A Poem in Praise of Regent Park




A Poem in Praise of Regent Park

New music video featuring local poet spotlights the community's pride—and its hopes for the future.

The Daniels Spectrum, which opened in Regent Park two years ago as part of the larger neighbourhood revitalization, has become a cultural hub: operated by Artscape, it hosts performances and events, fosters the artistic interests of young people in the community, and is home to various groups, including the Regent Park Film Festival and Pathways to Education.

It also became a source of inspiration for local artist, emcee, and actor Mustafa Ahmed, known as Mustafa the Poet. He composed a piece about it, and when musician Thompson Egbo-Egbo heard it, a new collaborative project was born. Egbo-Egbo reached out to the Twice Upon a Time studio and suggested the idea of working together on a “a gift to the neighbourhood’s many thousands of residents”—the result was “Spectrum of Hope,” a music video featuring the poetry of Mustafa the Poet, the music of Egbo-Egbo, and images of daily life and revitalization in the neighbourhood. The result of a year of effort, the work was co-directed by the studio and seven local Regent Park youth, all of whom are involved in programs at the Daniels Spectrum.

“We wanted to make sure the piece was 100 per cent authentic,” said the studio’s Nicole Beals in a press release. “That meant letting the youth guide the entire creative process.” The seven young co-directors spent three months identifying and developing the themes they felt should inform the piece. Seventeen-year-old Nejat Khalid commented, “People are afraid of what they don’t know. Other communities think Regent Park is all about violence and gangs. It’s not like that at all. We wanted to show our passion and diversity. We hope people feel a connection with our neighbourhood through this video.”