Raggae, hip-hop and R&B music highlight Emancipation Festival

More than 100 people met at the Iqaluit Cadet Hall for the Urban Beats Night of the Emancipation Festival on Sept. 25.

The festival featured rhythm and blues, reggae and hip-hop artists from all over Africa, Canada and Nunavut. Among the big names on stage were renowned local rappers FXCKMR and 666god.

Kaka Dustin Ashoona and his friend Jason Samayualie attended the event, and were thrilled with the music they discovered: “Best night of our life!”

Musical events are always popular in the city, and the variety is appreciated, said Joey Idlout and Nadia Ootoovak from Pond Inlet.

“We’re really enjoying the show. It’s something different. First time we heard African music, for sure!”

The crowd was also excited to have Safi Madiba on stage.

“Safi is from Rwanda. He travelled all over Africa and even toured in New York. He has over 400,000 followers on Instagram! We are very fortunate to have him here,” said Steven White, board member of the Nunavut Black History Society.

Food stands and a few kiosks selling clothes were present, including C-zee’s fashion and Cutieesglam. The two brands clothed the models in the city’s fashion show last year and sold hats, dresses and traditional African clothing over the weekend.

“It was a superb night! We had a very good turnout and support from the community for the event,” said White. “The artists did a wonderful job with their performances. It was nice to have local rapper Young Keen open up the stage, Faith Russell with her soul music too. It was nice to see some locals dance to Mosbe Black’s afrobeats as well. They really all did great.”

Félix Charron-Leclerc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunavut News