Latest NewsBell Media rolls out programming highlighting systemic racism in Canada

Bell Media rolls out programming highlighting systemic racism in Canada

A TSN special tonight, co-hosted by Kayla Grey and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, will kick off a slate of Bell Media programming initiating conversation about systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement as protests continue over the recent police-involved deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto.

Walking With Giants: Empowered By Sports, airing at 7:30 p.m. ET, will feature interviews with African-born Raptors stars Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka, CTV’s The Social co-host Marci Ien, and retired NBA All-Star and Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo.

“This special is an incredible example of the kind of change we can see when leaders are empowered and present. That same leadership is needed right now as we look to address and affect change when it comes to another pandemic we’ve long been facing: racism,” said Grey, in a release from the network. “We initially taped this special last week, but with the murder of George Floyd and the protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality, we felt we had to add more to our discussion. Speaking on it is not enough; action is needed. But I’m hopeful that the open and honest conversations that we’re making space for are just the start.”

Following the 90-minute special, the network will present the television premiere of award-winning documentary, Giants of Africa, a behind-the-scenes look at a basketball youth program set up in Africa by Ujiri, as a tool to create lasting change and empower others to dream big. A native of Nigeria, Ujiri’s love for basketball paved his way to becoming the first African-born General Manager for a major North American sports team. Now in 16 countries, the documentary takes viewers to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Grey and Ien are among the Bell Media personalities who have shared their personal experiences with racism on the network’s platforms over the last week.

“It’s so important right now to keep this conversation going,” said Ien. “​We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and say we don’t have a problem in Canada. We’re hearing from people and communities across the country that we do. Right now, we have a unique opportunity to grab hold of this moment and talk about things that have made us uncomfortable for too long, because that’s how we can create meaningful change.”

Ien will also co-host upcoming 90-minute special, Change & Action: Racism In Canada, premiering June 13 on CTV, alongside Tyrone Edwards, Lainey Lui, and Anne-Marie Mediwake. The special will discuss how all Canadians can stand in solidarity as allies of Black Canadians and marginalized communities. It will feature conversations with artists, public officials, business leaders, activists, and athletes.

“Bell Media is committed to engaging Canadians in a conversation about the racism and social injustice that exists in our country,” said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media. “Change is never easy, but it’s the uncomfortable conversations that ultimately lead to action.”​

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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