In the McMaster Athletics Hall of Fame, there are seven Black athletes, trainers and coaches who have made significant contributions to Marauder history over the years. Whether it was on the field or court or giving support to their team, the Black history of McMaster Athletics is undeniable.
Fast forward to today and there are a number of Black athletes at McMaster today who are also contributing to McMaster history. Although there is not yet an official Marauder Black History Month celebration, this article is the first step in celebrating the Black athletes who have given so much to this organization.
Running back Aidoo started playing for McMaster in 1998 and found immediate success after his first season, when he was named the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Rookie of the Year. Throughout his career, he continued to make Ontario University Athletics history for rushing and scoring. Helping McMaster get to their first-ever OUA Yates Cup Championship in 2000, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the OUA and the MVP of the championship game.
His outstanding talent made him a recipient of a number of awards including the Hec Crighton Award as the most outstanding player in Canada, the Howard Mackie Award as the Male Athlete of the Year in the CIS, the Ivor Wynne Award as McMaster’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2001 and being named a First-Team All-Canadian. Aidoo went on to be drafted into the Canadian Football League by Edmonton, playing for the Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argos over the course of his professional career.
The second-year running back has been an explosive player for the Marauders since arrival in 2017. When an injury cut his rookie year short just after week eight, he had already posted consecutive performances of over 100 yards receiving, and even had 225 all-purpose yards against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues the week before.
Even though his season was cut short, Allin was still named to the OUA All-Rookie Team for his contributions to the team. After recovering from his ACL injury, his return to the field in the 2018 season may not have been reminiscent of his rookie season, but his contributions did play a part in helping the Marauders secure a spot in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons on and off the field, Allin and Mac’s playoff run ended after the first round. With a new head coach for the 2019 season, and the possibility of Allin’s predecessor Jordan Lyons leaving for the CFL, the possibilities of what Allin can do for the Marauders in the next few years is something many are excited to see.
It only took one year for Titus Channer to make an impact on the McMaster men’s basketball team. The 1993-1994 OUA Rookie of the Year went on to have a successful Marauder career, full of nation-wide recognition. He was named Second Team All-Canadian in 1994-95 and 1995-96 and received Ontario University Athletics Association Player of the Year, a First Team All-Canadian selection, and the McMaster Athlete of the Year Award twice (1996-1997 and 1997-1998).
The accolades for Channer did not end there, as in his senior year he won the Mike Moser Award as the Canadian University Basketball Player of the Year and the Howard Mackie Award. It did not end there for Channer, as he went on to play professional basketball in Europe and represented the Canadian men’s national basketball team.
David McCulloch, a Hamilton local and Cardinal Newman star, chose to stay home and come to McMaster instead of a number of other offers. Deciding to come to a school who already had a star point guard, Adam Presutti, and wanting to learn from him speaks volumes about McCulloch’s character early on.
Today, the fifth-year senior has turned into the team's leader and star, surpassing 1000 points during his time at McMaster. For the 2017-2018 season he was named OUA Third-Team All-Star and in the summer, he joined Team Toronto with Team Canada’s head coach Roy Rana. A consistent leader on and off the court, McCulloch’s departure this year as he graduates will no doubt be seen in the 2018-2019 season.
With a team mainly comprised of first years and transfer, hopefully, not only his talent but the way he carried himself on and off the court will be the blueprint for the young team. As for McCulloch’s future, whether it is basketball-related or not it, it sure looks bright from here.
Lawrence Holmes found great success during his time here as a Marauder. Winning the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union 61kg three times, it is no surprise that he was also a two-time recipient of the Ivor Wynne Trophy. Holmes was also an international wrestler while attending McMaster, participating in the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 1984 Olympics, and a two-time World Team member. Holmes was also a three-time Canadian Open Champion winning in 1982, 1983 and 1984. But it did not end there. Following graduation, Holmes continued to compete globally and made another Olympic appearance in 1988.
A newcomer on the scene, Simi Jayeoba is a second-year wrestler. As one of two Black female wrestlers on the team, Jayeoba is in the process of making a name for herself. Jayeoba ranked in the top 10 in Ontario’s 67kg category last year and won silver early on this year at the York University Open. As a Black woman wrestler, her just being able to compete at this level is something worth celebrating. The level I engineering student still has a way to go to for her wrestling career at McMaster but is an exciting prospect to watch along the way. Although there are no Black women in the Marauder Hall of Fame as of yet, it's not too late for Jayeoba to be the first.
By: Nyakoar Wuol
The Black experience at McMaster University is not monolithic. I can and will only be speaking in regard to my experience as a Black woman at McMaster.
Being a political science student, I often find myself being the only Black woman or Black person in a tutorial or sometimes even an entire lecture hall.
Within the political science courses, discussions on race, intersectionality and different waves of feminism do not go as in-depth as I would expect them to. After listening to the opinions of white students in these tutorials and their views, it makes sense why these discussions are so limited.
Discussion on race can only go so far if individuals are not sure what to add to the discussion or do not know enough to engage. In tutorials, I feel that when certain topics arise that I find interesting or am knowledgeable of, my opinion is not understood in the way I want.
A perfect example of this would be in my recent tutorial. The tutorial was set up as a debate with around five of us sitting at the front table. We were meant to briefly discuss the key elements of our paper, then answer any questions or rebuttals. For the sake of context, my paper was speaking about the result of Apartheid and its impact on Black South Africans, namely their struggle to be financially independent.
The white man who made the rebuttal made statements along the lines of, “why can’t they pick themselves up by their bootstraps? why don’t they just buy land or a farm? you don’t need a post-secondary education to make money”. All the statements he made would have been answered had he listened to the points I initially made.
I responded by stating that there are systemic barriers in place which limits Black South Africans from attaining wealth or having any form of mobility in their social class. In the wise words of W. E. B. Du Bois, “a system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.”
And yet after stating that, he was still not satisfied with my answer. He responded in a condescending tone but before I could defend my position, the teaching assistant moved the conversation to the next topic.
What I found most astounding was that this student was willing to stand in his ignorance than to believe that there are systemic barriers in place against Black folks not only in South Africa, but around the globe.
Another thing I noticed mainly in my sociology class and at a workshop I attended was that whenever there was a presence of Black folks, there was an underlying element of censoring from the white students. It seemed like they would mainly stick to saying socially-acceptable answers.
I feel that in order for anyone to learn they should not hinder themselves. White students seem to have this fear that if they say something that is not “acceptable”, then they will be vilified and have their opinion disregarded.
But choosing to only say what one thinks is acceptable does not result in any form of growth. If you fear that your true opinion or view is problematic, then perhaps ask yourself why that is?
Essentially, I feel that as a Black woman at McMaster there is much more that is needed to be done within academic spaces. This is mainly in regards to the limited discussions on race, and the lack of representation within the institution.
I, and many other Black students reading this, may feel that we are given the unasked role of being an educator of all things Black to white people. They may very well have certain questions or are limited in their knowledge on the Black experience.
However, it is not Black students’ job to inform and educate. As a great friend of mine said, “Google is free and it’s a great research tool.”
What is the value of an apology? That is one of the questions that JUNO-nominated singer and songwriter Khari Wendell McClelland is exploring in his new concert, We Now Recognize. The show, which consists of all new songs, will tour six Canadian cities for Black History Month. It comes to the Lincoln Alexander Centre in Hamilton on Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.
We Now Recognize is a partnership between McClelland and Project Humanity, a non-profit organization that uses the arts to raise social awareness. The two collaborated in 2017 and 2018 to create the documentary theatre musical of the Vancouver-based artist’s debut solo album, Freedom Singer. Freedom Singer interpreted songs that might have accompanied McClelland’s great-great-great-grandmother Kizzy as she escaped from slavery via the Underground Railroad.
This show is another personal work, although McClelland originally took inspiration from the current sociopolitical landscape. The number of political apologies that have occurred struck him in the past decade or so and especially in Justin Trudeau’s term. He began to question what constitutes a substantive and meaningful apology.
In writing the show, McClelland found himself reflecting on being wrong and the extent of his compassion for those who do wrong. He considered how recognizing wrongdoing feels and how to move forward from it. With this, he also thought about the relationships he has with the generations of men in his family.
“[I was] looking at my grandfather and my father and my brother and even considering what it would be to be… a father and what the implications might mean for a larger society… [I]t's men who are exerting power and have a lot of control in society… What are some of the ideas… I grew up with that I have at different times perpetuated in my own life and trying to figure out like what that might look like through a generational lens,” said McClelland.
The show explores other ideas that McClelland cares about, such as community and the way we wield power over the natural world. In bringing different ideas in proximity with one another, McClelland sees the work as an assemblage like a quilt or collage.
McClelland sees being able to explore a multitude of ideas as a way of celebrating Black life. Unlike his past work with Freedom Singer, which tackled the history of slavery head on, We Now Recognize, is a subtler approach to Black history that it more rooted in the present and in the future.
“I feel like there are ways in which black life can be can be understood as a monolith, that black people in Black communities aren't allowed to have a diversity of experiences and perspectives. I'm very curious… about creating some kind of radical subjectivity around Black life, like being able to be all these different ways that we are just as human beings,” McClelland said.
Not only will the concert allow McClelland a chance to bring forth the multiplicity of Black life, it will allow him to stretch himself and grow as an artist. The personal show will force him to be vulnerable in a way that he hasn’t been before with the communities across Canada that has supported him.
McClelland sees the connection to music as something that erodes for many people over their lifetime. For him, however, it is something that he hasn’t stopped doing ever since it became a part of his life as a kid growing up in Detroit. It moves him in a way that isn’t necessarily positive or negative, but just is. He also sees the medium as essential to building community.
“I feel like healthy communities move together. That they practice together, that they have rituals together… [O]ur connection to artful practices actually has the potential to heal us as communities and individuals coming together… has this real potential for a deep kind of healing… I think it is just a deep medicine in the way that we come together and make music and make art,” explained McClelland.
McClelland is looking forward to this tour to see how audiences connect with the new songs. He is eager to see the way in which people are moved by this meditation on wrongdoing and apology, whether positively or in a way that is a little uncomfortable.
By: Natalie Clark
Hamilton has been getting its fair share of the winter weather this season, so in what better way to embrace it than to explore all that Winterfest 2019 has to offer?
Winterfest is a two-week long affair that features winter events in and around the city. Beginning Feb. 1, there will be free and paid events held throughout Hamilton such as open skate, live music and various themed events. Take a break from studying and enjoy the winter weather while taking part in this timely Hamilton tradition.
Juno Award winner and Hamilton born indie rock singer/songwriter Matt Mays will be performing at Hamilton Central Public Library on Feb. 10. Mays is currently on his Dark Promises Tour and will be making a pit stop in his hometown for an intimate show. Head on down to Hamilton Central Public Library for some of the best music Hamilton has to offer. This is a paid event and tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.
Frost Bites is a four-day event in partnership with Hamilton Fringe featuring some of Hamilton’s best theatre performers. Each night, artists will perform “bites” of theatre shows that are meant to last no longer than 20 minutes each. The festival will also be taking place on Feb. 14 to Feb. 17 at two community locations, the New Vision United Church and St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.
On Feb. 13, Winterfest will be holding a lecture featuring guest speaker Kojo “Easy” Damptey, an afro-soul musician and scholar-practitioner. Born and raised in Ghana, he attempts to address societal issues and enact change in the world with his lyrics. He will be speaking on behalf of stories of existence, resilience and resistance. The event is free and will be held at the Historic Ancaster Old Town Hall. All are welcome to join the celebration and commemoration of Black History Month.
Stressed? Bored? Dying to pick up a new hobby? If any of those resonate with you then this beginners knitting course may be up your alley. For $90 you’ll learn the basics of knitting over the course of three classes, running on Wednesdays from Feb. 13 to Feb. 27. Grab a group of friends and head down to the Art Aggregate in East Hamilton for all the tips and tricks you need to know about knitting.
In honour of the beginning of the Chinese New Year on Feb. 5, Barton Stone Church will be hosting a Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi Open House on Feb. 9. This event is free and includes a demonstration and class, as well as various hot drinks including tea and apple cider! There will be volunteer staff available to chat with you about their class schedule, as well as information about the benefits of Taoist Tai Chi. The event is sure to be a warm evening full of new learning experiences.
The Canteen is one of Hamilton Winterfest’s signature events. Featuring live music from a variety of artists, including Hamilton-based singer/songwriter Ellis, a cozy fire, winter marketplace and various other events, this event is worth the trip to the Battlefield House Museum & Park National Historic Site on 77 King Street West. The location is also known as one of Canada’s most significant monuments of the War of 1812. Aside from participating in the event’s attractions, you are also welcome to explore the museum and historic grounds on site. This is an all-day event taking place on Feb. 16 starting at 10 a.m.