All it took was a tour bus making a fallacious flip to persuade longtime barber and rapper Malichi Male to go away Toronto.
Back in 2016, Male, 47, was scheduled to carry out in London, Ont., however ended up half-hour south of the metropolis, in St. Thomas.
That fallacious flip has modified the course of Male’s life.
“I used to be dumbfounded as a result of I seen stuff I by no means seen earlier than,” remembers Male, who has seven kids.
In St. Thomas, kids performed outdoors by themselves and pleasant individuals greeted him on the avenue, he recalled. That would not occur as typically in Toronto, he mentioned.
Male’s household left Uganda when he was a younger boy, and they spent quite a lot of years residing in New York earlier than transferring to Toronto.
“I lived in the most harmful housing initiatives: Rexdale, Parkdale, and Jane and Finch,” he recalled about Toronto.
Within a couple of weeks of that cease in St. Thomas, and with a profitable barber and clothes store he’d opened in Mississauga at age 19, Male packed up his household and moved to the railway metropolis.
A few years later, Male opened up a barber store in St. Thomas and established the clothes line Saint T Apparel —which pays tribute to the metropolis — opening two extra shops in Rodney and Ingersoll.
“When I first received to St. Thomas, plenty of the people, particularly the the youngsters, they had been ashamed to be from St. Thomas,” he mentioned.
“Sometimes whenever you stay in a spot, you do not recognize the place till another person is available in and tells you, ‘The grass is just not greener.’
“You’re residing in a really inexperienced grass proper now,'” he mentioned.
It’s additionally the message behind his music St. Thomas Proud.
Opens recording studio with Juno Award winner
Last yr, Male persuaded his good friend, Juno Award winner Choclair, to go away Toronto too, and the rapper now lives down the avenue from Male’s barber store in St. Thomas.
“The solely drawback that I’ve had whereas I’ve been residing right here is that my sofa has by no means confirmed up,” laughed Choclair in a latest cellphone name with CBC News.
The duo not too long ago opened a recording studio at the again of Male’s store.
“It’s knowledgeable studio and it is going to be fantastic and it is going to be a terrific addition,” mentioned Choclair.
“My plan is is to discover the best expertise on the planet — untapped expertise — and take it to the subsequent stage,” mentioned Male. “The teenagers, they may very well be the subsequent Justin Bieber, however they do not have an outlet.”
Male, who’s a vocal critic of Justin Trudeau, additionally has political aspirations. He ran for mayor in 2018, however stayed out of the most up-to-date mayoral run as a result of he supported and endorsed Joe Preston, who gained a second time period.
“He’s a terrific ambassador for St. Thomas and loves the place he lives, and we’re joyful to him as certainly one of our residents,” mentioned Preston. “He loves his neighborhood, so nearly all the pieces he does has one thing to do with St. Thomas pleasure.”
Male additionally threw his hat into this yr’s Ontario election, working with the Consensus Party of Ontario in Elgin-Middlesex-London, a driving gained by Progressive Conservative Rob Flack.
LISTEN | Malichi Male tells London Morning a few lucky fallacious flip that introduced him to St. Thomas:
London Morning10:39St. Thomas Proud
For extra tales about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales inside the Black neighborhood — try Being Black in Canada, a CBC undertaking Black Canadians will be pleased with. You can learn extra tales right here.