Emmanuel Jal shares his thoughts on The Big Idea: Legacy

The Big Idea is a lens. It is a way of seeing. It is a window and a platform for you to explore Harbourfront Centre’s diverse programming.

In our 40th anniversary year at Harbourfront Centre, we are exploring The Big Idea: Legacy. Legacy is the essential contribution of the past that acknowledges the present. It is a magnificent merging of past desire and future promise. In legacy the past and present come together to create fundamental meaning.

Look for the symbol below as you make your way through Harbourfront Centre to see how The Big Idea: Legacy manifests itself in our artists’ work.

Meet Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child solider in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. He managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation.

See Emmanuel Jal perform live on the WestJet Stage on July 19. Here are Jal’s thoughts on The Big Idea: Legacy.

What does legacy mean to you?

Creating a legacy means to be able to leave something tangible for future generations to hold on to, to continue, and then ultimately flourish. It also means paying tribute to icons and legends and always thinking about those that came before me, those who laid the foundation for me to be able to do the work I do today. I’m still trying to establish my own legacy, hoping my children can take the torch from me and continue to do some of the work we are trying to do now.

How does legacy manifest in your work?

In my culture, when you turn 40, it is considered a significant transformation into full blown adulthood. By then, you are expected to have accumulated enough wisdom so that you can help guide the next Generation. At 40 you are considered a veteran, and gain the status of a master, someone who has a tremendous amount of skills and expertise.

Who’s legacy has influenced you?

Some of the people who have influenced me include Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley, Tupac, Lucky Dube, and the prophet  Ngundeng from my country. He was a misunderstood prophet, and was wrongly considered to be a prophet of war, when he was in actuality all about peace. Ngundeng prophesied what is happening in Sudan right now back in the 1800’s.


What is your Legacy? What does Legacy mean to you? And how have you experienced Legacy at Harbourfront Centre? Tell us how The Big Idea: Legacy has manifested itself in your experience. Tweet us at @HarbourfrontTO to join the conversation.

Keep your eyes peeled for more blog posts, programming and artist interviews highlighting The Big Idea: Legacy throughout our 40th Anniversary Year.