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Obeah for the Un....

By: Todd Simmons

About the shit

‘Obeah for the un…’ is about the liberation from the identities imposed upon us, which is integral to our self-determination towards a thriving Black and African Diaspora community. I am reclaiming the beautiful things about us, - in particular our earth-based spiritual practices but also, our music, our style, our tenacity- which have, and continue to be, chastised, vilified, and policed by white supremacist society in the name of eradicating all things ‘other’.

James Baldwin often spoke about ‘nigger’ as an identity that was projected on to the Black community by white society. This act can be referred to as the ‘niggering’ of the African Diaspora and Black identified people:

“What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it is necessary to have a 'nigger' in the first place, because I'm not a nigger. I'm a man. But if you think I'm a nigger, it means you need it.”

‘Obeah for the un…’ is a look at our un-niggering through ‘niggery’ things.

The shit they sayin'

All this time I thought myself alive,

a shard of the Beloved housed in sin.

Until I come to find out,


I had long since drown, in the black ink of the ledger.

Pigeon pea plant and banana suckers on my grave

I vowed to take you with me.


Todd Simmons is a multi-faceted artist of West Indian and Black American ADOS heritage. As a Black child with ADHD from an ‘underserved’ neighbourhood, Todd used art to escape the various traumas related to his circumstances and eventually the neighbourhood itself. His mother used her limited means to foster his creativity at a time when the school system offered little to no real resources to ensure the success of kids like him.

Todd's current project is focused on mapping and creating prototypes and creative protocols for 'Selective Memory' -- in order to bring it to larger, varied audiences through research and collaborations with writers, authors, poets, musicians and content producers from all over Canada.


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