Sweeter than any jar of honey or jam you can ever buy on a shelf, Honey Jam music showcase is the epitome of talented female empowerment.
Leaving sexist expectations of a man’s world along with rolling eyes and bye bye bye’s ( haha that was corny- but so is sexism.) At the heart, soul, back bone, and mastermind of it all is founder Ebonnie Rowe. Who’s boss lady attitude has made her mission of breaking down barriers for women in the music industry possible. She started her journey in 1993 by creating Each one Teach one, a mentorship group connecting black youth with professionals, allowing them to create opportunities for a successful life. In 1995 she formed PhemPhat entertainment group which produced Honey Jam, a showcase of young female talent around Canada for a multitude of musical genre’s, striving to crush the male dominating music industry by setting up females for success and opportunities that can make their careers fly to it’s highest potential.
Many of us are wondering how one woman can find the strength to take on a message so powerful, “I needed to feel like my life had some purpose, you have this realization that you can be gone in a second. Nothing is promised and I wanted to have a purpose in my life… That’s what made me more driven to do more things towards leaving a legacy,” say’s Rowe
Although funding can be a struggle year to year, Rowe made it a point to build a team of loyal supporters that has helped her make it to the 20 year mark of Honey Jam, yes you saw that right, 20 YEARS! It certainly takes a hell of a woman to carry such an elaborate event for 20 years with minimum funding, but with amazing support from names like Nelly Furtado (NelStar), Manifesto, TD Bank, Flow 93.5, Vibe 105, Universal Music Canada, Jully Black, Divine Brown and so much more, Honey Jam produces nothing less than a high quality of experience for all her artists by providing opportunities like:
- preforming and representing Honey Jam Canada in Barbados
- preforming at Manifesto Festival
- Meeting Artist Janelle Monae
- attend a free music industry workshop at Harris Institute
- receive one-on-one vocal and performance coaching from celebrity coach Elaine Overholt of Big Voice Studios
- have their original songs played on Radio
- receive 1 hour A&R consultation time from Universal Music
- attend the OVO Music Summit
- a LANDR Unlimited account for1 month
- Preforming at TD music cafe in Ottawa prior to Serena Ryder Concert
- Preforming at TD jazz festivals in Montreal and Toronto
- Preforming at Unplugged Festival
- the Honey Jam Hookup Prize Pak including equipment from Yamaha Canada, free entertainment lawyer consultation from Taylor, Klein Oballa, a package from Think Fitness Studios and a 6 month LANDR Unlimited account.
- the opportunity to attend Canada’s Walk of Fame
and STILL donating to Women’s programs every year such as Big Sisters of Toronto, Each One, Teach One’s Sista 2 Sista mentoring group, the Immigrant Women’s Job Placement Centre, At the Crossroads Women’s Art Journal, the Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Breast Cancer Research, Sistering, and Voices of Positive Women. and for the last 10 years YWCA Toronto’s programmes for women and girls, which got a donation of $5,000 thanks to sponsorships and support from TD Bank.
In it’s 20th year, Honey Jam produced an insane amount of talent from every artist that stepped onto it’s stage, some almost seemed effortless, voices so enchanting and mature you can forget how young some of those ladies actually are.
one artist that stood out to me was 16 year-old MC Little T . Her voice was so infectious I swear my mouth drops every time she starts rapping,With her life of the party vibe I don’t hesitate to say she will probably popping up all over your tv screens next to the greatest in the hip hop industry one day if not some day soon. “Honey Jam is really important to me. For a bunch of female artists to come together from Canada and show every one that they have talent is good,” says’ Little T.
Another group that made an impression on me was The Keys, a girl trio that has the sass of Rihanna and the chemistry of Destiny’s child. Born and raised through out the East Side (Scarborough and Pickering) the girl group represents confidence, style and the attitude of independent women. Hence their song of choice and written by themselves, Salute, which sent the message of female appreciation. “We really just believe in the power of women, and the things that we can do. I think that sometimes girls get discouraged and we’re just trying to say that we salute that. To all the girls that are struggling and making their way up there, and working hard for what they make then salute,” says group member Marley Edwards
All in all there were 17 beautiful and powerful artist to step on the Honey Jam Stage at Mod Club last night. Every single one of them brought emotion, genuine raw talent, and empowerment with their voices and talents. All thanks to Honey Jam.
View the Visual Break Down of the Honey Jam Launch & Concert below.. stay tuned for the video interviews: