Antonio Michael Downing is an author, musician and activist. But he has been many things, and has answered to many different names.
As a young boy growing up in Trinidad, his name was Tony. Living in Canada, many knew him as Michael. And as a globetrotting musician, you might know him as Mic Dainjah, Molasses or John Orpheus.
In his memoir, Saga Boy, Downing explores his many alter-egos and his lifelong search for his Black identity. It’s a search that takes him through dislocation, transformation and re-invention.
The Toronto-based Downing spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Saga Boy.
My grandmother, Miss Excelly
“My grandmother was known as Miss Excelly. My grandmother was my whole world. She was my whole universe. She was my mother and my father.