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Our Story


Founded by Ngozi Paul, Khadijah Salawu and L’Oqenz in 2017 as a way to celebrate and bring awareness to Emancipation Day, FreeUp! was first presented as a Toronto open-mic event. It has since grown into a platform featuring young changemakers and brilliant Black, Indigenous and Racialized artists performing music, poetry, theatrical monologues and dance, exploring the meaning of freedom.

Normally presented as a live event, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 the festival was produced as a 1-hour digital television special in partnership with CBC ARTS, making it the first time that FreeUp! was made available to audiences across Canada. FreeUp! 2020 Emancipation Day Special was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for ‘Best Performing ArtsProgram’.

Support FreeUp!

FreeUp! Arts is a federally incorporated nonprofit organization. You can help support FreeUp! Arts through its charitable trustee, UforChange, by donating to the FreeUp! Fund.

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