Since getting back into radio and going around this great Province of ours to different events with VIBE as my additional backing, I’ve met so many amazing people, artists, content creators, entrepreneurs, etc. that in every experience my mind is blown.
On October 26, 2018 I had the pleasure of attending TedxToronto, not as MCNadzzz representing as part of VIBE, but just as Nadia aka Nadzzz representing myself and my own interests and pursuit of my calling and happiness. Attending TedxToronto for some might be an okay experience, but for me, it was absolutely amazing. I can’t think of a better way to have my mind enlighten and blown out the water, all at the same time. Sitting in an absolutely beautiful venue called Evergreen Bricks Works, I not only absorbed, but exchanged energies with 1300+/- people through an experience that lit my soul on fire . Picture little old me, walking past the black curtain and into this transformed space for 1300 people with the TedxToronto stage and standard signage ready for photo ops. My first word as I walked in was “wow”!! I literally got chills. In all that beautiful space, I HAD to find a great seat. I had no idea what to expect. I knew I came to listen to two very specific people speak, but didn’t expect much from the others I didn’t know, but was open to what I was about to receive. Well colour me surprised! The other speaks were absolutely amazing!! All the speakers delivered with such vigor, emotion and realness about their personal lives, experiences and work, which tied them to the TedxToronto theme of “Identity” – BRILLIANT!!
And then… the epic-ness began.
The Host & Speakers
Like I said earlier, I had two people I really wanted to hear from and basically didn’t expect much from the rest, but knew it would be a bonus to hear others speak. Typical rookie thinking right?
The Host, Hoodo Hersi (IG: @hoodo18): A Toronto-based comedian; this girl amazed me because being a host can be hard, but with her comedic background she was able to keep it rolling, funny, yet tasteful and stay true to who she is – which is exactly what I told her when I met her during cocktail hour. Hoodo you rock sista!!! Hoodo was, “…featured in TVO Docs Stand Up Toronto exploring her experience of navigating for the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund at Second City”. This is now on my “to watch” list!
With an extensive journalism career that involved being an arts reporter, an Ottawa & International Correspondent to a winning documentarian and author, Carol left me with this message about my identity as follows, “stories are like the many cookies you see at everyone’s house (no matter the cultural background). You eventually see that no matter the cookie, you know that ALL belong. All stories become a story, that’s what it means to belong. There is no more ‘other’”. We need to do more to connect as individuals.
Dave Dame (IG: @ddame71): “The world isn’t set up for someone with disabilities” and once you concur that stigma you say “who has a disability now”? BOOO YAAA!!! Diagnosed with cerebral palsy this man reminded me why I should never complain that I am having a bad day. Dave Dame, “developed life hacks and alternative paths to personal and professional success”. He is an Enterprise Agility Change Agent. Having done a ton of work with being Agile and best practices, it’s safe to say that to be Agile, is to set a vision, learn to reshape what you know in order to break a comfort zone. If that doesn’t work, FIND ANOTHER WAY!
Masai Ujiri (IG: @giantsofafrica): Masai Ujiri is the first African American GM in the NBA aka The President aka the top dawg of our Toronto Raptors. He hammered home that, sports plays a very important role in shaping the life of a youth, no matter where they are from. We have to, “open our minds to the opportunities and possibilities of sports.” He’s right. It’s time to be curious. I found more than one speaker talked about being curious and I’m starting to realize its okay to ask more questions. It’s okay to want to know all the facts. It’s okay to break borders and make change. We should be doing this. We have too.
Sarah Keast (IG: @adventuresinwidowedparenting): Sarah is an opioid crisis activist, writer, mother and widow. I can’t imagine losing your husband (Kevin) to a heroin overdose, being judged about it, carrying shame because of it and raising two young daughters during all of it. She uses her experiences as a platform to help others by raising awareness around addiction and mental health. In order to break the stigmas around drug use and mental illness, we need to change our language, show compassion and empathy and give light each time we lose someone to it, because the worst thing you can do is devalue a person into “someone you don’t know” – that is not fair.
Mary Walsh (IG: @officialmarywalsh): This woman is hella FUNNY!! Canadian actress, Comedian, Writer and Social Activist, Mary tells it like it is. Best reminder from her during her talk was this; “stay in the present”! For too much we get lost in the looks, the likes, and the status. Mary is a woman of experience and she reminded us that aging is a combination of opportunity and strength which makes up your happiness. She went on to say, “old age is an excellent time for outrage”! I don’t think it’s just old age, I think it’s as you age. With age comes wisdom – well for some of us at least! Mary Walsh was the most entertaining talk of the morning. Her delivery was not only funny, but delivered a strong tone, accompanied by strong words.
Michael Bryant (Twitter: @MJ_Bryant): Talk about the rise and fall and rise again of a man who has gone through some crazy shit. Michael talks about three things, “uncovered, discovered and discard”. Look those words up for the definitions to understand his talk. We’re all on a journey to find who we are. Where are you right now? Find out how to truly connect with the broken in yourself so that you can properly connect with others. His words were piercing. He said, “…transformation may lead to saving your own life”. I don’t think there’s anyone better to talk about that than him. If you grew up in this city, than you know his history and what happened to him. If not, Google him you’ll see. I’m not calling white privilege here, what I am saying is choices and circumstances open you up to the possibility of doing things you don’t otherwise want to do.
Director X (IG: @directorx): Director X is so damn fly and from Brampton! Big up meh west end crew! Honestly, when I went up to him I was fanning – No Lie. In front of me for the first time was this visual creative genius, who has worked with so many amazing people in the entertainment world and I couldn’t get my mind right! Thank God for my homie that was with me, because we really wanted to talk to him about community, growing up in the areas we did and being exposed to what we knew all too well about – gun violence and street shit. Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X is such a humble dude. He literally stayed the whole night and talked to everyone that came up to him and took pictures with everyone. During his Ted Talk, titled “A Message To The Man Who Shot Me”, he spoke about the violence in the city that shot two people and also put a bullet through him. He got to the root of the problem – that point in the brain when someone makes a conscious decision to use violence, how that decision affects the brain and the solution being meditation, the answer and start to rapid change. Quick and FREE change. After chopping it up with X and his people (Danell Adams – sorry if I spelled that incorrectly), we stood there and spoke to him for a good 20mins, chatting about the areas we grew up and hung around, the friends we lost and how easy it would be to get this initiative started. There’s more information to come and I can’t wait to receive that email. An email on “Operation Prefrontal Cortex – mindfulness related to gun violence”. B O O M!!
Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (Twitter: @AOBempah): Akwasi is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at UFT, he spoke about the social injustice surrounding Cannabis and the effects on race, crime and the criminal justice system. He used some great analogies through stories of “Darryl” vs “Ryan” (I think that’s the name he used). He says those waging war on drugs are also the same people financially benefiting (aka the “Cannabillionaries”), while those affected STAY affected. We have to all look at amnesty, inclusion and identity because all of these have a direct effect of inequality in the justice system and the implementation of the Cannabis Law. What bout “Cannabis Amnesty” – that needs to be a thing.
Dr. Eugenia Dudodu (Twitter: @Eugeduo): Dr. Eugenia Dudodu Ted Talk was so inspiring. As the CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning (VoSNL) and one of the few black female’s with a PhD in Chemistry. Her passion and mission for empowering youth came out loud and clear during her Ted Talk. She spoke about her journey to becoming a doctor, her love for science and the struggle that ensued trying to see anyone in various science books that looked like her. Growing up, she’s always been driven to fill gaps in her knowledge with a thirst for more knowledge. The one thing she said that hooked me was this, “challenge your curiosity; it’s your
Michael Arntfield (michaelarntfield.com): Michael is a former police officer turned criminologist, author and associate professor as Western University, Michael Arntfield spoke about the “Murder Curve” and how the murder solve rate per capita today has been declining compared to 40 years ago. What I learned is that you will cross 16 serial killers in your lifetime and there are ¼ million cold cases in the world. That made me incredibly sad. There are so many souls lost and so many murderers out there roaming free. Imagine the many families out there who have never received justice?
Suresh Doss (IG: @suresh): Suresh is a food writer who has taken the concept of tradition and attached it to identity – it was simple yet genius! He asked, “how many of us have lost relationships to our families’ food”? Think about that for a minute will you? Losing your families food rituals to life changing events can really give a hit to your identity. You lose those traditions and can never really recoup the essence in which your mother, father or grandparents cooked food for you. “Our cultural foods are part necessity and part nostalgia” and he is 100000% correct. He also spoke about how food can be our past, present and future.
Past – through immigration and muscle memory
Present – where you are now
Future – where you’re going
What you do with food will always differ in taste from the way your mom, dad or grandparents prepared it. He goes on to say, “never lose the essence of who you are especially in food, because than you’ll never really understand where you’re going”. LOVE IT!
Jennifer Riel (IG: @jennifer.riel): This Adjunct Professor from Rotman School or Management at UFT advised that a simple change from pen to pencil means that your answers have the potential to get better. Jennifer spoke about creating choices and what can affect that. She said we should always question and start looking for dis-confirming evidence so that we can get comfortable with the idea of being wrong. Being wrong is truly being human and gives you time to listen more. You can also do this by spending more time with people who see the world differently than you. BEST ADVICE EVER!
Sabarish Gnanamoorthy (IG: @sabarishgnana): This 15 year old Virtual and Augmented Reality Developer discussed creating a new world that is a utopia that not only is a VR for your eyes, but also for your feelings. He wants to provide experiences and shape experiences with empathy that can make a social impact. Innovation involves the past, present and future.
Past – incremental
Present – Disruptive
Future – Transformative
Sarain Fox (@sarainfox): Sarain is the host of “Future History” on APTN, RISE on VICELAND and an Anishinaabekwe Activist, Performer and Dancer; she comes as a beautiful woman with an enormous amount of history tied to many years of tradition. She reminds us to acknowledge yourself, good and bad, so that you own that narrative – your truth. Acknowledge the truth, learn and heal so that you can tell your truth in the same way Sarain did on that TedxToronto stage. With truth comes weight, and Sarain has been sharing her own truth in bite size forms because she knows sharing is power for her Indigenous family and roots.
For information and videos from TedXToronto 2018 visit: http://tedxtoronto.com/