Shoot for Peace youth have had the honour of working with the Toronto Raptors in creating a video piece for black history month. Centered around a beautiful poem written by one of our alumni Jayda “thepoetmj” Marley. Here is what she has to say: 


“When I think about the Toronto Raptors, I think about a means of possibility. I grew up my entire life tuned into sports, my dad was a huge raptors fan. Before I ever looked for a future in my pen, I played basketball. It was my outlet, my escape, my therapy and my community.



But the truth is, the only people I ever looked up to growing up, were mega stars, much like the players in the NBA. There was a huge gap between US and THEM, making my own dreams seem impossible. When your goals feel unattainable, it’s easier for you to give up.



“A Black Star is Born,” for me, was about capturing the possibilities, the accessibility, and the drive for dream-chasing in a way that doesn’t feel so far-fetched. I want every single black person to see themselves in this video, and to feel seen by others. Seen for their achievements, stories, struggles, grief, and of course, their dreams.



This poem is an ode to my community who continues to support my dreams and never makes me feel like I’m aiming too high, and an ode to my younger self, who understood the importance of never giving up.



Whether you’re chasing hoop dreams, looking for purpose in your pen like myself, or anything that falls in between, I want you to know about Black Stardom. I want you to maneuver through life like a star, because you are one. You are an extension of tangible greatness.”


Shoot for Peace strives to enhance the portfolios of the youth in our community. This project with the Toronto Raptors has allowed for the amplification of our youth’s voices and the voices of black members in our community. For many, this has been a first; the first time acting, the first time working a camera, the first time reciting poetry to hundreds of thousands and the first time working with incredible organizations like the Raptors. This project will shine on the portfolios of everyone involved and become a stepping stone for our youth, opening doors to a new world of opportunities.
Featured Voices
Name: Nephthali Muntaba-Pape
My name is Nephthali Muntaba-Pape and I am a black Congolese man. I was born and raised in Canada, and I grew up in the downtown Toronto area. During my experience working on the shoot, I had an amazing time working with everyone on the team, and I loved how they were able to transform the production into something positive. My favourite part of the production was being able to play basketball  which is the game I love and fell in love with at a very young age. Basketball has always been an outlet for me to escape the difficulties i may be experiencing in my life, which is why I love it so much. Because I was able to do something that I am already comfortable with, it helped me feel at ease and made my experience better. I just want to say thank you to the raptors for letting me be apart of this project and for the opportunity to play the game I love and represent my community.
My name is Marley Zion, I’m a 24 year old artist from Downtown Toronto and I’ve been making music since I was 15 years old. Music is something that gave me direction when I was going through a lot of different struggles in my life. It was and still is like therapy to me.  I make music to express myself, tell my story and inspire / motivate other people, especially the youth around the world. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with many youth from different communities from around the city through youth programming, Basketball and being a program Facilitator for my youth organization called “Roots Youth Group” where we go into schools and build with the young. Growing up as a young black man in the world, my mantra / catch phrase for what I’m here to do and the mission I’m set on is the sole foundation of my brand,  “Change The Narrative” 
Lul Yoseph is an Eritrean Canadian spoken word poet coming from Scarborough! In 2014 she found her passion for poetry and never stopped writing and performing. Lul has worked with many organizations in the city seeking to motivate the youth in her community to find artistic ways to express themselves. "I just want to be a vessel for the future generation because there is so much power and beauty with the arts, especially poetry." She continues to break barriers and cultivate an empowering experience with her poetry, Lul's journey lives on and is forever evolving.


"A Black Star is Born" Production Credits 



Executive Producer: Helton Dos Santos

Director: Yasmine Omar

Writer: Jayda “thepoetmj” Marley

Producer: Ilham Farah

Art Director: Saif Khan

Director of Photography: Diego Aldana

Key Grip: Rafael Zoto

Gaff: Roberto Lambraño

AC: Denzel Vasquez

G&E Swing: Sebastian Hernandez

Camera Trainee: Fernanda Molina

Production Assistant: Midyan Samson

Production Assistant: Abel Berhane

BTS Photographer: Jamal Omar

Driver: Murtada Abelkarim

Post Production: Helton Dos Santos

Assistant Editor: Jamal Omar 



Hero Kid: Nephtali Muntaba-Pape

Basketball Player: Jaylen Babb-Harrison

Hijabi Baller #1: Jasmine Davis

Hijabi Baller #2: Anan Abbatulam

Hijabi Baller #3: Layla Berih

Hijabi Baller #4: Nazie Shakur

Hijabi Baller #5: Malika Mohmed

Hijabi Baller #6: Idman Farah

Rapper: Marley Zion

Engineer: Ehsan Saleh “Smallz”

Friend #1: Cian

Friend #2: Caleb

Friend #3: Eric

Ballerina: Marlee Young

Abdu: Abdu Aljahma

Lul: Lul Yoseph

Granddaughter: Savannah Mclean

Grandmother: Elaine Robinson

Barbershop Kid: Isaac Mateus

Barber: Fitzroy Young

Father: Mohamed Hassan

Son: Khalil Hassan



Sheilana Dela Cruz and the CabbageTown Youth Centre Team 

Versatile Barbers N Hair Studio

Shoot For Peace 

Neighbourhood Studios

Ibuki Rentals