Instead of discussing music and artists, I faced a hostile, boys’ club atmosphere. Discussions about music were a distant second to bullying and overblown egos.
The Polaris jury is filled with the most prominent Canadian music journalists, producers, and broadcasters in Canada. The deliberation process should be picking out music and arguing for our favourite albums. It wasn’t.
Drake, born Aubrey Graham in a city where almost one in ten people are black, is black. Toronto’s greatest civic triumphalist since Jane Jacobs is black. And yet Drake’s own identity – his nationality, his mixed race background that includes Jewish heritage and upbringing, the neighbourhood he once lived in, the schools he went to – is often taken to mean that his black experience is somehow inauthentic.