Stage Door News

Toronto: Kuumba celebrates Black futures at Harbourfront Centre

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Toronto’s longest running Black History Month festival, Kuumba, presented by the TD Ready Commitment, returns for its 26th edition to celebrate the Black community, forward-focused and now part of Black Futures Month.

“In 2021, we are taking a deeper look into what it actually means to be unapologetically Black, the courage it takes to stand in our truth, reflecting on our ancestry and the instrumental figures who have navigated through the world before us. Kuumba provides a voice for the voiceless and a legacy that speaks to the future,” says Diana Webley, the festival’s curator and Harbourfront Centre Senior Producer.

This year’s Kuumba features the work of musicians, choreographers, authors, visual artists and thought leaders from across Canada. Rising to the challenges and global events of the past year, partnerships with Wavelength Music, Nia Centre for the Arts, Citadel + Compagnie, The Power Plant, the Black Curators Forum, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, JAYU and Bergen International Literary Festival will deliver enlightening and inspiring programming online and outdoors.

Kuumba is presented by TD Bank Group. “When we launched the TD Ready Commitment in 2018, our goal was to support the conditions necessary for a more equitable tomorrow. We are proud to support Harbourfront Centre, as we push progress forward for the Black colleagues, customers and communities we serve,” says Naki Osutei, Associate Vice President, Social Impact (Canada), TD Bank Group.

All Kuumba 2021 programming is free, with digital content available worldwide via


Online Programming (in chronological order):

  • DANCE/PERFORMING ARTBlack BallerinaFebruary 14–21 

    Dora Mavor Moore Award–nominated Black Ballerina is Syreeta Hector’s powerful exploration of the nuances of identity, and the unconscious ways that we all try to fit in.  

  • MUSIC: BackxwashFebruary 20, 9–10pm

    Montreal-based rapper-producer Backxwash performs after a wildly successful year that culminated in a Polaris Music Prize win. 

  • MUSIC: The OBGMsFebruary 26, 9–10pm
    The OBGMs aren’t your typical rock band. This Black-fronted punk band hopes to inspire future generations of Black musicians with their work.

  • MUSIC: Witch ProphetFebruary 27, 8–9pm
    Witch Prophet is an evolution of Toronto-based, Ethiopian/Eritrean singer-songwriter Ayo Leilani. Think Erykah Badu meets Lauryn Hill meets Jill Scott.

  • MUSIC: Beverly Glenn-CopelandFebruary 27, 9–10pm

    Beverly Glenn-Copeland is a Canadian music legend. After years of absence from the concert stage, catch his exciting new set.

On-site Programming (in chronological order)

These installations will be available outdoors at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), February 13 – April 11. Patrons are expected to maintain physical distancing and wear masks while on-site. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please do not visit our site.

  • VISUAL ARTDear AyeeyoFebruary 20 – April 11

    Through three large-scale portraits, Yasin Osman shares scenes of everyday life within the villages of Somalia in tribute to his grandmother. 

  • VISUAL ARTEverything she left behindFebruary 20 – April 11
    Christine Nnawuchi’s wall sculptures occupy the liminal space between artefact and lore. Her work examines these objets d’art with their own tales and history

  • VISUAL ARTFemme De FleurFebruary 20 – April 11 

    Apanaki Temitayo M’s portraits were inspired by the Yoruba goddess Oshun, who is the embodiment of love, healing, fertility and freshwater.

Kuumba is funded in part by the Government of Canada. Harbourfront Centre gratefully acknowledges the generous funding and programming support of its Site Partners: Government of Canada and City of Toronto; Programming Partners: Government of Canada; Ontario Arts Council; and Canada Council for the Arts; City of Toronto, and Corporate Site Partner: Labatt Brewing Company.