Now, if you follow me on Twitter and FB, you will know that I am out and about this week covering the yearly goodness that is Manifesto. I will be working on a piece for Revolt.tv, but in the meantime, I figured a few words about my day are truly warranted.
I’m going to state this one more time because this statement truly came from the heart. I wrote this as my status on FB as I sat on my sofa to reflect upon the day:
Today was a DAY at MANIFESTO Festival, y’all. It was an emotional roller-coaster ride. Like I said on Twitter, it has been an exhausting, inspiring, emotionally draining and spectacular day.
I’m all about safe spaces for women to shine and be vulnerable with each other. But I also love the fact that safe spaces for real and valuable discussions between men and women in the arts resides in Toronto as well. Shouts to the Manifesto team for providing this outlet and for simply getting it right over the years. They’re not on their tenth year for nothing.
There were so many gut-wrenching, challenging and thought-provoking conversations that took place during the panels I attended, that it would have been remiss of me to not come through and say a few words. Now, no offence to the men on the panels (I shall chat more about Director X at a later time), but it was all about the ladies. Queen Bey had it right when she declared that girls run the world. But let’s take the ‘girls’ moniker and replace it with ‘women.’ For me, the women stood out and proclaimed the stage as theirs yesterday. They shared in their triumphs, their personal obstacles and most of all—their unwavering perseverance.
At the keynote address, Nam Kiwanuka spoke candidly about her physical abuse by the hands of her father and her attempt at suicide at the tender age of 13. The ‘In Conversation‘ round with Stacey Mckenzie had her relaying stories about people who were quick to shut her down, berate her and deter her from aspiring to become the supermodel she has become today. The ladies of Roxanne’s Revenge: A Candid Discussion About Women in the Media (Anupa Mistry, Kayla Greaves, Samantha O’Connor,
Amanda Parris and Sajae Elder) all discussed their position in media, discrimination and demanding respect in their field. As you can imagine, there was a lot to take in.
For me, the reoccurring themes from the panels that I attended were perseverance and authenticity.
In terms of perseverance, without that one characteristic, they would not be the women they are today. Without authenticity and staying true to their voice and pursuant of their dreams, they would not be in the positions that they are in today. It was heart-breaking, yet inspiring. Riveting and restorative. Informative and enlightening. All the discussions evoked so many feelings, that I was seriously drained by the end of the day. But the funny thing is, it wasn’t an unfavourable feeling. It was more of an exulting celebration of holding these sisters in even higher regard than I did already. I walked out of the Manifesto panels absolutely proud of the women that we have here doing the damn thing as journalists, models, editors and television hosts—representing media in the most ways. Seeing one’s progress through the rosy spectacles of social media is one thing, knowing and understanding the rough patches and the journey it took to get there makes it all the more real.
Next up on Wednesday—Gyalcast Live featuring Ponytailz and Tanisha Scott