Winnipeg worship singer, Carine Bado, opens up about the importance of Black History Month.
"Black History Month is a time, first of all, of celebration for the Black community in North America. For the successes and milestones made," says Bado.
She was born on the Ivory Coast but has lived in Canada for over ten years. For the first couple of years in a new country, she attended a french-language church - her native language. Then she started attending Springs Church where she sang in the choir and then the vocal team.
"It's also a month for education. Educating younger generations on the past but also other communities on the past and on the history of the Black people here in North America."
Bado says that this is an occasion for people to learn about what is happening and what has happened.
"I think people should understand that Black people didn't start on the same ground. I think the history is very important because it has its incident on the present."
Black History Month started in the USA and has been observed since 1970. Now Canada and the USA celebrate it during the month of February.
"Black people are currently living the repercussions of that past. When we talk about Black history just knowing that Black people were slaves, owned, and considered less than human, it's already a starting point to understand that from the beginning, everything was already different."
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. While the proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free," it took many more years to enforce their freedoms.
"It's important to know that Black people fought to have their rights, as it wasn't something that was natural. People had to stand for Black people today to have rights."
It's something that Black people still have to stand on to maintain their rights in our society, according to Bado.
"As a worship singer and Black person, it has everything to do with my faith. When we read the Bible we understand that God has created everyone to His likeness."
Struggling with feelings of self-worth, Bado likes to talk about this with her band when she sings worship.
"Knowing the history is kind of understanding why it is important for churches or my band to be educated to understand how I might feel in a space as a Black person. How they can better love me, invite me, and lift me up as a Black person. If they don't take time to educate themselves, I'll just be another singer. But then my experience in the group is completely different because as a Black person, I come into the room feeling inadequate."
Bado mentions that as an extrovert, it's not too difficult to break the ice with fellow band members.
"I want to make the point that it is important for people to notice the presence of Black worship singers. You have someone who is experiencing life differently. It's a great time, especially during this month for people to acknowledge and open the discussion to see how we can value each other in a very relevant way."
The first time Bado experienced racism was during her work at a call centre with a customer, but it wasn't the last.
"I've witnessed someone being called less than a person because the person was Black, she was a receptionist. Automatically we all came, the CEO, the supervisor, everybody came and we asked the person to leave the premises. So yes, racism is here, felt, and it's a good time to address the situation."
Bado sings about people knowing their identity, including in her latest single 'Perfectly Made'.
"This is why I sing about identity because it doesn't really matter what people think. I can't control people's thoughts. What I can do myself is refuse to be angry over things I cannot control and affirm my identity in God."
Her music is inspirational as she sings about giving value to all people, through identity in Christ.
"To respond in anger is taking away the opportunity to change. My responsibility is to manage my anger and find a way to educate and to be the light everywhere I stand."
Bado is working on an EP that she is hoping to release this summer.