Toronto-based artist and director, Superior, is making a difference in the city
By Will Lofsky
When Jay Doodnauth, a Guyanese artist known as Superior, was in his last year at Ryerson University for the media production program, he decided to take a different approach for his final practicum than most other students. Rather than just getting the term over with, he decided to direct a film about mental health issues in minority communities.
“I knew a couple people, very close people in my life, that were dealing with mental health issues,” says Superior. “It has to be addressed in minority communities because it won’t be if no one starts to really, really push this.”
In the federally-recognized motion picture, Perspective, two young Caribbean men both suffering from different disorders struggle to get through their day-to-day lives. While the film is only 20 minutes, it’s very powerful.
“Two doctors and another neuroscientist flew down from the States just to come see the premiere… It was crazy.”
Despite having no previous history of mental illness, Superior encountered his own struggles while shooting the film, after getting let go from a job he enjoyed in Newmarket because of two panic attacks in the span of two days at work.
The day Superior got let go from his previous workplace was the night of his official premiere in November. Right after he got the dreaded email from his former employer, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) contacted him and asked him to show his movie at the Richmond Hill summit.
Since the release of Perspective, Superior is in the midst of organizing a series of talks with the MHCC, as well as working with I Talk to Strangers, a foundation that hosts meetups where adults from all walks of life can attend and speak on different topics.
Superior is also the associate producer of another film that tackles mental health issues called Unmasking, which is being pushed to the Toronto International Film Festival this year.
Superior is now a full-time marketing coordinator at a small Toronto company called Fourdots Digital that organizes small scale to massive social media and other online campaigns for corporations.
“What’s awesome about it is that I’m so excited to go to work every day,” says Superior. “It puts me in a position where I come home, and my music is just another fun challenge.”
While balancing his full-time job, pushing Perspective, and working with different organizations, Superior is also putting together an EP, which he says is largely influenced by Brent Faiyaz. Back in his Ryerson days, Superior worked primarily on boom bap, a particular hip hop production style used by artists like Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, but since then has focused on singing.
When Perspective was in the works, Superior and his friends, Ryan Michaels and Kyle Archer, were working on a collaborative album for their group, Room For 2. The album, The Hard Truth, is available on all platforms.
Their debut single, “See You in the Morning” was featured on WorldStarHipHop’s Instagram. The music video for the single was directed by Karena Evans, the mind behind Drake’s “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What,” and “In My Feelings” music videos
Video courtesy ROOM FOR 2 Official via YouTube
Since last year, Ryan Michaels and Superior have been back at it, working on the EP and taking their time. Although Superior does not want to set a release date yet, he is planning on releasing a new single later this summer.
What separates Superior from a lot of artists is that, rather than rushing to put his project out, he stays busy and does whatever he can to help his community along the way. This selflessness is seldom seen in the music industry anymore and may be Superior’s greatest asset.