Antonio Michael Downing grew up in Southern Trinidad surrounded by jungles. However after the loss of life of his grandmother, he made the transfer to Northern Ontario.
Downing shares his full journey in his not too long ago launched memoir Saga Boy. Via writing, he shares his experiences of exploring his journey from Trinidad to Canada in addition to how he navigated his personal racial identification and seek for belonging.
In an interview with The Morning Present, Downing mentioned the sturdy presence of his grandmother all through his life. Out of the numerous classes he discovered from her, the 2 that left the most important impression on him had been songs and phrases.
“She was all the time singing … She taught me the right way to learn at a really younger age in order that I could possibly be her eyes, and people two issues influenced my life to today. I’m a author and I’m a singer,” he stated.
When Downing moved to Canada, he skilled racism for the primary time at 11 years outdated. All through his journey, he realized there’s a lot behind how folks view him and that being Black is only one factor about him.
“I’m a brother, I’m a son. We’re so many issues. We’re all lovers, we’re associates,” he stated.
“Being Black simply means you need to form of navigate different folks’s tales and my reply to that’s to be inventive and and actually what they name Black excellence to be somewhat bit higher.”
Navigating shifts in his personal identification from making music to working in company Canada, allowed Downing to specific totally different elements of himself, he says.
“All these identities I did by way of performing simply allowed me to convey out true identities, select elements of myself that I couldn’t every other manner,” he stated.
Along with engaged on shifts inside his identification, Downing additionally says adapting to life in Canada and studying about how folks lived their lives right here compared to in Trinidad was fascinating.
In Trinidad, the place the setting is sort of a sunny jungle and rainforest, Downing says the Canadian winter was a shock. Particularly, he discovered himself mesmerized by icicles.
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“I had by no means seen ice outdoors of a freezer that didn’t soften. My aunt Joan would come to Trinidad and say, ‘In Canada we drive on ice’ and we might simply chuckle,” he stated.
Moreover, Downing says the distinction in how folks spoke in Canada versus in Trinidad was totally different to him.
“Loving the sound of music and the sound of phrases I simply wished to slot in,” he stated, including that he would spend quite a lot of time training the Canadian tone and methods of talking.
Watch Downing’s full interview with ‘The Morning Present’ within the video above.
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