Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents Abovegroup hosts
Picture House at Home
to make science show
Farley Flex, in the decades he s been in the
entertainment industry, has taken on and
overcome many challenges. He may currently
be in the midst of his biggest challenge yet.
Flex was born Farley Fridal to Trinidadian
parents in England. They moved back to
Trinidad shortly after, and then moved to
Canada when he was six. His uncle was Austin
Fridal, the engineer known for his work on
the first airport at Piarco and other historic
buildings in T&T.
Flex may be best known for being a judge
on Canadian Idol, which---like its American
counterpart---was hugely successful from its
inception in 2003 until its final show in 2008.
But it was behind the scenes in entertain-
ment that Flex really made his mark. "One
could recall every single milestone made by
the urban music industry in Canada, and Flex
was probably a part of it," wrote one journal-
ist.Flex managed the career of Maestro Fresh-
Wes, Canada s first successful solo rapper. At
the time, the late 80s- early 90s, success as
a Canadian rapper didn t seem possible.
Flex was also part of the team behind the
launch of Canada s first black-owned and -
operated radio station in 2000. It took 12 years
to get the license for FLOW 93.5 FM.
"The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission), the gov-
erning body for communications, has histor-
ically licensed on language not culture. Unfor-
tunately, because the lion s share of people of
African descent speak English, we fell into a
larger group of [English-speakers]," Flex
He and his partners thought differently.
"The governing body should license by cul-
ture, because our culture is distinctly different
than other English-speaking communities,"
It took three attempts, led by Flex, to con-
vince the CRTC.
Now Flex is promoting a new venture, a
television network called FEVA TV (First Enter-
tainment Voice of Africa Television). Like
FLOW 93.5, FEVA is a first for Canada. FEVA
shows black television programming and films
from Africa, the US, the UK, Canada and the
Now it s on cable reaching audiences in
select regions of Canada.
The team plans to extend their reach to
other parts of Canada, the US, the UK, Africa
and the Caribbean. This is why Flex was in
T&T recently. He s in talks with cable provider
Columbus Communications and is pushing
to have FEVA TV available to Caribbean audi-
ences by April. He s hoping to get some T&T
Right now T&T representation on FEVA is
in the form of music videos from Machel
Montano, Bunji Garlin and other soca stars.
But FEVA TV is looking for more television
shows and films from the Caribbean. They re
currently showing the Jamaican comedy-
drama series Me and Mi Kru. But much of
their content is from Africa, particularly the
prodigiously productive Nigeria.
FEVA TV presents a rare opportunity for
Caribbean television and film producers.
"Many of them still don t have an outlet in
their own country, many of them have even
less of an outlet throughout the Caribbean,
and most of them have no outlet outside of
the Caribbean," said Flex.
"As a television network we (at FEVA TV)
also have this dual role as a potential distributor
of content to the places where we exist," he
"We think that that is going to be of great
value to the creative community here," he said.
"I think it s going to inspire young people
who are thinking of getting into the creative
industries to do so with a little more of a
clear vision as to their own potential.
" Cause that s what s really important at
the end of the day: having a vision and a path
that you can follow," he said.
Africans and the African diaspora are an
audience with still untapped potential. There
are one billion Africans and counting, 45 mil-
lion African Americans, almost 4.5 million
people of African descent in the English-
speaking Caribbean, almost two million in the
UK and almost one million in Canada. FEVA
TV sees this potential.
For Flex, connecting black programme
producers and filmmakers with black audi-
ences around the world would have an
impact that goes beyond making
"It s showing us each other and
talking about each other and with
each other," he said. "I think this
is a critical part of the evolution
of black people on this planet.
It would eventually "enhance
the opportunity for commerce and
for trade," he said.
Nollywood films have become as popular
as they are in the Caribbean and other areas
with people of African descent because they
see the similarities and identify with the actors.
"I don t have to look like Shemar Moore to
get a lead role in
said Flex, referring to the Criminal Minds
heartthrob who also used to star on The Young
and the Restless. "Actually I m probably better
suited to Nollywood than Shemar Moore."
"Seeing more full-figured women. Seeing
body types of people who look like my sister
and my mother" is part of the appeal of Nol-
lywood, said Flex.
Likewise, he believes Africans would appre-
ciate Caribbean shows and may even be
interested in filming here.
Said Flex: "I can drop my Nigerian
and my Ghanaian friends
in the Croisee and they
will feel like they re
Farley Flex has T&T
heritage and is
content for his
New Canadian station seeks
Caribbean TV/film content
More info and to pitch ideas:
E-mail Farley Flex at
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