Calgary poet Wakefield Brewster. Photo: Elizabeth Stange

Five Black artists on the future of Calgary

What does true civic reinvigoration look like?

This week, Afros in Tha City and The Sprawl collaborated on an Instagram series called Black Futures: Artists in The Sprawl. These stories—reported by Aurora Sol, Ado Nkemka, Chris L. Butler, Dooshima Jev and oualie frost—are gathered here.

Afros in Tha City was born out of the desire to see a future for Black folks in Mohkinstsis (Calgary). A future marked by success, joy and triumph. A future free from barriers, alienation and police brutality.

So while we collectively mourn the Black futures that never had a chance to take form and hope for a better tomorrow, we can’t help but wonder: Are things getting any better?

Part of honouring Black history must include paving the way for brighter Black futures. If we’re not doing that, our Black History Month celebrations are merely items in a content calendar, or worse, harmfully performative measures.

At Afros In Tha City, we want to see Black folks thriving all year round, and our way of contributing to this mission is by amplifying voices and fostering a sense of community and belonging. So as Black History Month is behind us, we wanted to check in on folks to see how optimistic they are about their future here in Calgary.

We talked to five Black artists about where they see themselves, where they see Calgary going, and what challenges face Calgary today.

Welcome to Black Futures: Artists In The Sprawl.

Tomi Ajele is editor-in-chief of Afros In Tha City.

Learn more about Afros In Tha City at