Toronto, The Former Screwface Capital

#HERcollective Contributor: TiKA

TiKA, a Toronto-based Creator and Founder. (photo: Kadeem Ellis)

Toronto is such a beautiful city. One of the only cities in the world that has so many various cultures melted together. But we do not just live amongst one another, Toronto has spent years developing slang from our multicultural dialects + languages to create a language all our own. It’s interesting to watch Americans come to our city and be in awe of our slang, our originality, our pride. However self-awareness is something that has been hard to come by for us. We’ve been looking externally for validation for our music, fashion, taste and otherwise for a long time. For many years, Canadian urban musicians would run to the States for recognition and a deal…until now. Our attitudes have shifted. Something is in the air. Somehow Toronto found self-awareness. We realized that WE were talented all along but needed community and fellowship to realize it. Unification is something I’ve always wanted to see within our city. But we were labeled the “Screwface Capital” and everyone thought it was cool to scowl at each other. At concerts. At events. In private. In public. It got to the point where I think we fundamentally forgot how to be…well, kind.


This is no longer the case.

I ran an urban event series in the city called The Known Unknown and watched artists perform like it was their last time, to a community apprehensive to cheer each other on. There was an underlying insecurity where people couldn’t support someone else for fear of diminishing their own brand. I’ve never seen the harm in openly telling someone how I feel about their artistry, especially if it’s amazing. I don’t think it’s right to casually ignore someone you know personally (who you’re aware is talented) but quickly spend cash on that new Fetty Wap. And there’s something so unsettling about attending a local concert specifically to screw up your face. For Chrisstsakes, you spent the money. Why be mad? I’ve always felt like this was a deeper issue though. Where did this screw-facing and lack of support start, and where did it come from?

When we’re already terrified of what the outside world thinks, why wouldn’t I want to feel warmth and safety at home? 

Yet how could we ever know our worth when we’ve had no spaces for us to feel supported, validated, or more importantly, affirmed about ourselves and our talents? Where are the spaces for the people who long to communicate fluidly without the screw-face? Did we forget how to take it off?

It was when I found self-love that I began projecting that on my closest relationships and watched those relationships and those people blossom. Everything in life is a practice, so I had to practice un-screwing up my face and practicing something more effective.

Toronto is my home. All my life I wanted to be able to go home to warmth, acceptance, peace and love. I created that withinmy own community. I removed the screw face and started practicing love within my relationships and built #BAREGYAL and #GYALCAST. 

#GYALCAST, Canada’s only podcast that features a roster of personalities comprised completely of Black Women. (photo: Kadeem Ellis)
TiKA. (photo: Jah Grey)

HER Collective is a beautiful representation of what practicing love can look like. Women of colour supporting women of colour. This beautiful new representation shifts everything you thought Toronto was about. This new Toronto is filled with love, honour, power, respect and above all Sisterhood. It’s culture. It’s community. It’s the core of how we’ve always wanted tobe to one another. Real. Kind.

It’s unfathomable that underneath it all, we’ve always been talented. But we were just too afraid to remove the screw-face and work with one another. Let’s not waste too much more time.

Cheers to The New Toronto.

Welcome to #HERcollective. <3






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