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A Q&A with the makers of the documentary "Cool Black North," including director Alison Duke, composer/producer/musical director Orin Isaacs, singer Jully Black, and Yabome Gilpin-Jackson. Moderated by Paul Toliver of Manasota ASALH.



Co-founder of Oya Media Group, Alison Duke aka “Golde” is a storyteller, in every sense of the word. Duke is known for telling dynamic stories that illuminate history, document the present, and push the culture forward. She directed 'Cool Black North', a two-hour TV documentary for Rogers/City TV which is currently touring American film festivals. In 2019, Duke produced and co-wrote 'Mr. Jane and Finch', a CBC POV Documentary. The film won two 2020 Canadian Screen Awards: the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary and Best Writing for a Documentary. This year, her debut short film, 'Promise Me' (20) inspired by her social justice documentary, 'The Woman I Have Become' (‘08) won the Winston Moxam Award for best Canadian film at the Afro Prairie film festival, best short at the Columbus Black International Film Festival and the Standout Writing Award at the Reelworld Film Festival.

Alison is in Year 3 of the OYA Emerging Filmmakers program (formally known as the Black Youth! Pathway2Industry), a 3- year employment initiative she kickstarted to support Black youth access to essential training, mentors, paid internships, networks and film industry spaces. She received the 2019 WIFT Crystal Award for Mentorship for her mentorship of young filmmakers and the 2019 byblack.com People's Choice Award for Film Directing for her work on the film Cool Black North. 


Jully Black is a platinum-selling singer, songwriter, performer, international recording artist, multiple Juno Award winner and celebrated musical theatre and television actress. She has collaborated with industry heavyweights such as Destiny's Child and Sean Paul, has shared the stage with superstars such as Celine Dion, Elton John and Etta James, to name a few. Jully guest starred on the popular CBC crime drama “Coroner’ in 2019 and starred as ‘Caroline’ in the Obsidian Theatre and Musical Stage Company critically acclaimed co-production of Tony Kushner’s ‘Caroline, or Change’ in February, 2020.

It is with purpose driven ideals and boundless spiritual fortitude that she continues to refine and reinvent her artistry. As CEO of Jully Black Entertainment Inc., Jully continues to contribute to the music landscapes that she has helped define throughout her illustrious 20+ year career as Canada’s Queen of RnB/Soul. Jully’s new full-length album is underway and slated for release in 2020. 


For over two decades Orin Isaacs has been Composing music for hit TV shows, Producing Gold & Platinum selling records or Musically Directing some of the world’s biggest artists. Best known for being the Musical Director of Canada’s longest running late night traditional talk/variety show “Open Mike with Mike Bullard” Orin has Musically Directed TV Specials like:

The Juno Awards, Canada’s, The Canadian Screen Awards, The 2007 & 2008 Grey Cup, The NHL Awards, & the 2015 PanAm/ParaPan Games.

As a Bandleader/Musical Director Orin has worked with international superstars like Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, Natasha Bedingfield, Billy-Ray Cyrus, Kid Rock, Roger Hudgson, Lionel Richie, Patti Labelle, Richard Marx, Paul Shaffer, George Clinton, Deborah Cox, Brett Michaels, Macy Gray, David Cox, Rich Little, Dennis DeYoung, Paul Anka, Tom Jones, Anne Murray, Martin Short, Burton Cummings & William Shatner. 

He has also received a Harry Jerome Award for Professional Excellence, Eva Award, Urban Music Industry Special Achievement Award, The Reel Black award, Insight Productions Crew Inductee, Men of Excellence Award and a spot on The Men on the Move calendar as well as several awards for his active community service. Orin has been a mentor for the Fresh Arts & The Remix Project and is currently a regular lecturer at the Harris Institute. 


Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, PhD considers herself a dreamer, doer and storyteller, committed to imagining and leading the futures we want. She is a multi-award winning scholar-practitioner in human/organization development with research awards and professional recognitions in Canada, United States and United Kingdom.

She is an executive leader, consultant and educator in Leadership, Organization Development and Transformational Change in academia and across the private, public, nonprofit sectors.

In addition to a groundbreaking book on Transformation After Trauma: The Power of Resonanceshe has also authored peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, is author of Identities & Ancestries, short story collections about global African experiences and Lead Editor of the We Will Lead Africa book series.

Yabome continues to research, write and speak on leadership & organization development issues, post-traumatic growth & on honouring diversity and social equality in our locally global world.