Canadian media, despite its claim to the opposite, has what the Canadian Association of Black Journalists and Canadian Journalists of Colour call a "glaring racial inequity." In an industry with a serious lack of representation, Black and marginalized communities have had to carve out their own unique spaces. Cindy Charles, host of the new Montreal-based talk show Sister Talk aims to break down the barriers in Canadian media while empowering and inspiring women.
Sister Talk features Charles and her co-hosts, Anne-Lovely Etienne, Cherizar Walker, and Drea Wheeler discussing everything from relationship advice to how to deal with the loss of a loved one.
With a bottle of wine and dishing on topics literally fished from a dish, the women of Sister Talk are as funny as they are unapologetic.
"What really sets the show apart is that nothing is rehearsed and the questions aren’t known in advance," says Charles. "The reactions are all very authentic and nothing is taken out."
MTL Blog sat down with Charles (minus the wine) and found out more about what to expect from Sister Talk.
Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
My first intent is always to empower women in whatever I do. Storytelling is an amazing way to empower women, and all people, I think.
And even though the show is lighthearted and fun for the most part, the girls and I dig a little deeper and talk about what kind of obstacles we face, personal stories, and how we’ve dealt with death even.
Hopefully, people are entertained with funny episodes and with the deeper ones — maybe even feel a connection and even learn something.
With the political climate now, it’s also about having better representation in the media and showing well-educated, well-spoken Black Canadian women.
I want them to feel like they’re being represented in a positive way.
How do we break down barriers for Black and marginalized communities?
With the traditional route, the opportunities for us are few and far between. I encourage anyone who has the creativity and the means to create original content, do it and don’t worry about the feedback. Just do it.
If you love and do it and are talented, it will come across. It can open a lot of doors for you.
You know, no one was going to hand me a talk show. I had to create my own content. Have a vision, be original, and bring other people with you! It’s so much fun having co-hosts to share this experience with.
Would it be fair to call the Sister Talk a sort of Montreal version of Sex and the City?
Hell no! (laughs) Don’t get me wrong, I love the show and was one of the first in line when the movie came out. However, as someone who has lived in New York, the show is absolutely unrealistic — no one can sustain that lifestyle, especially not as a blogger!
Of course, there are some parallels between us — the four girls with four different personalities, the fashion — I guess I’d be kind of the Charlotte of the group!
One of the criteria for the show, when I chose my co-hosts, was that they had to be completely 100% honest.
I made sure that I chose people who are unapologetic about their truth, their opinion, and aren’t worried about being politically correct.
I did everything I could to keep it as authentic as possible so I think it would be unfair to that effort to compare it to a scripted show like Sex and the City.
New episodes of Sister Talk air Tuesdays on YouTube.
If you aren't already psyched to watch Canadian athletes win gold at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, here's a whole new reason to be eager for Olympic glory: free doughnuts.
For every gold medal Canada wins, Laval-based pastry chain Mr. Puffs is giving away five free honey and cinnamon or sugar and cinnamon Puffs, which are bite-sized Greek-style doughnuts, at any one of their stores.
This means that you, too, can enjoy the sweet flavour of victory from the comfort of your own home, without the need for incredible natural talents and years of body-shredding, sweat-inducing training.
According to the company website, Puffs are traditional Greek doughnut holes (called loukoumades), invented thousands of years ago by the ancient Greeks and enjoyed by Olympians of old.
If the win happens after 9 p.m. or overnight then the prize is valid the next day, so keep an eye out for news of athletic victories.
To win, all you have to say is, "go Canada, go!" at the cash register. The promotion ends August 8 and doesn't apply on any delivery platforms, so you'll have to make the athletic feat of getting to the store.
All women enrolled in a full-time university program in computer science, computer engineering and construction, and electrical, electronic and communications engineering will be eligible for a $3,000 scholarship each year for up to four years — by the end of their studies, this would total $12,000.
Courtesy of BLUSH: Lesbian Party MTL Courtesy of BLUSH: Lesbian Party MTL
Montreal has all kinds of different bars, but these changemakers say many of them fall short in making space for LGBTQIA2+ women. For this reason, Avery Burrow, event organizer, and Resto Keela teamed up to create 5 à 7s for LGBTQIA2+ women that take place twice a month.
The events were created for members of the LGBTQ2S+ community to connect. According to Burrow, "queer women can actually have a reoccurring space where they can meet each other, flirt, make friends, and feel safe," at these new 5 à 7s.
Keela has a cute wooden terrasse located on rue Atateken with a beautiful spacious interior. These events are set to take place every first and third Wednesday of the month for the entirety of the summer and all LGBTQIA2+ women are welcome.
"[It was] better than I ever could have imagined! [...] And the wildest part about it was that I knew almost no one there (insert joke about how the queer community is super small and we've all dated)," Burrow said when asked how the first event went.
"Also the age range was awesome — from 18-year-olds attending their first queer event to women in their 70s catching up with old friends. This is how a lesbian space should feel; welcoming to all ages, gender expressions, and ethnicities."
During the events, you can get a pint of beer for $5 and any speed rail drink for $6.
5 à 7 For LGBTQIA2+ Women At Keela
Address: Resto Keela; 1237, rue Atateken, Montreal, QC
When: Every first and third Wednesday of the month throughout the summer, starting at 5 p.m.
Since July 1, it has been possible for people who have had to recover from unemployment due to the pandemic and for people who have not been studying full time in the last 12 months to register for one of the training programs of the Program for the requalification and the accompaniment in information technology and communications (PRATIC).
Whether it's a college or university program, a certificate, an attestation of college studies (AEC) or a diploma of specialized graduate studies (DESS), among others, there are 142 training programs waiting for future students.
In Montreal alone, nearly sixty college programs and 20 university programs are available, and a total of 15 in the Capitale-Nationale region.
There are, for example, ACSs in programming, multimedia production, mobile application development or graphic design, to name a few.
The complete list of training courses offered by region can be found on the government website.
Thanks to a budget of some $39.6 million, financial assistance of $650 per week will be offered to 2,500 Quebecers for the duration of their full-time training. A $1,950 bursary will be awarded to graduates.
Who is eligible to enroll in PRATIC?
Two criteria will determine if a person is eligible to register for PRATIC. You must be unemployed and not have been a full-time student in the 12 months prior to applying.
The government suggests that you contact the Services Québec office in your area and an agent will determine with the future student if PRATIC corresponds to his/her needs.