Chris Strikes

football / film / culture //  

Conversation. I enjoy conversation with people. There is a sense of connection that it brings. I truly appreciate it that someone is willing to gift to you their understanding, their experiences, their thoughts, their feelings, their lens.  I try to honour that by receiving it with respect knowing that it comes from a place of dignity and trust. 

I first met  Chris a few years back when he was directing a film that documented how a group of Black young people advocated for the rights of Black children in the care of the system. 

I reached out to Chris to see if he would be interested in taking some photographs for this ongoing project of mine. 

A massive Man U. fan, Chris loves his football - that’s soccer not American football - and has also played at a high level until an injury kept him from going any further. 

Turning to film-making, Chris has continued to do things that he enjoys. Having worked on music videos for some of the biggest names in music, like Nelly Furtado,  Karl Wolf, Kardinal Offishall, and Machel Montano. Chris has moved on to direct documentary films and is currently a fellow in the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative. 

He recently released his latest project, Becoming a Queen, which documents Joella Crichton’s push to become Queen for the 10th time at Toronto’s Carnival. 

It is comfortable and the conversation is easy. I met him at his home in the west end of Toronto in the middle of a heat wave and it was just like going to spend a few hours with a friend.  We spent some time in his patio tending to his plants because there are so many plants that you can’t ignore his enjoyment of gardening. 

Seamlessly flowing our conversation between gardening, football, upcoming projects, and culture, we headed down towards the waterfront to take photos with a suit he picked up in Ghana that he has been wanting to capture. 

As we do, he speaks about his upcoming project, Patty vs. Patty, which is coming out next year, and the importance of stories that tell about the impact of diverse communities in the city.  No one else is telling these stories, and without them, we fall invisible.  Our impact on the city and our society would be lost.  As we talk about this, I feel his passion of his Jamaican roots rise and to be honest, this invigorates me, to be more vocal and and to learn more about the impact my culture has made in Toronto, and in Canadian society as a whole.

This brings me back to the topic of conversation. In a time when truth is being questioned and so hard to find, it is conversation - which takes not only talking, but mutual listening and understanding - that needs to happen. By telling the stories from our experiences we create opportunities for conversations and for others to share theirs. 

Great conversation, Chris, Thanks!

With dignity and respect,

Lee