Arts featured Racism Weekend Video

Weekend video: Faith Nolan sings the Viola Desmond song

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – This weekend we feature a video of Faith Nolan singing about Viola Desmond, the Nova Scotia businesswoman who fought back when told she couldn’t sit in the part of a movie theatre in New Glasgow destined for whites only. Faith wrote the song in 2008, long before the $10 bill featured Viola’s portrait, or we named a ferry after her.

See also: Weekend Video: Long Road to Justice — The Viola Desmond Story

Faith Nolan is a labour and prison activist and folk singer who now lives in Toronto. I first heard of her just a couple of weeks ago while reading Before the Parade, A History of Halifax’s Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Communities, 1972-1984, by Rebecca Rose. 

Faith, who is a queer woman of colour, lived in the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children for the first four years of her life, moved with her family to Ontario, and returned as a nineteen years old to Halifax in 1976.

Rebecca’s wonderful book describes the many obstacles Faith encountered during her stay in Halifax. Openly lesbian at a time such a thing was not common by any means, she encountered homophobia within the Black community and racism and homophobia in the society at large.

“She was denied housing, but it was hard for Faith to determine if he was being harassed or discriminated against because she was Black, lesbian or both,” Rebecca Rose writes.

“If they used the N- word or called you a dyke, you’d have an inkling,” she told Rebecca. “Or they could use a combo and you’re not sure which one they meant more.” 

Visit Faith Nolan’s website for much more fantastic music.   

See also: Weekend Video: Halifax Pride March 1989

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