Black Torontonian Culture

Black Torontonian culture can be described as a mixture between Jamaican culture and American Hip Hop culture. Both are pervasive in the dress code of the youth, and their accent/speech pattern, and attitude.
Since roughly 70 percent of Jamaican-Canadians live in the city of Toronto, where they form the largest ethnocultural black group, not only in the city, but also the country, it is expected that they’ll have a cultural impact. The impact of Jamaican culture on youth, including non-Jamaican ones, and while we’re at it, non-black ones, is something you have to hear and see to believe. It’s in their speech, dance moves, music and choice of swear words.

If you’ve ever wondered what a Filipino kid speaking Patois sounds like, come to Toronto. I knew a girl for a few months whose speech was heavily Jamaican, and so perfect was it, I believed she was of Jamaican descent, only to hear her admit she is the child of Ethiopian parentage.  It’s not uncommon in Toronto to hear a Ghanaian try to convince you he’s Jamaican (it happened to my brother). But, this is the influence of Jamaican culture and speech on Toronto’s culture.
Moreover, Canada, particularly, Anglo-Canada, has no unique culture of its own. Almost every cultural slang, trend, fad and interest is borrowed from the U.S. In the U.S., Hip-Hop culture has become the most influential in the mainstream, and naturally its influence on Canadian, particularly, Torontonian culture is deep. Case in point: Drake, a Toronto-born/raised rapper who is the hottest thing in American Hip Hop right now.

The mixture of these two cultures is what defines black Torontonian culture. This is true of everything from the clothes, to the accent, the food (jerk chicken meet fried chicken), to the music. DJs in clubs won’t play Jay-Z without the mandatory Bounty Killa behind it. A good example of this mixture is the music/speech of Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall.  Here, Kardinal tries to teach people the Toronto slang/speech/culture.


About TCDH

Blogger with an opinion.
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