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  • Writer's pictureMichèle Newton

Expression is you celebrating you

Updated: May 2, 2018

Black people have been through so much. This is our month for everyone to know a little bit more about Black History—to educate, but also to celebrate, in a way. You get inspired to just do better.—Philys OG

Be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else —Judy Garland

Thoughts on Black History Month

As a kid, I never really celebrated Black History Month—other than that they would mention it in my school, we never had a celebration or talked about what it really means. I had to Google it myself when I was older.

Black people as a whole have been through so much and this is our month for everyone to know a little bit more about why Black History Month is a month; to educate but also to celebrate, in a way. On Instagram I see a lot of posts celebrating black women and I love reading about them to educate myself about where they came from, what they've been through and how they got to where they are. You get inspired to just do better.

In some ways I feel like this is my month. I just do more black things, like I wear my Afro out and go to Caribbean and black events in Toronto. —P.O.


By Michèle Newton It’s black history month; Time to let my hair out

To wear the bright colours of my heritage and to sing loudly if I like

A month of celebrating my black roots freely

Embracing the music and art that are part of me

Encouraging others to learn about the history of where we are from

Some are drawn to touch my hair in naive wonder

What happens to me when the month is over

Will I wrap up my nature and my nurture for eleven months

Or will I discover that black history month

is my everyday, my every month and my always

I dream of a time when we embrace diversity

and love each other’s differences all year long.

Who is philys

When not answering questions about her hair from curious people when she’s at the mall or shopping, you’ll find Philys snuggled up cocooning at home watching TV/Youtube videos, eating more than the recommended serving size and hanging out with friends and family. Not that she doesn’t get out to shows and events with her friends on the weekend, but she’s just loving being herself on her own terms.

With some of life’s biggest achievements already checked off her list, Philys is learning to love living outside of the GTA. From making announcements over her school PA system, to studying Radio Broadcasting at Humber College, she’s slipped easily into her dream career as a full-time radio host on Fresh Radio 104.5 (formerly on Barrie's Fresh Radio 93.1).

Her community passions include helping children and food banks whenever the chance arises, but she is hopeful to have an opportunity to volunteer at a women’s prison. As a volunteer Philys would be there to support them and provide relief from their daily routine. The value of having caring people in your life who listen without judgement and are a symbol of hope, can’t be understated.

Love yourself. You're different in the best way. —Philys

How about Role Models?

Growing up Philys had strong role models in her real life and on TV.

Her mom: Always working hard, at two, sometimes three jobs, Philys follows her lead, “She's always working hard for us, and she's never upset or sad. She's always happy.”

Raven-Symoné (not the actor): The first role model she remembers as a kid was the TV character Raven, “That was the first time I saw someone who reminded me of me on TV. I grew up being more vocal because of her; wore more colors because of her; so she was my main role model.”

Oprah Winfrey: Philys’ respect and admiration for Oprah’s success and her humble beginnings is something she falls back on often.

“Whenever I have a really hard day, I just think about ‘What would Oprah do? Would Oprah just stay down and cry?’ No! She’s going to get up and she's going to try and do her best each day and the next day, and the next”.

Photo by: Michèle Newton


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