If there’s a word that could define Ottawa’s cultural community, the term “collaborative” comes to mind. For those of us who are involved in the arts, activism, social issues—or any other part of Ottawa’s disparate communities—working together to influence change has always been paramount.
As a growing social enterprise and communications firm based in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown core, MediaStyle is celebrating their 10th anniversary by tapping into the spirit of collaboration. They’ve announced Ten Acts of Tenacity, an initiative that commits the organization to giving back to different groups in Ottawa through ten acts of kindness. Over the course of the next two weeks, the company will be announcing a series of donations, fundraising initiatives, and pro-bono support aimed at celebrating Ottawa’s changemakers.
According to a recent blog post published on their website, MediaStyle is “[…] going to celebrate the people and the groups who are doing important work within our communities to make life better for those we honour and love: from Ottawa’s youth to LGBTQ2S+ and Indigenous folks.”
The first organization that MediaStyle has announced its support for is Girls+ Rock Ottawa, a volunteer-run community organization founded in 2006 that empowers girls, women, femmes, trans, non-binary, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming people through music. Their main event is a three-day camp in which participants learn an instrument, join a band, and showcase their achievements at a live performance.
We’ve contributed to G+RO lots over the years, and are happy to hear that this is the first group to be supported. The continued focus for G+RO means the long term viability and sustainability of the organization, which contributes to a more inclusive, diverse, and safe music scene for everyone.
MediaStyle will host a music showcase on Friday, January 18 at their main office located at 131 Bank St. (3rd Floor), with proceeds going to G+RO to support their camps and workshops. The event will be headlined by spoken word artist and musician King Kimbit and her backing band Black Wax, along with support from Luclia Al Mar and Jessie Simmons.
I spoke to MediaStyle Strategist and organizer of the event Meaghan Murphy about Tenacity.
“At MediaStyle, we aim to spark conversations, change minds, and create thoughtful solutions to communications challenges,” she explains. “In short, we help good people be heard. The values of MediaStyle and Girls+Rock Ottawa overlap in many ways. While the MediaStyle team may not have any musical talents, we have a firm belief in equity for all, and supporting feminist movements. We’re excited to bring these three female artists into our space for a night of celebration and music.”
Headlining the evening is Nguyễn Anh Thư, better known by her stage name, King Kimbit. Her visceral performances show off her ability to connect with audiences, and demonstrate her capability to take on social issues and personal hardships alike. Her words often reflect her experiences growing up as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, the truths of her social vantage point as a young racialized woman, and her stance on social issues regarding racism, de/colonization, and gender inequality. She’s played many shows and worked with Girls+ Rock Ottawa in the past and has participated in their activities before, so it’s no surprise that King Kimbit was a clear choice to headline the show.
“I have performed at a few shows co-organized by Girls+ Rock Ottawa and they have been really great,” she says. “I have also attended a gig planning workshop presented by them and it was really good and important to the community. A few of the members are also my peers and they are women of colour like me, so it is very inspiring to see them be a part of such an amazing initiative.”
King Kimbit will also be supported by a backing band called Black Wax, with whom she recorded her record Life Lessons Poetically back in 2017.
“Black Wax is a three piece band originally curated by Rita Carter to back the Ottawa performance of Liverpool-based poet Malik Al Nasir, who is the protégé of Gil Scott-Heron and Jalal Nuriddin,” she explains. “After seeing them perform with Malik and already becoming friends with some of the members, I asked them to play on my record Life Lessons Poetically and we have been playing together since in local shows and festivals such as Megaphono and Westfest. Unfortunately, Salah had a recent surgery and will not be playing with us this time. Joining us on the drums this Friday will be by Adrian Trotman.
Tickets for Friday’s event are available for $12 online here, or $15 at the door. All door and bar proceeds will go to the performers and G+RO. Find more information below. Doors open at 7:30 PM.