QUEER BLACK REPRESENTATION IN MEDIA AND ARTS
Even at the best of times, making space for authentic Black representation is an embattled project. Add another layer of marginalization—that of being queer—and it can seem next to impossible to find one’s voice. But a handful of courageous Black queer artists are starting to do just that. Join a few as they gather to discuss what it takes to create more space and representation in the near void that exists in today’s film and tv industry, and why it matters.
Chris Cochrane (she/her), Performing Artist, Key MUA, Trans Activist, Drag Performer
Chris Cochrane is a Trans Black activist and public speaker. She speaks and educates about her lived experience through her intersectionality. Chris works toward creating spaces for QTBIPOC people, as well as working with 2SLGBTIQIA+ youth to ensure those spaces will be upheld for years to come. Currently she is The Support Service Educator for The Youth Project. Chris is the former Vice Chair of Halifax Pride 2020-2022 (she uses that platform to ensure equity for all of the community, while focusing on our marginalized and racialized communities.) Chris is also a member of ACTRA where has been on local tv produced. Such as Mr. D, Trailer Park Boys and most notability Sex & Violence for two seasons. She also was the key MUA for Stage Mother, as well as the principal role of Diva. Most recent as a cast member of Dawn, Her Dad & The Tractor. She is also known as her drag persona Elle Noir where she is as fierce on stage as she is in her activism. Elle Noir is an 18 Year veteran of Drag. Known as a local legend and Winner of The Best Halifax Drag Performer for the last 5 years consecutively. Known as the Beyonce of Halifax, Elle brings new Skool energy as well as being able to reach through the generations to give a nod to The Divas of yesteryear such as Tina and Diana.
Kayla Borden, Multihyhenate Entrepreneur/Connector/Creative
Born and raised from both sides of the bridges (MacDonald & MacKay) between Halifax and Dartmouth,Co-Founder of Pineapple Express Media and Co-Producer of “Issa Scotian Ting” docuseries, Kayla Borden has always had the passion and love for culture, community and music since a young age. She has worked in the creative, entertainment and music industry since 2009 exploring multiple roles in community, music and the arts. She started out as a promoter for local talent and then a talent scout for many local organizations across Nova Scotia to showcase and put on talent that barely gets recognized. Kayla Borden joined the Charles Taylor Theatre and Media & Arts Board in conjunction with the Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival in 2013 as an Treasurer, Photographer and Talent Scout. She has played as a background actress in the tv series “Mr. Deed”, “The Mist”, and the movie “Stage Mother”. In 2017 she starred in “Over-Qualified” short film presented by the Nubian Clan for the Halifax 48 Hour film festival. She has also assisted with directing music videos “King” by Keonte Beals with North Preston’s award-winning videographer Keke Beat Films.
Nikki Martin, Novelist, Screenwriter, Yoga Teacher, Facilitator
Nikki Martin is an award-winning Writer, a Yoga Teacher and a Facilitator. She is a published novelist, having released the first two novels in her Awake While Dreaming series. Her first short film A Walk in the Sun can be viewed as part of #HBFF23 here. Her first feature film script The Space Between won the RBC Script Development Prize at the Atlantic International Film Festival in 2022. She has found her voice sharing stories about people like herself; who are in search of identity and their place in the world while conveying the beautiful complexity of relationships.
As a Yoga Teacher and community leader she has become a passionate advocate for diversity in yoga and wellness and works alongside a not-for-profit she cofounded, The Black Wellness Coop, to bring wellness resources to underserved communities. She is also dedicated to seeing existing wellness, fitness and yoga spaces become more accessible, equitable and inclusive.
Reign Dorfschmidt, Event Manager, former Halifax Pride Communications Manager
Reign is a proud Queer, Trans, African Nova Scotian. They are an active member in the Halifax Queer/Trans community and is multitalented staple in the Halifax drag and live music scene. Reign strives to use their platform to represent QTBIPOC, plus sized, disabled bodies. Reign has been an advocate, and aims to be a role model for others, through their workshops, shows and performance art.