Toronto-born of Jamaican heritage, multimedia storyteller Robert Young is a creative who strives to produce work that resonates and inspires through strong visual messaging.
His latest campaign, UNMASK FEAR CANADA was unveiled at Harbourfront Centre last Thursday night. It features the masked faces of twelve Black Canadians who are doing important work in our society. The campaign was created in the wake of the global pandemic and the outcry for justice after the murder of George Floyd.
“UNMASK FEAR CANADA is a necessary expression of truth created to engage balance. You should never have to demand your human right to a joyful and peaceful life,” says Young. “I don’t believe in the impact of complaining. The only real drive for change is the expression of truth. The people of the African diaspora have always been incredible contributors to society, without them, the world would be at a loss. It’s time to reveal the truth that makes respect a given that doesn’t need to be fought for.”
In 2009, Young launched the YOUNG WORLD FACES campaign, which was seen at the 2015 Pan AM Games and also displayed at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the Royal Ontario Museum. Throughout his life, his passion for storytelling and human connection drove him to evolve his artistic skills.
He began his career as a dancer and was featured in Maestro’s video, Let your Backbone Slide. Shortly after, Young adopted the alias “Black Katt’ and created and hosted a poetry show entitled All Truths Spoken Are Poetry In Motion. It ignited the underground poetry scene. “I wanted to create a space for passionate and driven Black Canadians to share their truths and their stories, which
didn’t exist at the time,” asserted Young. “The poetry show opened the door and created that opportunity for myself and for others. It was everything to me.”
After moving to the U.S, Young shifted his focus to filmmaking. He directed music videos for Notorious B.I.G, Kardinal Offishall and Keisha Chanté among others. He produced and directed ad campaigns for the likes of Puma, Air Jamaica, and Cadillac. These skills combined with his passion for sharing stories led him to direct and produce multiple documentaries.
“I started making documentaries after losing my father in 2007. I felt lost and wanted to go into service to occupy my mind with purposeful work,” explained Young. “Telling the stories of people around the world and putting forth a positive message gave me a sense of purpose during that dark time.”
His documentaries include Beauty with a Purpose, which highlights the philanthropic work of former Miss World Barbados Marielle Wilkie, Fighting for Love, a piece exploring the trials and tribulations of love and commitment, and Freetown Reborn, a documentation of the efforts of NGO Artist United For Children and Youth Development in Sierra Leone.
UNMASK FEAR CANADA will be on display until November 30th. Go to Harbourfrontcentre.com to view the unedited video of each participant.