Magazine article Herizons

Long Time Comin'

Magazine article Herizons

Long Time Comin'

Article excerpt


You can hardly call this film a "documentary." Long Time Comin' is more like a celebration. It invites you to celebrate the art, the life, and the spirit, of blues musician Faith Nolan and artist Grace Channer.

Nolan and Channer are black lesbians who come from diverse backgrounds. Nolan is a fifth-generation Canadian, born in Halifax and raised in Toronto's Regent Park. Channer is a first-generation Canadian from Jamaica and Britain. Yet they share an uncompromising passion for justice, truth, and a deeper understanding of self.

Faith Nolan's music and Channer's art stand in stark relief against a blank background of white, middle-class productions which float along with the oppressive, dishonest, and boring status quo. I believe that art, in its purest form, revolutionizes our understanding of ourselves. It does not merely stimulate: it liberates. Nolan's blues and Channer's paintings do just that. Their integrity and virtuosity is irresistible. I cannot walk away from a Faith Nolan concert feeling complacent about my white privilege. I cannot look at one of Grace Channer's canvasses without being moved almost physically by strong emotions.

The problem of so-called "fine art" in a racist white society is that it does not lead to a deeper understanding of self. It does not tell the truth. It merely decorates the social structure and covers it up with lace and fancy footwork. The result is, quite simply, disguise and deception. Real people and real emotions are nowhere to be found. Most art and music leaves you feeling, in Nolan's words, unconnected - to yourself, to others, and to Nature.

The alternative, says Faith, is the people's music: "Real music about real things that are important. The other stuff is just bullshit music to keep people's minds empty." Says Channer, "Art is an expression of the people, the culture, the time. …

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