Photo by Alia Aluma for Queendemme, 2019
Pictured: Shuanna Renee, Misha Maseka, Priscille Bukasa, Justine Tyrell, Zia Patoir, Nyasha Nyamaka, Sabrina Naz-Comanescu, Lady Channing, Madeline Martin, Rheanna ‘caedance’ Lauren, and Aleesha Paige
Queendemme, Ca is a 7-part multimedia journal offering a glimpse into the stunning & expressive energy of Black millennial-ish creative women in Calgary, Alberta. Featuring an intimate but diverse group of cherished locals, the project blends together written and multimedia artistry to provide a lighthearted yet meaningful commentary on the existence of royalty in coffee-coloured skins in the prairies. The past 6 elements: a documentary, 2-part photo series, poem, song, and live event have invited us to joyfully and curiously celebrate artful pride and community that is a small slice of the Black Canadian life. Now, comes the Queendemme music video, the final piece of this intricate, 3-year project and tapestry.
All Calgary born-and-raised, filmmaker Sabrina Naz-Comanescu, producer Rheanna ‘caedance’ Lauren, and cinematographer Wyatt Sawyer set out to create a music video that would spotlight the presence of dozens of Black women artists in the city. A public call went out, and the finished result is a powerful video featuring a myriad of creatives from all walks of life, including some of the ‘legends’ who have laid local industry foundations, such as playwright Cheryl Foggo, dancer Kristy Anthony, community leader Jennifer Burgess and festival founder Tola D. From dancers to singers to culinary artists to DJs, each woman in the production shines brightly in her own unique way. An Areia Creative production, this video shows a side of Calgary, Alberta that has rarely been portrayed as the city’s image: many vibrant, artistic Black women making history and making waves in their daily lives by simply existing and pursuing their passions.
In 2016, the city census showed that only 4.6% of Calgary’s population identified as Black. But even as a minority population group, as you watch the music video, you will see a mighty band of artists glowing with Black excellence. The video features 60 brilliant women artists captured in various capacities over the past 3 years, with the bulk filmed over 3 days, on 16 sets, across 9 locations. As the women dance, sing, and shine their way through the video, they showcase the vibrancy and innovation found in even a small window of the Black community in this prairie metropolis.
A juxtaposition in itself, this “prairie metropolis” is represented in the video’s opening poem. Written by caedance in 2019 and read by local poetic favorite, Priscille Bukasa, the piece speaks of natural and manufactured, created, and imitated, foreign and familiar. The Black Canadian life is a rich and diverse tapestry, woven from many different threads, and patrons of this new work will be invited to experience more on the topic as they journey into Queendemme.
Performed by vocalists BLSNG, Sinzere, caedance, and Lady Channing, and created with musical collaborators Waves, ByLofi, Stige, Sir Coffey, and Steve Dierkens, the Queendemme song alone is a powerful and sunny anthem for Black women in Calgary and beyond. Bopping along to the catchy rhythm and empowering sounds, while experiencing the new visual creation is sure to be a positive kick off to your Labour Day long weekend. “The cinematography is gorgeous. It held my attention from beginning to end. ”Jamelia Campbell, Publicist, ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective.
On September 1st, watch the @queendemme Instagram account for the official music video release, and get ready to feel moved and inspired by the work of these skilled Canadian creators.
The ‘Queendemme’ music video is sure to be an enlightening and enriching experience for all; tune in on September 1st for this memorable moment and worldwide premiere!