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Jennifer Holness

Jennifer Holness

Executive Producer, BLK: An Origin Story

Sudz-Sutherland

Sudz Sutherland

Executive Producer, BLK: An Origin Story

BLK: An Origin Story elevates the unsung heroes who substantially contributed to Canada’s nation-building and to Black Canadian history.

Have you heard of the Black Loyalists, the Jamaican Maroons, or the Black Refugees? Descendants of these three epic migrations represent Canada’s largest Black population today. How about John “Daddy” Hall, who fought in the war of 1812 and was captured and sold into slavery before making a daring escape and finding his way back to Canada 13 years later? Or have you heard of Hogan’s Alley, once the heart of Vancouver’s Black community?

It’s high time that we start telling and learning the stories of the many remarkable Black Canadians who have largely been left out of our history books and our societal and cultural storytelling.

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Black history is Canadian history

Every February, Canada celebrates Black History Month. There’s no better time to learn more about the deep historic impact of Black presence in Canada. The legacy of Black contributions in Canada dates back to when explorer Mathieu de Costa first set foot on shore, over 400 years ago — and there’s so much more to it than the Underground Railroad.

This Black History Month, The HISTORY Channel® is launching a new limited docu-series called BLK: An Origin Story. Premiering on Saturday, February 26, the four-episode series delves into the untold story of Black people in Canada and their legacy, revealing the deep historic impact of Black presence in Canada and elevating remarkable Black Canadians whose stories have previously been unacknowledged. From the west coast to the east coast, BLK: An Origin Story takes viewers across Canada and shares riveting, enduring, and multifaceted historical Black Canadian narratives.

An award-winning team

BLK: An Origin Story is produced by award-winning production team Hungry Eyes Media in association with Corus Studios for The HISTORY Channel, and created by award-winning executive producers Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland. The series features some of Canada’s best-known and under-known experts of Black Canadian history, including authors, academics, musicians, historians, community leaders, activists, and elders.

“I think the world is going to be shocked at the erasure of Black Canadian stories,” says Holness. “They’re going to learn that Canada, while an incredible country, has some of the same fundamental issues that we associate with the U.S. or even the U.K. What’s unique about the series is that it’s coming out of a post-George Floyd world. The lens through which people will look at this story is different. It also features contributors who are national treasures, like George Elliott Clarke, Charmaine Nelson, Isaac Saney, Oliver Jones, Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, and Esi Edugyan.”

“I think this docu-series has the potential to bring a lot of healing,” says Sutherland. “Young, Black folks are trying to grow up, feel like they belong somewhere, and believe that their stories matter. I think the time is right for this kind of a series.”

The HISTORY Channel is a Corus Entertainment Network and is available through all major TV distributors, including Shaw, Shaw Direct, Rogers, Bell, Videotron, Telus, Cogeco, Eastlink, SaskTel, and STACKTV, streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video Channels.

Don’t miss this comprehensive, multi-layered, multi-disciplinary, and fundamental Canadian journey. It’s truly essential viewing.

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