Pull Up! is a Toronto-based collective that brings together diverse artists through music, art and dance. We are focused on skillshare programming and connecting & celebrating emerging artists—with an emphasis on Black and other underrepresented groups.
The emergence of Fresh Moses and Lovebonez into Toronto’s nightlife scene coincided with one of bloodiest years for gun violence in the city. In 2018, there were more than 400 shootings in Toronto, making it one of the deadliest years in over a decade. The violence began to make national headlines when it started creeping into “safe zones” of the city– areas with higher household incomes, lower crime rates and tourist areas. The reaction to this citywide increase in violence became inherently racist in nature, particularly in the nightlight industry. Bars and clubs began to place blanket bans on rap, hip hop and/or dancehall music in order to curb participation from Black youth; as if this would avoid violence that was deep rooted in social and economic factors.
While the reaction in 2018 was overt anti-Black discrimination, Black youth have always had an extremely tumultuous relationship with many of the established venues downtown that capitalize off the culture that young Black folk generate but deny entry to the creators of this culture. As a result, Black youth (particularly those that identify as LGBTQ+) set up alternative spaces to avoid the overwhelming anti-Black sentiments of mainstream nightlife scenes that challenged everything from how we dress to how we dance.
Pull Up! Exploring Black Youth Club Culture in Toronto is a digital experience dedicated to documenting the experiences of Black youth in alternative party spaces. This digital experience will document, examine and celebrate the spaces we create when pushed to the fringes. When Black youth create alternative spaces for celebration out of necessity- what does this culture look like? Our artists explore this question along with central themes around Black youth club culture such as consent, community and modalities of expression.
In partnership with: