Halifax comedy show using laughter and music to help the black community heal from loss

A local comedy event that was launched as a way to support the grieving and grieving black community will be presented on September 10 at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax.

Colter Simmonds is the organizer of Laugh Out Violence, which offers comedy and musical performances. Simmonds said he was inspired to create the series after the murders of several young black men in 2016.

Tyler Richards, Naricho Clayton and Daverico Downey were killed over a seven-day period in April 2016. Two other men were also injured in one of the shootings.

Simmonds said he knew the three men who were killed and was close to Richards, who was a professional basketball player coached by Simmonds.

“It kind of hit me hard,” Simmonds said. “I just try to process everything on a daily basis. If I go through this and it’s a friend of mine, I can imagine what parents go through when it’s their child.”

It was then that he said he was inspired to create Laugh Out Violence.

“How do we get our community to understand that there’s a healing process that we have to go through,” Simmonds said. “We love music, we love comedy, we always make fun of each other, so I wanted to create an environment where we could really think and reflect on the good times with the people we lost and bring the community together to have a good experience.”

The first Laugh Out Violence was a two-night event in 2017. In 2020, the show returned just before the first COVID lockdown at the site of this year’s venue, Casino Nova Scotia.

Proceeds from the event will go to Simmonds’ We Will Win Youth Association, which works with at-risk youth, with a focus on African Nova Scotian youth, to create opportunities for student-athletes in grow and succeed in school, in sports and in life .

Ronalda Provo from East Preston is the host of this year’s event, which includes entertainment by dancers Tabby Rockstar & Nas from Ontario and R&B artist Lavita and hip hop artist Kxng Wooz.

Caribbean’s Marc Trinidad and local comedian Jermaine Colley headline the show.

This will be Colley’s first time performing at Laugh Out Violence. He said Simmonds asked him to participate, adding that it was a worthy cause he was happy to get involved in.

“And it’s a great way to show off my abilities to a lot of the black community who haven’t had the luxury of attending one of my sets.”

Colley, who did her first stand-up set in March 2021, has performed more than a dozen shows since then at Comedy Cove and the Darkside Comedy Club.

“It was something I was good at from an early age, making people laugh, ordering a play, getting attention, so why not step into it and see how it turned out,” he said. said Colley. “I do it for fun. If I’m not having fun, there’s no point in me doing it.

Although he says he’s only done a small number of sets, Colley remains confident in his abilities. Still, he warns anyone that when planning to attend his performances, it’s best to leave their feelings at home.

“I am not for sensitive people. I don’t care about canceling the culture, because I’m already broke,” Colley said. “What I would say to people who don’t want to go out and have fun is, ‘Stay home.’ I do not care.”

“It’s going to be a packed house, and they’re going to get what they pay for. They’re gonna get me, full, live and indeed, and make you laugh, is all I can say.

Simmonds said that while gun violence “strikes so close to home in the African Nova Scotian community,” he sympathizes with everyone who has been affected by gun violence.

“It’s not about the shooting in Portapique, but I know how those people feel,” he said. “Ours is more street. Over there (Portapique), that guy just didn’t care about a life, but again, it all makes no sense.

Simmonds said he accepts general donations and seeks corporate sponsorships that wish to attend or donate tickets to the community.

“We want to give all Nelson Whynder teachers tickets to the event because of the death of Mar Mar (Lee-Marion Cain), the death of Quintez (Downey), the death of Keezondre (Kentrez Smith) , and so many deaths from the community where all the children went through Nelson Whynder Elementary in North Preston for the most part,” Simmonds said.

“It’s the school that’s been affected by this stuff and nobody really thinks about how it affects the teachers. They have to show up every day after and teach our children.

Simmonds said he also wants to be able to give tickets to local middle and high school principals, as well as parents who have lost a child to homicide and gun violence.

“If you book a table and you’re not going to attend, then the idea is that we would give those tickets to the community.”

For more information, contact Simmonds at [email protected] or [email protected] To purchase tickets, visit Ticket Atlantic at https://www.ticketatlantic.com/events/laugh-out-violence.

Matthew Byard, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Halifax Examiner

Javier E. Swan