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Interview: Humble The Poet

We’ve been watching Kanwer Singh aka “Humble The Poet” for a while now and recently got a chance to talk to the Toronto teacher and MC who is making it his mission to dissect deep motifs and connect with anyone willing to listen.

What is it about writing/poetry that resonates with you so deeply?
It’s not just poetry and writing. It’s just creativity in general. I love the concept of bringing ideas to life. I love the feeling of having a spark in my mind and then watching it come to life. The journey isn’t as enjoyable. If I write a verse on a beat, and it’s a painful process at times, once I release it and see the finished product and see it connect with people, it motivates me to start all over again.

How did Humble the poet come to be? Why Humble?
I was raised in a family of Sikh heritage and it’s a common theme that our egos are a big source of a lot of our misery so staying humble is something we can do to reduce that. Obviously we all got egos at different levels and in different situations; I’m not the exception to that rule. The idea of “poet” came from the evolution of literary art, to not simply be a rapper, to simply be an MC but taking it to another level, acknowledging the Shakespeares, Edgar Allen Poes.

Why do you think people from all over the world, truly connect with your words?
In the past couple of years I shifted the focus from social issues to the human condition. In my research, learning about what’s happening in the world and scratching beneath the surface and realizing the themes that are going on; a lot of it has to do with human nature. We’re all going through the same things, doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You deal with anxiety, regret. We’re haunted by our past; we get nervous about our future. We’ve been through heartbreak. Ideals like that, not only do they touch everybody around the world, they’re timeless as well. Having the ability to articulate that, nice and simply, especially when they’re heavy concepts, I think that’s why people gravitate towards what I do.

Tell us a little bit about your book Unlearn and why you thought it was important to publish.
What happened was I was working full-time as teacher with the Toronto district school board, grade three at the time. And I was doing slam poetry on the side. Slowly, I started writing more and putting stuff up online and when that transition came where this no longer was the side project and took my main attention. When I made that transition and left my job, or took time off the job specifically to focus on this, I realized I didn’t have to pick up a lot of new things, I really had to forget a lot of biases and idealisms that I had ‘cause they were holding me back from progressing. The idea of Unlearn came from there. I just started blogging, blogging on my Facebook page just to connect. And it was the support that was like, ‘you need to start collecting your work, and publish it as a book.’ I crowd sourced the book though indie go-go and raised over $26,000.

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What is your objective; why is it important to you?
My objective is to bring ideas to life and I have grand scale ideas. Like, full length feature films that I want to bring to life. I realize I have to stay on my grind. Working in entertainment and working in the creative space for a number of years now, you understand how it really works so you have to keep your profile up there if you want those doors to open. In the beginning it was just you know, getting the attention of a couple girls (he says with a laugh) and doing something cool but I think now at this point, I realize that that this path in life is the first time I feel like I’m exploring my potential and I wanna realize my potential. Through that, I wanna connect with as many people as possible and make a contribution to society and this planet. It’s important to me because it gives me purpose, gets me outta bed. I think so many people in this life aren’t fortunate enough to have the time to discover their purpose, a purpose that excites them. My parents immigrated to Toronto, me having the freedom to take that risk; I feel that it’s my obligation now.

Most rewarding part about teaching/poetry?
You get to see your words/ideas change shape based on the context of who’s listening to them. You see them connecting. You learn so much about yourself working with kids ‘cause you start to realize how much of what you think is in your second nature, how much you are wired to believe, wired to act is really just socialization. Kids are blank slate; they don’t have the same biases that we do, the same preconceived notions. So when you encounter a child and they don’t have that, it reminds you that at one point, you didn’t have that either. So that puts you in great position to unlearn.

What do you hope people take away from your work?
We turn on the radio coz we want life to feel a little bit better. We read a book ‘cause we want life to feel a little bit better; we consume art for that purpose. When dealing with emotions nowadays people are going towards medication. I’m really hoping at the bare minimum people are hearing what I have to say through the different types of art I create and realize they’re not alone. Once we connect with people, once we realize we’re not alone and the things you’re feeling or going through are normal, you feel a lot less isolated, letting people know they’re not the only ones with anxiety of what may happen tomorrow, letting people know they may not be the only people who regret their past and re-live it over and over and beat themselves up about it. Sometimes you gotta put on that a catchy beat, sometimes you gotta put it on the page, capture it in an image and put that on a sweat shirt. I just want to connect.

Photo by Gurjit Badal

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Previously: Humble The Poet – “F.E.A.T.H.E.R.S”

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Greatness isn’t measured by how much you have, rather it’s gaged by how much you give.

Dear friends of @1LOVETO, Chef @AdrianForte (Food Network) has decided that for his 3rd annual community holiday dinner he wanted to team up with 1LOVETO to reach even more people in need. On Saturday December 27th, when everyone is out shopping for Boxing Day sales we will co-curate a dinner for members of our community who need it most. No matter the details of the story, if you or someone you know could benefit from this dinner, all are welcome.

We are excited to open the doors to our home Revival Bar (783 College St.), from 3-6pm on Saturday Dec 27th, with already confirmed attendance c/o Street Voices and Breakfast Club of Canada, this will reach people in need from every part of the city.

So now to you! We are inviting our readers to donate non-perishable food items at our Holiday Shuffle Party at Revival this Friday night Dec. 26th! A portion of the donated food will be used by Chef Adrian Forte for our 1LOVETO dinner and the rest will be donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

DONATIONS CAN BE MADE HERE

What: Holiday Shuffle Party

When: Friday, Dec 26th, 2014

Time: 10pm – 2am

Where: Revival Bar – 783 College St. West

For more info visit: facebook.com/shuffleparty or email: shuffleparty@gmail.com

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Toronto Christmas Market #AmexLife

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Last Friday, we visited the world famous Shop.ca Toronto Christmas Market at the historic Distillery District. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out on a very unique indoor/outdoor shopping experience presented by American Express. It’s truly become a Toronto holiday tradition!

We started our adventure at the American Express Lounge. A place where everyone alike can escape the Canadian cold… Next to it, we played a round of ‘Spin To Win’ at the Amex Cabin, for our chance at some great prizes.

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After warming up in the lounge, we made our way through the cobblestone walkways by following the sounds of the Candy Cane Carolers. We ended up at the sound stage and joined in with the performers by singing along with some classic holiday feel good songs. The Market’s lineup was stacked with great Canadian artist with American Express providing the entertainment on select evenings.

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Believe it or not, we built up an appetite while singing our lungs out, so we decided to taste test some of the local vendors in the Market. Let’s just say, you need to try the giant pretzels, the chicken drumsticks and the French Canadian poutine. If you feel like grabbing a beer or Christmas cocktail we suggest you make use of El Catrin’s heated, yes we said heated outdoor patio. There’s nothing more Canadian than enjoying a cold one on a patio in the middle of winter!

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For those of you under 19, don’t worry, you can still enjoy a cup of hot chocolate by the cozy fire pits throughout the Market or over to the American Express Lounge for a complimentary cup!

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One of the coolest things about the Market is that you can shop both indoors and outdoors while supporting local vendors. If you’re looking for a one of a kind gift for that special someone, you’re sure to find it at the Shop.ca Toronto Christmas Market.

Follow @1LOVETO & @AmexCanada #AmexLife

Lupul

Follow Joffrey Lupul on his off days at some of his favourite spots in the city. From his local coffee shop, to his favourite live music venue, to his “boys night out” steak house. Rate his style by Gotstyle and for every vote, Joffrey Lupul and Gotstyle will donate $1.00 to local charity – The Remix Project. Last year the #LupulStyle collaboration raised $25,000 for the True Patriot Love Foundation, this season they’re looking to raise even more for The Remix Project.

VOTE HERE: lupulstyle.com

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To learn more about The Remix Project, please visit: theremixproject.ca

Follow @1LOVETO #LupulStyle

The Regent Park Film Festival

The beauty of film is that it can relay powerful stories and messages which can resonate with the viewer and change perspectives. When those films are coming straight out of your own neighbourhood and represent your voice, that’s power.

The Regent Park Film Festival does exactly that and we were lucky enough to check out the 2014 festival at Daniels Spectrum. Festival Manager, Amanda Pileggi, told us that the festival is not only accessible and open to all, it offers free admission and free child care! She says RPFF is a place where “everyone can connect to storytelling and film” and fosters a deep sense of community and connectivity.

We caught the screening for “Black Men Loving” directed by Ella Cooper, Intersections directed by Snap! A youth filmmaking workshop, and Hope Heights directed by Marc Magnusson in partnership with Manifesto.

Black Men Loving did a phenomenal job demolishing the stereotype of Black fathers by profiling some in Regent Park and across Toronto. Jason Creed, father of four, was one of the fathers profiled and recounted some moving truths of parenting young girls. We also got a real look at a homosexual relationship which, regardless of the endless stereotypes, provides a loving home to their son.

Intersections is project by the RPFF, funded by the Ontario Arts Council. “Professional artists Sheena D. Robertson and Richard Fung worked with youth from the Regent Park and Lawrence Heights communities, who wrote, produced, acted, and filmed all aspects of the production.” It takes the audience on the journey of one kid and shows us how we all connect, or intersect, without even noticing it. It sheds light on stereotypes the kids of Regent Park and Lawrence Heights face and the reality they have to survive in a very clever way.

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Hope Heights is about a section of Toronto known as Lawrence Heights. Although the community has seen violence and tragedy, the point of the film explains that the media makes it worse than it actually is. We all rely on the news to tell us what’s happening in the world but sensationalism is compromising the facts. The community doesn’t deny terrible things have happened there but the good outweighs the bad; the people are respectable and the potential is infinite. The lesson we come away with is to seek out truth for yourself; if you didn’t see it with your own eyes, or hear it with your own ears, you don’t truly know.

For more info: regentparkfilmfestival.com

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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EAST vs West T.O.

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We found ourselves in a room with a panel of some notable Torontonians debating a question that has caused clashes, confrontations and general chaos: East end or West end, what’s better? They called it, “An intelligent discussion on a not so important topic.”

Representing the West End: Roz Weston of the Roz & Mocha Show on Kiss 92.5FM and Co-Founder of Toronto music label Arts & Crafts, Jeffery Remedios.

Representing the East End: City Breakfast Television Host, Jennifer Valentyne and Editor/Publisher of NOW Magazine, Michael Hollett.

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Vogue Magazine recently declared Queen West one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. It’s got Bellwoods Trinity Park, the Entertainment District and cool hotels like The Drake. Does cooler mean better though? East end boasted about their green space, a family orientated community and the ease of getting into downtown anytime they want. They claim the cuisine is amazing and it’s far easier to make a reservation and enjoy your surroundings. There is less congestion there and has a very chill vibe. East end is home to Leslieville and The Beaches but West end has The Annex, Parkdale and The Junction.

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Things got a little heated when an audience member challenged Roz on the very existence of Scarborough. The man in the audience claimed Scarborough doesn’t really exist saying, ‘it’s Toronto’. Roz, obviously annoyed, came back with, “Scarborough does exists. Tell somebody FROM Scarborough that Scarborough doesn’t exists; Scarborough exists!” The man says, “I AM from Scarborough!” Remedios chimed in with, “Oh no, you’re from Toronto.” The audience was in stitches! LOL!

The general conclusion of the night? The best end depends on who you are and what you like. You’ll find something that fits you because here, it’s all good in the hood.

Photos by Katherine Holland

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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The Remix Project was created in order to help level the playing field for young people from disadvantaged, marginalized and under served communities. Our programs and services serve youth who are trying to enter into the creative industries or further their formal education; The REMIX Project provides top-notch alternative, creative, educational programs, facilitators and facilities. Our mission is to help refine the raw talents of young people from across the GTA in order to help them find success as participants define it and on their own terms.

The Remix Project is now accepting applications for the following youth programs.

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APPLY NOW (DEADLINE: DEC 27TH, 2014)

For more info: theremixproject.ca

Follow @1LOVETO & @TheRemixProject #MakeItHappen

ArtReach Youth Pitch Contest

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“The pitch contest challenged me on so many levels. I’ve had the opportunity to pitch for funding before, but I’ve never done a creative pitch with other people. Through the experience I learned how to be a better leader and how to deliver an entertaining pitch in front of a panel of judges. I was also able to meet new friends and establish connections that I didn’t have before. It was hands down one of the most exciting experiences of my life.” – Anthony Gebrehiwot, XVXY Photo

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That’s just a glimpse into the gravity of the Youth Pitch Contest created by ArtReach and City of Toronto Arts & Culture. It created a platform for young artists and entrepreneurs to pitch ideas surrounding their craft to a panel of respected judges including our very own, Bryan Brock, in hopes of winning up to $5,000!

“The arts are a powerful and motivating way that youth are involved in their communities. Whether it’s in someone’s basement, or through a community program – young people are creating art all over this city.” – ArtReach

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The eight finalists included: Black Like We, JellyTooFly, Pomegranate Tree Group, Wild Moon Jewelry, Pique Toronto, Alien Nation, XVXY Photo and Corex. Winners included, Anthony Gebrehiwot of XVXY Photo, Fiona Raye Clarke of Black Like We, Dwayne Holness of Corex and Asia Clarke of Wild Moon Jewelry.

Asia hoped the prize money would help her with funding to attend a Jewelry Arts Academy for Goldsmithing in Trinidad and Tobago as well as to hire an assistant to help with existing demand, two key pieces she felt she was missing. In her pitch, used a combination of audio/visual projection and live models. The four key element of her speech were, “Future, Heritage, Create, Magic”.

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“Preparing for the pitch contest was a challenge because I really wanted to win but was made nervous by my amazing competitors – I was already aware of and inspired by their work” says Asia, “I have connected with some of the other finalists and even made plans to collaborate on future work which is dope! I’m looking forward to that.”

It’s always a thrill to witness the scope of creativity in Toronto. The Youth Pitch Contest is another reminder that one proactive step towards your goals, is a giant leap towards your dreams.

For more info: artreach.org

Photos by Miguel Arenillas. Additional photos by Ebti Nabag & Idil Jailani.

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Previously: Youth Arts Pitch Contest

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1 LOVE T.O. presents our 5th Annual Holiday Ice Skating Party on Saturday, December 20th, from 8-11pm at The Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West). We’ve got our official DJ DLUX along side DJ LISSA MONET and our very own T-rexxx as host for the night.

If you’ve got your own skates, bring ‘em! If not, don’t worry, we’ve got skate rentals available, but arrive early, they sell out quickly. If it gets too cold, don’t worry, you can keep warm with hot chocolate, food and other drinks inside the lounge!

We’ll see you on the ice!

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Toronto Skyline Porn (Video)

Ryan Emond does it again! Toronto Skyline Porn is exactly what its title implies – a full frontal visual journey through Toronto’s growing skyline. The scenes were shot over the past few years from different heights and in different seasons. Enjoy… #1LOVETO

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1LOVETO’s 2nd Annual Photo Walk

Last year @1LOVETO decided to host our 1st Annual Photo Walk with our official photographer @SoTeeOh. We spent over 3 hours hiking through Evergreen Brickworks, capturing shots and taking breaks to learn some helpful tips from @SoTeeOh. This year we’ve decided to switch up the scenery and meet at City Hall where we’ll be walking to the Financial District and eventually The Distillery District.

Join @1LOVETO along side both of our contributing photographers @SoTeeOh & @ellenaturel this Sunday, November 30th from 1-4pm.

If you love taking photos as much as we do, we want to see you there! All you need to bring is your smartphone (apple, android, other), camera (DSLR or film), or both.

Can’t wait to see you!

WHEN
– Sunday, November 30th
– 1 to 4 pm

WHERE TO MEET
– City Hall (Outside Front Door Entrance)

Follow @1LOVETO @SoTeeOh @ellenaturel #1LOVETOphotowalk

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Last week we attended the official launch of “The Creator Class”, a channel dedicated for those who share their passions for a living. It’s a new breed of creatives in Music, Style, Adventure, Arts and Culture that have become the voices of our generation.

The night was produced by FREE – a next generation content studio built for Creators, by Creators – in partnership with Canon. They featured the art of Camille Jodoin-Eng, the music of Dead Horse Beats, and the food of FeasTO. Everyone who attended also got the chance to get their hands on the brand new Canon 7D Mark II.

Some of the notable attendees included: Visionelie, Sean Brown, Jayscale, Jackie Beale, and many more.

With so much talent in the city, and around the world, a project like this only makes sense!

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For more info, visit thecreatorclass.com

Congrats Chris & the entire team!

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