Representation & Intersectionality in Music

Thursday, Jan 24, 2019, 6pm - 8pm
Uzoma Asagwara, QPOC Winnipeg / RPN BScPN
Elliott Walsh, Studio 393 / Artist
Jason Burnstick, JUST TV at the BNC / Artist
Joy Balmana, Synonym Art Consultation
Kiana 'rookz' Eastmond, Sandbox Studios
Witch Prophet, Artist
The Tallest Poppy
103 Sherbrook St, Winnipeg, MB
Big Fun Productions
Manitoba Music


Conversations around representation and intersectionality in music have been increasingly in the spotlight. How do we as a music community create real and progressive change and equity in the industry? Join community members for a free panel discussion exploring current issues and tangible ways forward with a focus on gender, sexuality, ability, and the experiences of Black people, Indigenous people, People Colour, and the people who exist at those intersections.

The discussion will be facilitated by Uzoma Asagwara, a Winnipeg-based entrepreneur, registered psychiatric nurse, former member of the Premier's Advisory Council on education, poverty, and citizenship, and the founder of QPOC Winnipeg.

Presented by Manitoba Music and Big Fun, this panel discussion is part of January Music Meeting, which runs in conjunction with the Big Fun Festival, January 23-27. Find out more at

This is an open discussion that may cover difficult topics related to oppression. There will be a trained clinician available on-site for support.

***Please note that we will be live streaming this workshop via Only panelists will be in view but questions or comments from the audience can be heard.***

Description of Location:

  • The entrance to the Tallest Poppy has one step, and two narrow corner doors.
  • There is not push button on the doors. The seating is varied primarily booths, and tables, there will also be hard back chairs.
  • There are two washrooms, both are gender neutral, one has a stair to enter, and a narrow door. There are no change bars or grab bars in the stalls. Neither washroom has a button to enter.
  • The lighting is warm and low, there are some fluorescents, and natural lighting.
  • There is no wheelchair accessible seating.
  • There are no earplugs at this venue.


Ayo Leilani aka Witch Prophet is a self-managed, queer, Ethiopian/Eritrean, singer-songwriter, the CEO of Heart Lake Records (FKA 88 Days Of Fortune) and member of feminist-based electro dub hop group 'Above Top Secret'. Witch Prophet has shared the stage with and opened for acts like TheeSatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Lido Pimienta, A Tribe Called Red, Monte Booker, Shad, Clairmont The Second, SAMMUS, Sean Leon, JPEGMAFIA, The Cliks, Rae Spoon, Zaki Ibrahim, Kae Sun, and LAL, to name a few. Her vocals have appeared on Shad's Flying Colours LP as well as Polaris Prize winner Fucked Up's newest LP, Dose your Dreams. She has toured Europe independently twice and has performed at North American and European music festivals like Black Women Rock, Manifesto, Pride Toronto, Soul Of Brooklyn, Montreal Jazz Festival, New Skool Rules, Sappy Fest, Electric Eclectic, Summerworks, Ottawa Capital Pride, Pop Montreal, Allied Media Conference, AFROPUNK, CMW, NXNE, Halifax Pop Explosion and so many more. Her EPs H.P.B, and Architect of Heartbreak Remixes were met with great praise when released fall of 2016 and spring of 2017. As was her highly anticipated album The Golden Octave released via her own label in May 2018. Currently, she is working on her sophomore LP D.N.A Activation.

Artist, music workshop facilitator, and radio host Wynrush, aka Elliot Walsh, offers up hip hop with tinges of soul, blues and dub reggae. With two studio albums under his belt -- Guy, I'm From Here and Trinnipeg !78 – plus a live record So High from The Lo -- Wynrush’s music touches on family, loss, lust, and our ever going battles and is Manitoba in every heartbeat.

Multiple award winner Jason Burnstick is a Plains Cree musician and composer who performs with his arsenal of weissenborns and lap slide guitars. Also a respected singer and songwriter in his own right, Jason is known for his ability to freely move from one style to the next, attributing this freedom to his musical upbringing. In 2013, Jason suffered a vocal injury, losing his voice completely, and requiring him to undergo vocal cord surgery, followed by many months of vocal therapy.  This sudden unexpected turn of events lead Jason to take a step back from performing as a solo artist, the time to take on a new challenge, as producer and songwriter for the children’s album, Wrapped in Daisies, recorded with Nadine L’Hirondelle. Nominated for two Indigenous Music Awards, and winner of the IMA for Best Folk/Acoustic CD, this album features Aboriginal songs for children, including NCI’s #1 hit "Bannock in my Belly".  He also recorded and co-produced the award-winning children's lullaby album, Dream Big Little One * Fais de beaux rêves, petit ange, with his wife Nadia Gaudet Burnstick. Genuinely grateful and newly inspired by his full vocal recovery, Jason has now begun the work on a new album, and he can be found performing a mixture of blues and folk with the Burnstick Duo, consisting of himself and Nadia. He also takes every opportunity to perform with long-standing friend and peer, JUNO Award winner, Leela Gilday, with whom he has had a musical kinship and has toured worldwide for over a decade.

Joy K. Balmana is a communications and events coordinator with a passion for community-minded arts and music projects. She holds a BFA degree from the University of Manitoba and graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program. In 2016, Joy launched Stream WPG (“Winnipeg”), a non-profit live-streaming concert series. Today, Joy works as the opportunities coordinator with Synonym Art Consultation, a curatorial collective committed to providing meaningful employment and mentorship opportunities to artists and to facilitate the celebration of art and culture Joy has worked with a number of Manitoba arts festivals including Culture Days, Nuit Blanche, and Holiday Alley. 

Kiana 'rookz♖' Eastmond is the founder and director at Sandbox Studios, one of the most successful urban music artist development and recoding facilities in Toronto. With sessions with Cardi B, Tory Lanez, Kid Ink, and most of the city's up and coming, Sandbox has become a staple in the scene. Former music manager and now an award-winning serial entrepreneur, rookz is a public speaker, consultant and innovator, sitting on panels from Toronto to New York, and all over the world, 'rookz' is quickly becoming one of Toronto's stars behind the stars. 

Uzoma Asagwara is an entrepreneur, registered psychiatric nurse, former member of the Premier's Advisory Council on education, poverty, and citizenship, retired member of the Canadian Women's National basketball team, and founder of QPOC Winnipeg. QPOC is an initiative that creates safer spaces for queer and trans people of colour in Winnipeg.

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