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Top Picks from Dalton Higgins

Top Picks from Dalton Higgins

In recognition of Black History Month, Dalton Higgins is proud to be guest curator for the NFB and present a selection of his top three favourite films from our Focus on Black Filmmakers channel.

See more from our Black History Month Curators:
Top Picks
Top Picks from Fondation Dynastie
Top Picks from Ella Cooper
Top Picks from Michael P. Farkas

In recognition of Black History Month, Dalton Higgins is proud to be guest curator for the NFB and present a selection of his top three favourite films from our Focus on Black Filmmakers channel.
Focus on Black Filmmakers - NFB
Celebrate Canadian perspectives from Black filmmakers with the NFB. Explore our free collection of titles from Black filmmakers across Canada, showcasing an extensive selection of stories told from...

Dalton Higgins

Dalton Higgins is a publicist, author of six books, educator, award-winning journalist and cultural critic. Higgins’ publicity roster includes clients that have won Awards including: Grammy Awards (USA), BET Awards (USA), Emmy Awards (USA), The Mercury Prize (UK), Victoires de la Musique/French Grammy’s (France), and Juno Awards (Canada). His book Far from Over: The Music and Life of Drake is carried in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame collection in Cleveland, and his best-selling Hip Hop World book is carried in Harvard University’s hip hop archive. Higgins has recently co-produced and/or co-hosted popular podcasts for the CBC (This Is Not a Drake podcast) and Rogers Media (Black Tea). His university course “Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd” has been featured on CNN, New York Times, and NPR, and he has been a mentor at Toronto's creative incubator HXOUSE (The Weeknd).

From lending his voice as a narrator for culturally enriching documentaries (Chaos, Chords and Karma) to being a story editor and on-air talent on a forthcoming 2024 four-part docuseries about the history of Black music in Canada on the History Channel, much of Higgins’ creative endeavors happen behind the scenes. Higgins has also worked as an award show scriptwriter for the JUNO Awards, Gemini Award-winning comedian Russell Peters, and has conducted a wide range of "live" on-stage in-person interviews with a long list of pop culture icons including Charlamagne Tha God, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Jermaine Dupri, Nelson George, Just Blaze, The Sugarhill Gang, Anthony Kilhoffer (Kanye West), KRS One and Funkmaster Flex.

  • Mighty Jerome
    2010|1 h 23 min

    As a former university track athlete, I find it criminally suspicious that I was never taught anything about Canada’s OG sprint star Harry Jerome in school. Before there was Ben Johnson (my personal fave Canadian sprinter) or current don Andre De Grasse, Jerome was the fastest sprinter in the world. And this documentary about Jerome, by the late filmmaker Charles Officer, is one of my favourites from his delightful canon. The poignant chronicling of Jerome’s tough journey battling overt racism and injury, coupled with the stunning black-and-white archival footage of Jerome, makes this a necessary watch for all Canadians. I also think that because Officer just happened to be a former elite athlete (hockey player), he was able to add a different level of care, sensitivity and nuance to Jerome’s story. - By Dalton Higgins

  • Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community

    As the son of Jamaican immigrants who came to Toronto in the late sixties for “a better life,” I can say there are few audiovisual documents that speak to that experience. Home Feeling poignantly and presciently relays the challenges experienced by some of this first wave of Caribbean immigrants who landed in Toronto’s Jane and Finch corridor—one of the most unfairly maligned government-subsidized housing developments—characterized by failed integration schemes, chronic police interrogation and profiling, and lack of job opportunities. Outside of being a historical feat (i.e., this is one of the first films directed by a Black Canadian woman, Jennifer Hodge de Silva, with co-director Roger McTair), watching this classic film is also timely given the current Defund the Police movements gaining steam, post-George Floyd, and the fact that the Jane-Finch neighbourhood is about to undergo a gentrification process in 2024 that will see the popular Jane Finch Mall being redeveloped to include some new real estate options that might not jive too well with the lower-income residents in the area. - By Dalton Higgins

  • The Colour of Beauty
    2010|16 min

    I used to see model Renee Thompson on music-video sets back in the early aughts. And there was no way of knowing about the struggles she endured being a Black model in an industry that sorely lacks diversity on many levels (runway models, agents, designers, magazine editors) until I saw this film. The Colour of Beauty outlines in very clear terms the impacts of being told by casting agents that they only want “white” girls, or that if you’re Black you have to sport European features and be a “white girl dipped in chocolate.” That and feeling old at 25, needing to be waif-like and un-African, or singularly getting work as a token Black girl, must lead to harmful long-term impacts on the self-esteem of Black women in the fashion industry. Watching this short also reminded me of the poem “Witeman Country” by dub poet Mutabaruka, where in the hook he chants, “It no good fi stay in a witeman country too long,” recalling the dire long-term psychological effects of being viewed as a second-class citizen and not beautiful in most areas of life in countries like Canada—whereas if you spend time living in countries with predominantly Black citizenry, Black is beautiful every day, and Renee might have far less to prove. - By Dalton Higgins