On May 20th at 8:00PM, six youths from Jane and Finch will get the opportunity of enjoying live entertainment by a wide range of Rap Icons, namely Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Too $hort, Warren G, Kurupt and last but not least, Snoop Dogg. While pricing for these types of shows are often priced over $100/ticket, often times, these luxurious entertainment opportunities are not experiences inner city youths in the area can afford. According to Skynation’s C.E.O, Kayode Fatoba, who had secured an opportunity to venture out of Jane and Finch upon attaining a prestigious community leadership scholarship valued at $70,000 according to a post by TD Canada Trust , the now emerging Canadian producer is now looking to give back through a program he says inspired him to get involved in the production industry in the first place. From Deemaks, Walshy Fire X Major Lazer, Tom Macdonald, Joey BadA$$ to Quentin Miller , producing festivals for the City of Vancouver, getting to work on music videos and special event projects, the Toronto native’s credits his creative aspirations for wanting to grow as a Creative Producer to TheSpot , A Jane and Finch based Youth Center located in the heart of the community, of whom Fatoba says took him to see his first ever concert headlined by none other than Beyonce. According to Fatoba, this free concert at Toronto’s Dundas Square, was what inspired his interest in organizing and production.
Skynation interviewed two of TheSpots support staff who gave us a unique first hand insight on their day in day out community work and what a small opportunity to attend a concert might mean to Youths in the Jane and Finch community. According to Felix, “The Spot is a youth driven space, it was created at a time when there wasn’t a lot of space for young people, so this space was designed and developed by them, they stated what they needed and here we are”. A satellite of the Jane and Finch Center, the larger organization working for the betterment of the Jane and Finch community.
Felix is one of the outreach workers who is stationed in the Jane and Finch area working through The Spot to support the community in whatever areas require his intervention.
From settlement team’s focused on community integration and support, to “Youth Mentorship where we go out into the community, into schools and bridge the gap”, the customizable services offered by TheSpot to further empower the community, according to Felix is what keeps their youth coming back. While the Interview occurred in The Spots creative space located in Yorkgate Mall, at the heart of Jane and Finch. While The Spot’s Jane and Finch space comes equipped with various internal sub spaces designed by youths to support the physical need for space. Sometimes the might not want to hang out there, “They might want to hang out at Mcdonalds, go downtown, and do something that’s not just limited to Jane and Finch”. This was part of what opportunities like going to see this Snoop Dogg concert mean.
Although some might not look at access to entertainment services as systemic issue, other engagement staff from the Staffs professionals joined into the conversational interview, citing, “You can go to other neighbourhoods and see the difference, you can go to other schools and see the various services they have that a lacking within this community. According to the TheSpot, “Youths in this community know where they are, and know they have to work even harder to get to where they need to be, that understanding is ingrained, and what support like Felix is there for is to make sure they also have what they need to make it. What we need to understand is that these are all luxuries that require accessibility in terms of time and money says Felix, “sometimes you don’t know when your next meal is going to come from, once one month is done, you gotta focus on the next month as you gotta’ worry about how to make sure you’re working hard to also make sure there’s a roof on your head. “ We just don’t have the time to do luxury at the moment”.
Although to some these luxuries might seem like something the youth can do without, according to The Spot, also looking at it from a mental health perspective for these youths are crucial. For Youths in this community, getting opportunities like these mean a lot more, and having a chance to experience something new opens the brain and that child up to possibilities of being all they can be.
6 Youths Will Get The Opportunity Of Seeing Snoop Dogg Live In Concert live in Toronto on May 20th
“We talk about people of colour on television, in different roles, but when you experience something, it’s kind of the same thing but in a much realer form”, According to felix and his team, getting these types of access really opens up the opportunity to “hope”, where you think I can do that in the future. While a Beyonce concert might have inspired Kayode into the world of production and community organizing, giving back through these partnerships is part of his way in ensuring other youths like himself get the same opportunities he secured. Youths are being asked to write the spot about “What It Meant For You To Experience Your First Concert?” and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org participation is opened to youths 19 - 29.