Hoovie hosts Kor Kase and Dae Shields of Afro Van Connect invite people of African Descent and allies in Vancouver to gather for a 3-day symposium exploring new approaches for community building and development using the Hip Hop culture approach.


We’ve shared before about the amazing work that Vancouver’s Afro Van Connect is doing to build community among black youth. They’ve become one of our favourite Hoovie hosts for the magic that they bring to facilitating nurturing, meaningful experiences through film, discussion and music. Each event ends in a cypher, where everyone is invited to participate in collaborative, guided freestyle rap, accompanied by live music.

Watch this gorgeous micro-doc to get a taste for an Afro Van Connect Hoovie movie experience. (This one was held before the pandemic at the home of Joel and Dana Solomon.)

Hoovie movie: Afro Van Connect hosts Whose Streets? from Hoovie fan and filmmaker Anthony Poon

We caught up with Dae and Kor ahead of their Black Spaces Symposium, which will bring together artists, scholars, community leaders and practitioners to share experiences, wisdom and knowledge as they collectively seek out new approaches to strengthening their capacity for community building and development using the Hip Hop culture approach.

Okay, so first of all, tell us about Afro Van Connect.

The purpose of Afro Van Connect is to power the voices of African Descent Youth.

Our core values are to heal our community, create opportunity and educate our youth. Afro Van Connect powers the voices of people of African Descent through conversation, collaboration, creation and performance. We establish gatherings of young vibrant creative minds dedicated to innovating authentic solutions, to increase the visibility of the underrepresented diaspora communities. We offer people of African Descent creative platforms where shared opportunities and resources are designed to support liberating education and community sustainability.

Afro Van Connect is dedicated to building a platform to celebrate our shared story through our collective accomplishments.

Dae Shields and Kor Kase, co-founders of Afro Van Connect

“Black Spaces give people of African Descent the space and agency to reimagine who they are, who they want to be and what impact they want to have.”

What is a “Black Space” and why is it important?

A Black Space is an intentionally curated and designed space for people of African Descent and their allies to collaborate, commune and create practical solutions to end racism and systemic inequalities.

Black Spaces give people of African Descent the space and agency to reimagine who they are, who they want to be and what impact they want to have within their local communities and the world.

You’ve hosted a couple of Hoovie movies. At the last one, we asked you about hosting a “Black Space” with mostly non-black guests. We’d love for you to share your beautiful thoughts about that.

We are glad that people within our local community are willing to show up and show solidarity with our community. Locally in Vancouver there are very few intentional spaces that celebrate and centre people of African descent. We believe it is important to hold space and create spaces that acknowledge the black experience.

It is our intention through working with the Hoovie movie platform to expand our reach and initiate conversations with various members within our community through the medium of film.

Sharing our history, culture and our stories has always been a way for people to learn and empower each other and we excited to do this through the Hoovie platform.

Tell us about your upcoming Black Spaces Symposium and your goals.

The Black Spaces Symposium is about being and belonging. Within British Columbia, there are no cultural hubs, community infrastructure or neighbourhoods that directly serve the specific needs of people of African Descent.

The intention of the Black Space Symposium is to create awareness around the necessity of Black Spaces and to highlight various resources currently available within our community in order to develop practical solutions to alleviate our inequities.

The Black Space Symposium will consist of various panel discussions, art exhibitions and music performances, all centred and designed to showcase the Black Experience.

Thank you, friends. See you at the symposium!

The Black Spaces Symposium takes place Thursday, July 23-25, 2020. Check out the amazing lineup here. The sessions will be recorded, so even if you can’t make it live this week, we encourage you to register and listen back to these powerful conversations. 

We highly recommend signing up for Afro Van Connect’s newsletter to learn about upcoming events. To support their amazing work, consider donating here.