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A Focus on the Ribbon Rouge Foundation

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The Ribbon Rouge Foundation is a notable grassroots organization in Alberta, Canada, primarily focused on promoting health equity and advocating for social justice, especially within the African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) communities. The foundation’s work revolves around changing systems and addressing social determinants that lead to health disparities, including those related to HIV.

A significant initiative by the Ribbon Rouge Foundation is the HIV Photovoice project. This project aims to understand and address the barriers faced by ACB women diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in accessing social and health care services. Through extensive outreach and one-on-one conversations across various cities in Alberta, the project has made several recommendations to improve access to these crucial services.

Under the leadership of its outgoing Executive Director, Funke Olokude, Ribbon Rouge has made strides in influencing policies and practices across various sectors in Alberta. Olokude’s extensive background in social services and her commitment to equity and transformational leadership play a pivotal role in the foundation’s impact.

The foundation’s approach is unique in its use of storytelling, community-engaged arts, and meaningful community conversations to create positive social change. By raising the voices of people affected by racialized health disparities and focusing on issues related to gender and race, the Ribbon Rouge Foundation seeks to build community, promote self-expression, and facilitate transformative system change.

Their work includes various initiatives such as the ACB Caucus for Health Equity, the Artist Collective, and the B.E.A.R (Black Equity in Alberta Rainforest) research project. These initiatives are aimed at closing health gaps and enhancing health outcomes for the ACB community. One of the events that we need to look out for this year is Kinfest 2024.

KinFest 2024, themed “Black Creativity in Action,” is an exclusive celebration dedicated to showcasing the talents of Black artists in Edmonton. Scheduled to take place from May 2nd to 4th, 2024, this festival is set to be a dynamic and powerful display of the diverse and rich artistic expressions within the Black community.

The core of KinFest 2024 is its focus on Black artistry in various forms. Attendees can expect to see a range of performances and exhibits spanning from traditional African arts to contemporary Black culture. This includes music, where artists will present genres deeply rooted in Black culture like jazz, blues, Afrobeat, hip-hop, and R&B, alongside innovative new sounds that continue to shape the music industry.

Visual arts will be another major highlight, with exhibitions featuring works from Black painters, sculptors, and digital artists. These pieces are expected to reflect the Black community’s experiences, history, and aspirations, offering insights into the diverse perspectives and creative prowess of these artists.

Dance performances at KinFest 2024 will likely cover a broad spectrum, from traditional African dances that tell stories of heritage and community to modern styles like street dance, which have been significantly influenced and evolved within the Black community. These performances will not only entertain but also celebrate the rich cultural heritage and innovative spirit of Black dancers.

Poetry and spoken word are also expected to feature prominently, with artists using their voices to express their identity, struggles, triumphs, and visions. These performances will offer a powerful medium for storytelling and sharing experiences that resonate deeply within the Black community.

In addition to performances, KinFest 2024 may offer workshops and talks led by Black artists and cultural experts. These sessions can provide deeper insights into various art forms, techniques, and their cultural significance, offering an educational aspect to the festival experience.

The festival will also likely include a marketplace, where Black artisans and entrepreneurs can display and sell their crafts, artwork, and other products. This not only supports Black businesses but also allows festival-goers to take a piece of the culture and artistry home with them.

KinFest 2024, with its focus on “Black Creativity in Action,” is not just a celebration of art; it’s a powerful platform for the Black community to showcase their creativity, share their stories, and celebrate their cultural heritage. It promises to be an inspiring and enriching event for both artists and attendees, highlighting the vital role of Black artists in shaping the cultural landscape.


For more detailed information and insights into the foundation’s activities and impact, you can visit their website Ribbon Rouge Foundation.




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