hybridz”) and integrated a carefully curated platform designated to support and inform people struggling with mental health. His journey although painful, is honorable. Omar speaks openly about his traumas to create awareness. His honesty, strength and resiliency are a few virtues to mention. Omar is also very caring, loving and fun; a contagious energy in the most positive way. Omar might not agree that he has a heroic story. The Wolf is very humble and walks after the pack.”
KWESI LONEY // Ottawa
USports Coach of the Year (soccer)
“Kwesi is the current Coach of the year for the University Sports for Men’s soccer in Canadian University sports (U Sports) and head of the soccer program at Carleton. He is a tremendous teacher and role model for students with his patience and leadership, a father, husband, and a truly lovely man.”
“Known for his advocacy, leadership to better the lives of our young black boys, RJ McEwan has dedicated his life and professional life to the service of Humanity. He is a great example to our Youth! He is also known as an Advocate Pastor who reaches out to Black at-risk youth. He is one of the founders of The Code – a group of pastors who mentor Black youth who do not have a father. He is an inspiring speaker and so much, much more. A life transformer.”
“Mensur Nuru is an outstanding Black man residing in Toronto. He is an essential community leader supporting newcomer youth with his organization The New Six. The New Six supports newcomer youth mainly from African backgrounds and uses soccer as a means to mobilize belonging, integration, and connects youth to services and professionals/mentors in the community. Mensur works tirelessly with youth in his soccer program which he co-founded to support these youth and their personal development. Mensur Nuru is an outstanding individual, a refugee himself, he has risen above adversity and works with his community (Eritrean diaspora) on several other initiatives to ensure the safety of Black youth. His organization has been featured on the CBC twice. It started in 2012, and what began as a weekly tournament with about 12 players has grown to a team of over 100 youth…and it is still growing! He is a community builder and helps black community members get funding for programs for black youth. He is a father and an outstanding black man.”
“Elected in 2015, Greg Fergus is one of only two black Members of Parliament in the Parliament of Canada and is currently the chair of the Black Caucus. He’s also a leader in the black community and has spoken out against racism in Canada over the past few weeks.
MARLON REID // Toronto
Founder, 100 Strong Foundation
“Marlon Reid currently sits on the Board and is a founding member of the 100 Strong Foundation and he is passionate about making a difference in our community. 100 Strong is a non-profit organization born out of the passion and vision of a group of accomplished, professional black men including Marlon, compelled to change the narrative of young African-Canadian black boys as it exists today. He is a tireless and committed role model and community leader sitting on numerous boards and committees. Marlon is the Director- Regulatory Complaints and Designated Complaints Officer (DCO). In this role he, among other things, provides leadership and strategic direction to his team and internal business partners of CIBC to resolve client complaints within a complex and stringent regulatory framework. He is also Co-Chair of our CIBC Black Employee Network. Marlon Reid is a family man, a brilliant colleague and a humble, successful outstanding black man. He is most deserving of this award. He makes a difference! “
“Born and raised in Montreal, Kwame worked toward a soccer future as a young man and by the tender age of 17, he was already headed overseas to play in exciting places like Belgium, Scotland and Portugal. At 19, it was back to North American to Felician University in Rutherford, New Jersey where a full athletic scholarship was waiting for him and he played with diligence there, earning him later in 2014 the status of First Student-Athlete Inductee, Felician Athletics Hall of Fame. He later began working with the B.C. Soccer Association and soon realized that he truly enjoyed seeing kids work toward and excel at their goals. As West Ottawa Soccer Club’s (WOSC) Club Head Coach, Kwame oversees, among other things, program planning, administration and the U11 through U14 Ontario Player Development League (OPDL). Known for his generous and kind nature, Kwame prefers to keep the focus and praise on the kids. Even as a husband and father with three young kids, busier than most of us, he always makes time to talk to parents and children needing extra help and he will do it with patience and a reassuring presence. He is also the Carleton University Men’s Assistant Coach. He also encourages a hugely multicultural OPDL team through WOSC, ensuring boys of all colours and race have opportunities to not only play but make competitive teams and scholarships to advance their dreams and goals.”
Founder, National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program
“Kevin Wilson has started up a mentorship program benefiting all of the youth in basketball. He strives to bring his mentorship program all across Canada impacting Canadian basketball athletes. Not only does he want to help athletes be better players but better off the court in many aspects. Whether that be spiritually, from a psychological standpoint, financially, etc., Kevin wants to impact and build better people in general. The program he has created is not just a program, it’s a family and he is constantly striving to build and expand his reach, making his family bigger as the years go by. He also is doing this while he is attending school for physiotherapy in Scotland. He truly is outstanding.”