In Hey Viola! the iconic life of Viola Desmond is told in a cabaret-style performance that features Krystle Dos Santos in the titular role.
The civil rights icon, whose face now adorns our $10 dollar bill, Desmond’s story is essential to tell about racial discrimination and the Black experience in Canada. The story reflects on both the spoken and unspoken social rules and injustices of the time faced every day by Black people in Nova Scotia, which ultimately led to Desmond’s act of courage and bravery when she refused to leave the whites-only section of a cinema in 1946. It’s equally a story of the past, and present in how it provides an important reminder of the racism we haven’t always acknowledged in this country.
Desmond’s success as a Black entrepreneur, her empowerment of other women of colour, and her legacy of redefining the culture of beauty are powerful and inspiring Black feminist narratives. It’s a show that will leave you reflecting on your own relationship to anti-racism and empowerment.