Tag Archives: CBC Gem

Link: TV writer Zarqa Nawaz creates stories that challenge stereotypes about Muslim women

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: TV writer Zarqa Nawaz creates stories that challenge stereotypes about Muslim women
Between 2012, when the sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie” went off the air, and today, as Zarqa Nawaz’s latest TV series is about to debut, our small screens haven’t exactly been awash in Muslim women. Continue reading.


The Black Academy and CBC set The Legacy Awards for September 25 at History in Toronto

From a media release:

Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, Scarborough natives and co-founders of The Black Academy, alongside CBC, Insight Productions, and Bay Mills Studios today announced that the inaugural edition of The Black Academy’s award show, The Legacy Awards, will air on CBC and CBC Gem on Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 8 p.m. (9 p.m. AT/9:30 p.m. NT). The live 90-minute telecast is the first major Canadian award show to celebrate and showcase Black talent and will be broadcast from Live Nation Canada’s newest entertainment venue HISTORY, in Toronto’s east end. The telecast will feature performances, award presentations, and tributes honouring both established and emerging Black Canadian talent. Information about the award categories, membership, the submission process, and additional details will be announced in the coming weeks.

“When Stephan and I were thinking about a name for the award show, we really wanted it to convey something big and lasting – it’s about creating a legacy for this and future generations of Black Canadians,” said Shamier Anderson, Co-Founder, The Black Academy. “We want viewers to recognize and appreciate how much Black talent there is in this country and to be inspired by all the nominees and award recipients for years to come.”

“When we walked into HISTORY for the first time we were totally blown away and after months of discussions, everything immediately started to feel real,” said Stephan James, Co-Founder, The Black Academy. “It’s a very cool, very state-of-the-art venue, but also really intimate. HISTORY is the perfect home for The Legacy Awards and we can’t wait to work with our partners at Insight on the look of the show.”

“We are excited to offer a nationwide platform for The Legacy Awards, as The Black Academy makes history this September,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. “All of Canada is invited to participate in this celebration of Black talent and achievement, and we look forward to collaborating with the Black Academy and Insight to produce an inspiring and dynamic award show.”

The Black Academy, Insight Productions, and CBC are committed to hiring Black senior staff and crew members for The Legacy Awards. Insight Productions continues to accept résumés from those who have a passion for live events and award shows at BlackAwardShowResumes@insighttv.com.

“In addition to The Legacy Awards, we have other incredibly important initiatives and we’re very grateful to everyone who has come on board early to support the organization on a year-round basis, helping us to empower Black talent,” said Martha Hagos, Executive Director of The Black Academy. “The Black Academy is at the forefront of a cultural shift in Canada and we continue to call on other forward-looking organizations to aid us in this challenge.”

The Legacy Awards is executive produced by Shamier Anderson and Stephan James of The Black Academy and Bay Mills Studios. John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr are the executive producers for Insight Productions (A Boat Rocker Company). For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports and Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content. Daniel Abrams and Norbert Abrams

also serve as executive producers. The 2022 edition of The Legacy Awards marks the first of an exclusive three-year partnership with CBC.

The Black Academy gratefully acknowledges the financial support of eOne Canada and Bell Media which support The Black Academy’s year-round operations.



CBC and HBO Max renew Sort Of for a second season

From a media release:

CBC and HBO Max have renewed SORT OF for a second season, it was announced today. Created by Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), the critically acclaimed CBC and Max Original comedy debuted on HBO Max in November 2021 following its Canadian premiere on CBC Gem in October 2021. The series was an official selection of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and made The Hollywood Reporter, The Globe and Mail and Vanity Fair’s Best TV Shows of 2021 lists. SORT OF also leads this year’s Canadian Screen Award nominations with 13 nods, including Best Comedy Series.

“We are so thrilled that we are able to dive back into the worlds of SORT OF, and to keep exploring the evolution of all our characters (including some new ones!) as they continue to investigate who they are in the world as friends, family members, lovers and human beings,” said Bilal Baig, co-creator, showrunner, executive producer and lead actor.

“SORT OF speaks to the complexity of being human in the world with wit, warmth and an authentic sense of inclusivity, thanks to the distinct voices of Bilal and Fab,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, CBC. “SORT OF has struck such a powerful chord with audiences, and we are thrilled to work with HBO Max and Sienna Films on the next chapter of Sabi’s story.”

“Baig and Filippo’s honest and insightful storytelling is a lesson in unraveling conventional views of identity,” said Jeniffer Kim, SVP, International Originals, HBO Max. “We could not be more excited to partner with CBC and Sienna Films on another season of this very special show.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience to develop this show from the ground up with Bilal and Fab, and now to have the opportunity in Season 2 to dig even deeper,” said Jennifer Kawaja, executive producer, Sienna Films.

Called “funny, tender, and humane” by NPR, “the kind of representation everyone deserves” by Mashable, and “a small masterpiece of contemporary urban storytelling” by The Globe and Mail, SORT OF follows the journey of “Sabi Mehboob” (Baig), a gender fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family. Sabi feels like they’re in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. A coming-of-age story, SORT OF exposes the labels we once poured ourselves into as no longer applicable…to anyone.

The series is created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers, and produced with the participation of the Canada Media Fund. Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja is also an executive producer on the series. SORT OF is distributed worldwide by Sphere Media. Abacus Media Rights handles sales outside of the United States and Latin America.


Links: The Porter, Season 1

From Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post:

Link: Labour of love: Sabryn Rock’s latest acting job was a life-changing experience
“It was this interesting kind of synchronistic thing … having this huge life event of motherhood happen and then portraying somebody who all she wants is to be a mother.” Continue reading.

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: CBC’s ‘The Porter’ sheds light on part of Canadian history with ‘energy,’ ‘sexiness’ and ‘fun’
If you want to know what CBC’s historical drama “The Porter” is about, there’s a lot to be gleaned from the television series’ opening minute and 10 seconds. Continue reading.

From Sadaf Ahsan of the Toronto Star:

Link: CBC’s ‘groundbreaking’ new drama series ‘The Porter’ is a story of Black ambition
When CBC’s “The Porter” debuts Monday, it will become one of the network’s largest Black-led television series, ringing in Black History Month in a “powerful” way, says Toronto star Ronnie Rowe Jr., who adds that he’s “honoured to be a part of history.” Continue reading.

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Previewing CBC’s The Porter with the creative team
A rich, wide-ranging story of Black Canadians during the 1920s, the series follows the story of the titular porters who work the railways and their extended community of family and friends in Montreal. Continue reading.

From Johanna Schneller of The Globe and Mail:

Link: The Porter is an overdue win for Black representation on Canadian TV
When the cast wall went up, everyone got a lump in their throats. Headshots of the actors playing the 100-odd characters in The Porter, an eight-part CBC series in partnership with BET. Row after row of faces. Ninety-five per cent of them Black. Continue reading.

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: The Porter takes a rare look at the injustices, triumphs of Canada’s Black Diaspora in the 1920s
In the new CBC series, The Porter, part of the action takes place in a lively night spot called Club Stardust. It’s a gathering place for many of the characters in the series, a hotspot in Montreal’s Black neighbourhood of St. Antoine in the roaring 1920s. Continue reading.

From Alicia Cox Thomson of Chatelaine:

Link: How CBC’s The Porter Made Me Reexamine My Own History
The Porter takes place in 1921 when train travel for wealthy white people was the height of luxury; train porters were always male and Black. Continue reading.

From Sherlyn Assam of Broadview:

Link: ‘The Porter’ showcases Black Canadian train workers’ historic fight for equality
CBC’s new original series The Porter tells the fascinating story of how Canadian train porters helped organize North America’s first Black labour union. Continue reading.

From Bill Brownstein of the Montreal Gazette:

Link: Brownstein: CBC-TV’s The Porter revisits the Black experience of 1920s Montreal
Some had just returned from fighting overseas for Canada during the First World War. Others were recent immigrants from the Caribbean. They had dreams of finding promising jobs and earning the respect of their fellow countrymen. Continue reading.

From Etan Vlessing of The Hollywood Reporter:

Link: ‘The Porter’ Creators Talk Black Representation and Canadian TV’s Culture Shift: “It’s a Pretty Powerful Moment”
Canada is making a giant step forward in representation with the civil rights drama The Porter, to air on the CBC and BET+ stateside. Continue reading.

From Carolyn Hinds of The Gate:

Link: Loren Lott and Aml Ameen talk The Porter on CBC
“Colorism has affected me all my life, you know? But it’s something that I always swept under the rug, just like I think the Black community has.” Continue reading.

From Norman Wilner of NOW Toronto:

Link: The Porter gives Black Canadian history a new look
Mostly, the show is about the path to social justice for its idealistic characters, which is paved with tragedies, betrayals and setbacks. But it makes room for Black joy, and that feels important. Continue reading.

From Bill Brioux of Brioux.tv:

Link: The Porter is a dazzling train ride 100 years into Canada’s past
Set 100 years ago in the early 1920s, the Canadian railway drama tells the story of train porters Junior Massey and Zeke Garrett (Ami Ameen and Ronnie Rowe Jr.) and their families as they strive against fierce resistance to form North America’s first Black labour union. Continue reading.

From Charles Trapunski of Brief Take:

Link: Interview: The cast and creators of The Porter
It was extremely resonant hearing from Marsha Greene, in particular, about the ways in which The Porter developed along the way, finding the correct track, so to speak. Continue reading.

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: The Televixen chats with the women of The Porter
In the final part of my chat with The Porter team during the press day, series stars Mouna Traoré (Marlene), Loren Lott (Lucy), and Oluniké Adeliyi (Queenie) discuss working on the show. Continue reading.


Preview: CBC’s The Porter is an important story of Black history in Canada

The first thing that struck me about The Porter, CBC’s newest series—debuting Monday at 9 p.m.—was the sound. The flick of a lighter, the crackle of a tobacco cigarette igniting, the scrape of glass on a wooden bar. Then, it was the colour of the clothing, a peacock of brights, followed by the music. This, I told myself, was going to be different. And I was right.

Co-created by Arnold Pinnock and Bruce Ramsay, showrun by Marsha Greene and Annmarie Morais, and based on true events, The Porter delivers a rich and dramatic look at the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal—known at the time as the Harlem of the North—the key characters who live in it and the relationship the community has with the train line between Montreal and Chicago.

The eight-episode journey begins in Montreal in 1921 and follows train porters Junior Massey (Aml Ameen) and Zeke Garrett (Ronnie Rowe, Jr.). While Zeke fights the railway to change how Black porters are treated by unionizing them, Junior takes advantage of the existing structure to pursue money and power through gambling and bootlegging. Meanwhile, Junior’s wife, Black Cross nurse Marlene (Mouna Traore), and club performer Lucy (Loren Lott) are set on different paths to a better life after an awful tragedy.

In CBC’s press material for The Porter, series creator, executive producer and writer Pinnock, an avid reader and history buff, first came across the story of the sleeping car porters and the first Black Labour Union. It resonated with him, and the first seeds of The Porter grew in his mind.

I’m a history buff as well, and a series like The Porter not only tells a story from Canada’s past but an important Black story from this country’s past. The Porter has been grabbing a ton of headlines for its storytelling, creative team, cast and crew. So, is it worth the hype? Absolutely.

The Porter airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.