The Akua Benjamin Legacy Project documentaries were all executive produced by Alison Duke of Goldelox Productions for Ryerson University. Alison selected 5 Toronto-based black female to each direct a short film on black activists whose persistent resistance against racism and systemic oppression helped to make Toronto the diverse city it is today. These films directed by Sarah Michelle Brown, Sonia Godding-Togobo, Laurie Townshend, Ngardy Conteh George and Ella Cooper have renewed the discussion about the legacies of anti-black racism heroes within what I like think of as the black civil rights movement in Toronto, Canada from 60-90s. For this project we focused on Gwen and Lenny Johnston of the Third World Bookstore, Rosie Douglas, Charles Roach, Dudley Laws and Marlene Green. These groundbreaking works premiered at the 2016 inaugural Akua Benjamin Public Lecture at Ryerson University during Black History month that focused on fifty years of black activism and resistance in Toronto. It had its festival premiere at the Caribbean Tales Film Festival in 2016 and won the award for best Canadian presentation.
The screening of these films have sparked a real urgency for more black Canadian content to be produced and also have highlighted the roles of black women in film.
Each film has its own style and message. We interviewed a lot of local activists who marched along side with them. We concentrated on what made each activist a hero in the community and what values we need to cherish.
Check out some of the media coverage of the films: