Novel Thomas

About the Author Novel Thomas

Novel is a well-respected columnist and a foundation member of the CONTACT team. He graduated from Concordia University’s English department. His writing is insightful and thought-provoking.

Commentaries

THE BLEACHING…

The word and definition tell the story. Naturally or chemically, it speaks to the dangers – various side effects – some Black people are subjecting themselves to in order to acquire (a semblance of unnatural) lightness, and by extension, a false sense of specious social acceptance, or tolerance. And so it is, not only in predominantly white societies, but also on the African continent where some Black people have bought into the bleaching aesthetic and farce. The belief being that lighter is better than dark. The irony and paradox are that even on the African continent (Africa!), people are shamelessly …

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Commentaries

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN?

It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH, so among the conversations about ‘history and blackness’ is that perennial one about building an economically vibrant Black community. Some conversations are uplifting, others are rife with hopelessness… nourished by the absence of tangible evidence to suggest that the community is finally on an upward trajectory, which only nourishes that sense of hopelessness. So at this time of year especially, people are wondering if this community will ever exit what seems to be a permanent socio-economic morass. Sure the community is economically comatose, not a personal opinion, but a general view of the state of our …

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Commentaries

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN?

Conversations about elevating the Black community are endless. Some are uplifting… others rife with hopelessness; absence of tangible evidence to the contrary only nourishes that sense of hopelessness. So each year at this time, many look in the rearview mirror and ponder… From her enviable vantage point, a place far outside Montreal called retirement, which she has been occupying now for a couple or three years, my dear friend of over four decades and counting can’t help thinking of a Black community she was born and raised in that begs the question: what could’ve been if…? So whenever Black History …

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Commentaries

IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY

Laughter Is Remedy/Anodyne for the pain in society’s heart and soul [So] watching CTV news the evening of Wednesday 16th, I was taken aback by a story about a white comedian, a man with a dreadlock hairstyle. His name is Zach Poitras. According to Zach he was banned from participating in a comedy event because of his hairstyle. My immediate thinking was, what! This is nonsense, ridiculous, can’t be serious… Seems like the organizers of the (laugh) event deemed his “do” culturally inappropriate; more to the point, “cultural appropriation… and racist.” In a Canadian Press story the “aspiring Montreal comedian” …

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Community NewsLife & Style

Community stalwart NANCY MACKENZIE to receive BTW’S award

Novel Thomas In Montreal’s Black community the name Nancy Mackenzie has been spoken of for generations. Those who have met and come to know her speak positively and proudly of the person; others have never met her, but readily admit to hearing of her Black and extra-community initiatives. It comes as no surprise then, that after her many years of grassroots work Nancy Mackenzie’s name is among the list of recipients at Black Theatre Workshop’s 2019 Vision Celebration Gala. She will be honoured with the Dr. Clarence Bayne Community Service Award. Always soft-spoken and humble, Ms. Mackenzie admits to being …

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Commentaries

Did I have a nice holiday Christmas season, you ask?

Well… Yes, I did. But that’s old news right now. With a little more than eleven months to go before we do it all over again, that’s truly a long, long stretch to cover. But as the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait.” I can. It’s a new year new year, 2019, so here we go again. Let’s put Christmas behind us. It will come again to be enjoyed, so long as we do all the necessary things (whatever they may be) to stay healthy. That done we will make it to December 2019 and do the …

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Commentaries

RACE AND PROFILING…

In one of his songs at the height of his career, “Inner City Blues (Make me wanna holler) throw up both my hands…” Marvin Gaye laments some social realities… Merry Christmas! When Marvin sang those lines decades ago, he was addressing some of the issues, especially Race and one of its derivatives, racism, and how it was impacting Black people. Years on, the institutional social cancer is affecting Black people more than ever. In fact, it’s still front and center in America, fuelled by a powerful political force and constituency. Marvin is long gone, but his sentiments continue to resonate, …

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Commentaries

IMAGINING THE WORLD IN ITS ORIGINAL STATE

People are inherently migratory, so for multiple reasons they’re coming here from everywhere… As I boarded an STM bus last Saturday morning to run some errands around town, there was a sense of excitement among several Black passengers – children and adults alike – but especially the children. They were headed somewhere, evidently for some event. It couldn’t be church (Seventh Day Adventist notwithstanding); people, especially children, do not get that excited about going to church unless it’s for some special non-religious event. As the bus continued along the route, more and more adults and children of different ethnic backgrounds …

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Commentaries

Where We Live, How We Living…

The event was free, always a good reason to show up anywhere, for anything, and be seen. But this one was special, as advertised, free, nothing about that marketing selling strategy: x$, more at the door, the latter always an incentive to get your tickets early…). So on arrival at the venue it was simply a matter of walking in and joining in one or another conversation as guests socialized and organizers awaited the arrival of other panelists. So it’s only fall, but a relatively light first snowfall of the season – the winter season – was ongoing, as a …

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News

Just ask the purveyors of racism…

WHY THEY HATE? The late legendary comedian, social commentator/activist/humourist… Dick Gregory once said, “Racism is a form of societal insanity…” He should know. In his 85 years of life, especially during those heady days of racism when he took his life’s existence and experiences [with racism] to the stage, the social cancer was grist for his work on stage. Although he knew that there was nothing at all funny about that institutionalized social practice and its detrimental effects on many, Dick Gregory injected humour into the subject, which many at different levels – political, judiciary, socially – refuse to address …

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