Black excellence is not just a hashtag. It is demonstrated in the perseverance, dedication, and compassion of those breaking systemic barriers and generational curses daily. In honour of Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of Black Canadians excelling in their careers. This year’s Black History Month theme for Canada is ‘Ours to tell.’ Recognizing and amplifying the daily contributions Black Canadians make to Canada. Discover 19 Black Canadians making a significant impact.
From former Member of Parliament, Hon. Jean Augustine, who spearheaded the establishment of Black History Month in Canada, to actor Boman Martinez-Reid who keeps us smiling on TikTok, to Dragon’s Den Mogul Wes Hall, these individuals are inspiring change and shaping the future of Canadian culture. Whether in politics, business, sports, or the arts, representation matters, and these 19 individuals lead the way. Read more about these fantastic Black Canadians and their aspirational success.
1. Hon. Jean Augustine / @honjeanaugustine
The Grenada-born Canadian politician was the first Black Canadian woman to serve as a Member of Parliament and federal Minister of the Crown. Jean Augustine is a trailblazer in Canadian politics. Her work was instrumental in establishing the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting racial harmony and combating racism in Canada. Women’s rights advocate and a vocal champion of diversity and inclusion in Canadian society, Hon. Jean Augustine is highly regarded as an integral figure of Canadian history.
“Black history is not just for black people. Black history is Canadian history.” – Hon. Jean Augustine
2. Charlene Carr / @charlenecarrauthor
Author Charlene Carr is making waves in the literary world after self-publishing her first nine novels; her tenth book, Hold My Girl, was published by Harper Collins. The book is an unfiltered exploration of infertility, motherhood, and grief that draws the reader deeper into the story with every word.
3. Chloe Brown / @cb4_to
As a 2022 mayoral candidate, Chloe Brown brings new energy and ideas to the political landscape. She made waves during the 2022 Mayoral election giving a voice to communities who’ve long felt overlooked by the government. Her poignant and direct dialogue on the debate stages quickly garnered her loyal supporters and admirers. With a focus on community building and inclusive leadership, she is poised to make a major impact in the coming years.
4. Bryan Johnson / @onenamejay
As the founder of Black Boys Code, Bryan Johnson is working to close the digital divide and provide opportunities for young Black Canadians to learn about technology and computer science. Through his organization, he is helping to shape the future of Canada’s tech industry.
5. Kerin John / @blackowned.to
Founder of the ‘Black-Owned’ retailer Kerin John, this talented businesswoman is championing a more inclusive retail landscape by supporting Black-owned businesses with a physical retail experience. With a flagship location in Scarborough Town Centre and a new pop-up in Square One, check out Black-Owned near you to shop local Black-owned businesses.
6. Quinton Byfield / @quintonbyfield
NHL centre, Quinton Byfield, is making a name for himself on the ice. He was selected second overall by the LA Kings in the 2020 Entry Draft and made his NHL debut in 2021. His speed, skill, and determination inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans across Canada.
7. Francoise Abanda / @francoise.abanda
Tennis player Francoise Abanda is one of Canada’s rising sports stars. With her powerful serves and graceful play, she is poised to make a solid return to the courts this year at ITF tournaments in Florida.
8. Gersha Phillips / @gershaphillips
Costume designer Gersha Phillips is behind the stunning costumes in the hit film The Woman King. She is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after designers in the industry. Her work has been praised for its attention to detail, historical accuracy, and bold vision.
9. Aurora James / @aurorajames
Model and designer of Brother Vellies, Aurora James, is known for her bold style and outspoken activism. She has been a champion for diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry. Her work is helping to change the conversation around beauty and representation with the Fifteen Percent Pledge.
10. Suzanne Barr / @suzanne.barr.food
Chef, Author and social advocate Chef Suzanne Barr is making a name for herself in the culinary world with her delicious culinary creations. While the pandemic impacted Suzanne’s beloved restaurants, she is on to bigger opportunities, currently working on something new in Miami. Enjoy Suzanne’s culinary artistry at home with her cookbook My Ackee Tree: A Chef’s Memoir of Finding Home in the Kitchen.
11. Darren Hinds / @darren_hinds
Restauranteur Darren Hinds is behind some of Toronto’s most popular eateries, including the newly popular Caribbean-inspired Miss Likklemore’s. He focuses on highlighting the best parts of Caribbean culture, bringing new energy and elevating the restaurant scene through thoughtful, authentic culinary experiences.
12. Wes Hall / @kingofbayst
Entrepreneur and investor Wes Hall has been a standout figure in business as one of Canada’s business leaders. The first Black Canadian to be an investor on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Wes focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He is walking the walk to shape the future of the Black Canadian business landscape.
13. Tamar Huggins / @tamarhuggins
Founder of Tech Spark, Tamar Huggins, is working to bridge the gap between underrepresented communities and the tech industry. Tech Spark is the first tech and design school dedicated to empowering children of colour through education. Her work is helping to increase diversity and inclusivity in the field, and she is a leading voice in the tech community.
14. Jonah Chininga & James Muhato / @jonah_chininga & @james.muhato
Co-Founders of Miq Financial (formerly MICC) are making a splash in the world of finance. Miq is a platform that enables communities to pool funds, invest, and build credit. With their focus on making a cooperative easy for friends and family to create and share wealth, Miq is pioneering a new way to manage money.
15. Boman Martinez-Reid / @bomanizer
Actor Boman Martinez-Reid’s creative skits and commentary on reality TV shows like The Kardashians have skyrocketed him to 2 million followers on TikTok. With his witty performances and versatility as an actor, he is one to watch in 2023.
16. Basement Gang / @basementgang
Basement Gang has quickly risen to TikTok stardom, amassing a following of 6 million with their positive vibes and hilarious, perfectly coordinated performances. The group consists of three best friends, Nathaniel James, Kadeem Hemmings, and Nicholas McDonald. If you’re looking to put a smile on your face, add this trio to your feed.