Quebec Standard

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Quebec anti-racism minister feels sorry after saying Black artist was dead at awards


Key takeaways: 

  • Lamine Touré was highly active and in attendance.
  • Benoit Charette, the region’s minister liable for the battle against racism and parliamentary assistant Christopher Skeete, said at the Dynastie Gala on Saturday when the mistake was made.

A Quebec local cabinet minister has apologized after wrongly saying that a prominent Black artist was dead at an awards ceremony.

Benoit Charette, the minister answerable for the battle against racism, spoke at the Dynastie Gala, which honors Black artists and entertainers when the mistake was made.

Charette was paying tribute to Black artists who had died in the prior year when he mistakenly included Lamine Touré’s name.

Touré, who owns the renowned Montreal venue the Balattou and established the Nuits d’Afrique festival, was very active and in attendance and honored his work.

Touré and those around him started to stand up and point to him, shouting that he was alive.

Also read: Jazz quartet kept in Montreal raises money for Ukraine 

Anti-racism minister feels sorry

Charette persisted in offering his empathy before emerging to realize his mistake, saying he did not have his glasses and could not read his address well.

In a proclamation released Monday, the minister’s office apologized, saying the speech was written in an “indefinite” way and that “in attempting to get out the speech, he misunderstood it.”

“Contrary to what some report, the happening became a bit of a trick to most of the participants, including Mr. Touré, with whom the minister said later in the evening,” it concluded.

But many aren’t giggling, stating it shows the Quebec government’s lack of respect when approaching relations with the region’s Black residents.

Introduced as ‘minister of racism.’

In a statement published to Facebook Monday afternoon, the Dynastie Gala stated the comments by the minister “clearly created concern.”

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