Robbe Hardnette says coming up with Dressed in Black as title for his documentary came easily.
A dress is like a person’s skin, he said.
“If I’m dressed in this black exterior, that primarily is what people see first rather than the human being,” Hardnette told the Straight in a phone interview.
As a Black person, the Houston-raised and now Vancouver-based life coach and counsellor knows that one person’s skin colour can lead to different outcomes.
Dressed in Black chronicles the journey of Black people from Africa to the U.S. and Canada.
The documentary made its debut in 2020.
As part of the celebration of Black History Month, which runs February 1 to March 1, 2021, Hardnette made a remix.
Hardnette related that he wants to contribute to the appreciation and recognition of Black Canadians.
According to him, their contributions to the building Canada as a country are not often highlighted.
The official web page of the federal Canadian government about Black History Month makes the same observation.
Here’s what the online site says:
“Black people and their communities have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
“Black history in Canada has not always been celebrated or highlighted. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were people of African descent, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by soldiers of African descent as far back as the War of 1812.
“Canadians are not always aware of the fact that Black people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada or how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of the diverse and inclusive society in Canada.
“Black History Month is about honouring the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. It is about celebrating resilience, innovation, and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada—a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish.”
Hardnette wants to do the same.
“My desire is to bring more of that information to the forefront so it could be recognized and appreciated,” Hardnette said.
“And the end result,” he continued, “is the ability to see that we are all one people, and the colours just are there to highlight the uniqueness of nature, such as flowers are different.”
Hardnette is also the president of the Columbia Performing Arts Society.
The nonprofit will present the remix of Dressed in Black via Zoom at 3 p.m. Saturday (February 27).
G&F Financial Group, a credit union, is a sponsor of the event.
To register for the February 27 online showing of Dressed in Black, register here.