15 years, that's worth celebrating!
The Massimadi Foundation is proud to celebrate with you this 15th edition of the Massimadi Festival. The post-pandemic years have not been easy for the survival of the festival. Personally, I feared that I wouldn't see this celebration. However, thanks to a determined team armed with a strong will, we managed to hold on and deliver to you today this commemoration of our 15 years.
We've faced many challenges and obstacles since the creation of the festival. Fifteen years ago, we started in classrooms at UQÀM. At that time, many people denied the existence of LGBTQ+ individuals within black communities. Through the films we screened—fiction and documentaries—we wanted to show that we exist, that our stories were real, that our contributions to Afro-descendant cultures were significant, and that our sorrows, joys, failures, and triumphs were universal. We aimed to inspire other individuals from black communities to assert themselves, by showcasing diverse people and characters that reflected their identities and questions.
It was also essential for us to highlight the cultural diversity that constitutes Quebec, to familiarize the general public with viewpoints that were neglected by mainstream media and culture. We wanted to create and offer platforms to Afroqueer artists so they could share their worldviews and experiences with the Quebec and Montreal communities. We hoped they could serve as role models for young and future generations, encouraging them to take their place and develop a sense of belonging in their environment.
For 15 years, we chose the arts to combat homophobia, transphobia, and racism. We're proud to have been able to offer and showcase alternatives to mainstream culture through our films, artistic performances, exhibitions, panels, and conferences. We brought artists to the forefront, and we presented unique works.
Evidently, in the artistic sphere in general, there is an increasing willingness to include the marginalized voices we've been revealing for 15 years. Our battles from the past have found an echo in today's cultural world.
I want to thank all the individuals who contributed to the success of the Massimadi Festival: TD Bank, the official presenter of the festival in recent years, Canadian Heritage, the City of Montreal, our community and cultural partners, our volunteers, and all the teams who have been involved in coordinating the festival over these past fifteen years.
I also want to extend special thanks to the founder of the Massimadi Festival, Solange Musanganya, and the former organizers: Patricia Jean, Carlos Idibouo, Anthony Plagnes-Payá, Gio Olmos, and Soyane Diallo.
A big thank you to the new team led by Wanderson Santos, who brought this 15th edition to fruition.