Friday February 26 at 8 pm, $15. Caribbean Spoken Word for Black History Month, at Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne Street, Hamilton. Rhoma Spencer returns with a new “Frankly Speaking” evening of Caribbean Comedy and the Oral Traditions, with special guest Jamaican-Canadian comedian Blakka Ellis. Call 905-543-8512 to reserve.
Rhoma Spencer is an award winning actor and director, play creator, comedienne and broadcast journalist from Trinidad and Tobago (TNT). Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Archipelago, her works has been critically acclaimed in the Globe and Mail, Now Magazine and the Toronto Star. (http://www.theatrearchipelago.ca/)
One of the pioneering women in the annual Paul keens Douglas€™ Talk Tent; a post carnival event for the oral traditions and comedy in Trinidad and Tobago, she performed in this forum for nine years before migrating to Canada in 1999.
In 1998, under the sobriquet Lady Spencer, she was a finalist in the International Soca Monarch Competition in Trinidad and Tobago and that year, her chart topping selection, Ring bi ding saw her winning a Sunshine Award in New York for Best Rapso. She then went on further to capture the Best New Artiste in the TNT Music Awards in 2000.
A well sought after MC in the Trinbagonian community in Toronto, Ms Spencer€™s brand of comedy prides itself on the Trinbagonian oral tradition of giving fatigue, ole talk and mauvais langue. She takes issues of the day and turns it on its head with a level of humour and hilarity. Rhoma can be seen in the second season of the TV sitcom Da Kink in my hair.
Blakka is widely regarded in the Caribbean as an outstanding actor, writer, director and stand-up comic. He has worked all over the world not only as a performing artist, but also as a trainer, workshop facilitator and motivational speaker. He appears in numerous radio, television and print commercials, theatrical productions and films; including the Jamaican blockbuster “Dancehall Queen” and Warner Brothers’ “Club Paradise”.
He has performed at the world famous Apollo Theatre In New York, The Hackney Empire in London, and at major comedy festivals in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Florida, Washington DC and all over the Caribbean either as a solo act or as part of the popular “Bello & Blakka” comedy duo.
He won the Secondary Schools Drama Festival Award for Best Actor in 1977 and wrote and directed “Pump up the fun!” which won a JAMI award for best children’s musical for Groundwork Theatre Company in 1990. He acted in two LTM Pantomimes “Sipple- Silver” and “Bruckins” and co-wrote “Schoolers”, which won the Jamaica Music Industry (JAMI) award for best musical in 1989. Blakka also co-produced and starred in two of Jamaica’s most successful comedy productions “Laugh Jamaica” and “Tings a Gwaan!”; and wrote and directed the highly acclaimed experimental dancehall drama “TICK TOCK!”
Blakka has won silver and bronze medals for his poetry in the National Literary Arts Contest and read at the prestigious Calabash International Literary Festival. His first collection of poems “GATEMAN” was published in 2005. He has also performed at Reggae Sunsplash and toured France as a percussionist and backing vocalist with pioneer dub poet Oku Onuora.
He worked for eleven years as a part time lecturer at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts and served for nine years as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Trench Town Primary School.
Blakka writes a humorous and insightful weekly column “Blakka’s Box” which appears in the Jamaican STAR every Wednesday. He currently resides in Toronto.