This new CBC documentary series uses contemporary interviews and archival footage to chronicle Canada’s long history of anti-Black racism, including episodes on police brutality and the rise of hip-hop music.


Primetime, TIFF '23

Black Life: Untold Stories

Duane Crichton, Will Prosper, Leslie Norville

Black Life: Untold Stories is a new CBC documentary series tracing the individual and collective histories of Black people in Canada, dedicated to “dispelling common myths and celebrating the many contributions of Black Canadians.”

Employing different visual aesthetics and editorial approaches in each episode, the show’s first episodes address the history of enslaved people in Canada that our politicians whitewash, and the attempts of Black Canadians to create their own communities in the face of intimidation and violence from their racist neighbours.

“Northern Beats” and “Justice Denied”, the two episodes screening at the Festival, form a compelling argument that the oppression chronicled has been baked into the fabric of the nation. Remixing archival media and adding context through contemporary interviews with Master T, Maestro Fresh Wes, Kardinal Offishall, Jully Black, and others, “Northern Beats” shows us how Dream Warriors, Rascalz, and Mellie Mae paved the way for Drake and The Weeknd to take over the world. And “Justice Denied”, with its horrific images of casual violence against Black bodies, shows us the inevitable consequences of a nation’s disregard for the basic humanity of people it deems lesser-than. It’s a hard watch, but a necessary one if we’re to understand how we got here, and the new directions we need to take.


Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

Content advisory: depictions of racialized violence; racist language


Mon Sep 11

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Tue Sep 12

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Fri Sep 15

Scotiabank 6