Kirk Diamond performed at the Juno awards this summer and already has a trophy to his name. But for the highly-touted Canadian superstar, no matter how big he gets, home will always be Little Jamaica. “Here, you want to listen to music loud—that’s the culture we come from,” says Diamond, the dancehall artist with shoulder length dreads who also produces records and leads social activist movements in his community, where he says 90% of the people come from the Caribbean. “These streets are our culture, all you see is yellow, black and green,” says Diamond, at work on two new records that fuse reggae, hip hop and dub music styles. When he was a child, he saw his first reggae concert. Moving to Canada from Jamaica, he felt adrift. Reggae music gave him a connection.
“The culture keeps me grounded,” he says. “I feel the least I can do is give the same thing back to other kids who might be lost, might need music—might feel the same way.”
Read the long form essay on the legacy of Little Jamaica here.