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TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey (back row, third right), TIFF directors Wes Hall (back row, left) and Donette Chin-Loy Chang (front row, right) share the spotlight with family members of Viola Desmond and Wanda Robson. (Photo: George Pimentel)

Firstly

The big news out of the 6 is that philanthropist and community leader Donette Chin-Loy Chang has joined business mogul Wes Hall as a director on the Cameron Bailey led Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) board. Chin-Loy Chang has already made her presence felt with a founding gift in support of TIFF's commitment to rename TIFF Bell Lightbox's largest cinema the Viola Desmond Cinema.

This multi-year fund-raising campaign marks a renewed commitment from TIFF to champion storytelling by black women creators, both year-round and at the festival, to honour black stories, and to recognise the importance of representation for and by its audience members.

Viola Desmond, a successful entrepreneur, while on a business trip in 1946 and waiting for her car to be fixed, decided to watch a film at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Desmond, who had eyesight issues, took a floor seat in order to be closer to the screen. It was a common understanding among the theatre's staff that black patrons were sold tickets to the balcony and white patrons were sold tickets on the floor. When asked to leave her seat, Desmond refused. She was arrested and jailed overnight, and convicted of an obscure tax offence, masking the racism behind the theatre's policy.

Her conviction appeal proved futile and she went to her death unpardoned with few appreciative of her bravery and the importance of her protest at the Roseland Theatre.

Desmond's younger sister Wanda Robson, an activist, began sharing her sister's story in the 2000s. On April 15, 2010, Viola Desmond was granted a free pardon by the Government of Nova Scotia. In 2018, her legacy was commemorated on the $10 bill.

The official reveal of the cinema will take place in 2023, and in anticipation of the unveiling, TIFF marked Viola Desmond Day with the appointment of two front-row seats, side by side, dedicated to the sisters, Viola and Wanda.

And...

It's now official! Island Outpost founder Chris Blackwell has yet another award to add to his already impressive haul: The A&R Icon Award, recognising a career's work that has forever changed the face of the music business. The A&R Awards in association with Abbey Road Studios took place on November 8 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden.

Blackwell, 85, was introduced onstage by YouTube's Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen. A heartfelt and reverential video message to Blackwell from Sir Lucian Grange, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, was played to a hushed room.

Blackwell's acceptance speech to the 500+attendees was a jaw-dropping moment.

Island Outpost founder Chris Blackwell (left) in conversation with YouTube Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen (Photo: Alex Davison)
Island Outpost founder Chris Blackwell during his acceptance speech at the A&R Icon Award (Photo: Alex Davison)
Island Outpost founder Chris Blackwell and his Island Outpost CEO partner Marika Kessler (Photo: Alex Davison)

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