I am North Preston's Finest
What a year 2020 has been. Now we are approaching the end of 2021’s first quarter and the timing for self love couldn't be more perfect.
Although ‘Black History Month’ is typically only celebrated in February for the majority of the public, for me and my family, we celebrate our rich history every single day.
I come from the largest Black community in all of Canada: North Preston. The community is filled with so much rich history, love, firm faith and yes, we are most definitely Black 365 days a year, both inside and out.
I can remember as a kid always searching for myself.
I yawned through the struggle of not finding anybody in books or on television who looked like me in spaces other than entertainment. Nothing that was published or filmed depicted my people as the beautifully melanated kings and queens I have grown to know that we are today.
At times it seemed as though the only images of myself being a doctor or a lawyer were only those that were found in my imagination. It was that same imagination that created an early belief in myself—built through the strength of my ancestors, I'm sure.
Longing to see another brown face in spaces that I only dreamed of being in became more and more of a challenge as I grew older. At a very young age, that sparked something in me.
Being unsuccessful in my search, I decided that I would be exactly who I was searching for. I dreamed that kids would be able to find what I couldn't find in books and television, in me.
But in taking on this challenge, I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would always be authentically me. That who I am is already enough, as taught by my parents and grandparents. That no I am not perfection, but that I am perfectly me, and that would be enough.
Journey over triumph
Many experiences in my life have led me to this point.
I have failed or have been rejected more times then one can imagine. But I never let it stop me. It is the same resilience that allowed my enslaved ancestors to continue to fight for freedom, that keeps me going.
We stand on their shoulders. We carry the torch. We no longer just speak about the issues that we face as Black folks.
We make moves. We hustle. We grind. But even through all that, we continue to show respect. To be authentically Black.
This is the time for change. To be the change that you want to see. We have generations of youngins looking up to us. We must do what we can do to make their path to success more diverse.
We must ACT.
About Keonté Beals
Keonté Beals is a multi-talented award winning artist and entertainer from North Preston, Nova Scotia. Keonté has been involved in the world of entertainment since the age of six. Keonté has always dreamed of being a business owner/entrepreneur and creating a foundation where he can produce quality content through different forms of entertainment without limitations.
"As a natural-born storyteller, I wanted to be able to tell my stories through whatever form of entertainment I was inspired to do so in. That could be through music, through film, through fashion, whatever the case may be. I want to be able to channel my emotions through more than just one form of art." He says. "I've dedicated my life to the business of people and art. Being authentic and transparent in hopes that my art can heal somebody out there. If my art touches only one person and it helps them then I've done my job."
Follow Keonté on Instagram, opens a new window for musical, meaningful, family-focused content. The Library is thrilled to feature some of Keonté's music and writing in our collection.
About African Heritage Month at Halifax Public Libraries
More than a month.
Every year in February and the months that follow, Halifax Public Libraries, in partnership with the Black History Month Association and countless dedicated individuals and groups, offers high-quality programs that highlight and celebrate the rich diversity, culture, and heritage of our African Nova Scotian community and people of African Descent.
The TD Ready Commitment is the generous presenting sponsor of African Heritage Month 2021 at Halifax Public Libraries. Their ongoing sponsorship—2021 marks 6 years of support!—increases our capacity to host important programs and conversations, and expand our collection, year-round.
Discover more stories, events, resources, and videos on our website at ahm.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca.
Check out the rest of our Black History Matters: Listen, Learn, Share, Act community voices series.
Creators have been compensated for sharing their talents.