THE HISTORIANS INITIATIVE

In February of 2021, Akil and a team of creatives embarked on a journey with the release of a campaign called the Historians Initiative. In celebration of Black History Month, Canadian production companies Falling Motion and Hallowed Grounds, released a four-minute video short, HISTORIANS, driving a compelling narrative around the history and experiences of people of colour, and inspiring individuals around the world to continue striving forward for racial equity. The video, now streaming on YouTube – won the Best Social Justice Film at the Vancouver Independent Film Festival, Best Director at the Cannes World Film Festival, and many other awards at separate festivals this year.

 

“The racial uproar derived from the tragedies of 2020 brought forth an innate desire for me to use this movement as a creative outlet,” says Akil McKenzie. “The immense collaborative efforts of so many talented individuals provided a platform for us to deliver a truly compelling and inspiring video, which I hope will provide hope to everyone who needs it.”

Through the HISTORIANS campaign, McKenzie drives a movement fostering hope and discussion, calling for action towards racial equity in 2021.

The campaign includes talent throughout Canada and the United States and has been supported by RED Digital Cinema, CBC, BLM,  Canada's Top Drag Queen Priyanka, Carlos Bustamante, and many influencers and celebs. Organizations and companies across North America, Brazil, and Uganda banded together to help spread the message along with elementary, secondary, and post secondary institutions including the initiative and film into their education systems. With tens of thousands of collective views on Instagram through supporters, the Historian Initiative became a key contributor to Canada's Black History Month campaign.

"As artists we carry a gift and a duty to create content through mediums, which offer a compelling platform to drive change,” states Fabio Buritica, Executive Producer, HISTORIANS. “Through Akil’s empowering poetry, he shines a light on so many issues people of colour face, and this incredible collaboration is a testament to how necessary our roles are in working to amplify this message of hope and change as we move forward together.”

Brandon Gonez

A heartfelt poem by Toronto artist, Akil McKenzie that will leave you with chills.

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 12.36.14 PM.pn

The smiles we see in the film reflect the inner affirmation of the spirit of Black souls, and through these histories, it is evident that we will fight on, we will march on, we will live on… 

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 12.27.05 PM.pn

This spoken word artist’s powerful poem ‘Historians’ is brought to life by Toronto-based artists for Black History Month. #TheMoment

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 12.34.54 PM.pn

These are the words shared by Akil McKenzie, as he stares into the camera. His face betrays no emotion, except a look of challenge...

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 12.32.57 PM.pn

He was watching brothers and sisters of his marching down the street and thought: what else can we do? Then he just started writing. 

Screen Shot 2021-05-21 at 12.33.57 PM.pn

Mad. Sad. Tired. Akil McKenzie cycles through these emotions again. And again.