Eminent 2016 has officially concluded along with my eminent journey in general.  It’s so weird to think that I’ll never have to do an eminent project again, nor do I have to stress about who to do next year.  I’ve been thinking about eminent so much lately that not thinking about it makes me feel like I’m missing a limb or something – Eminent was a part of me!

Night of the Notables on Wednesday was extravagant.  My speech, learning center, and collaboration videos all went well!  The following video includes all of these aspects, so be sure to check it out.  (If you did film a collab with me, check the description of the video to find where you appear!)

For the last time, be sure to like the video, subscribe, and leave a comment down below telling me your favourite memory from Night of the Notables.  Thank you so much for watching.  Bye friends!


Tomorrow!!!  *Breathe in, and breathe out*

As eminent is wrapping up, I thought now would be a great time to post my bibliography/ biBLOGraphy/ bibVLOGraphy.  Here are the links to the resources I discussed in my video.  If you’re interested in Tyler, be sure to check them out!

Tyler’s Links:
Bonus Videos:

LGBTQ+ Resources:
Terms related to sexuality:  
Articles related to the LGBTQ+ community:
The Trevor Project’s terms, definitions, and FAQ: 


Interview complete!  So happy to have done this interview with Ricky Ficarelli.  All of his answers have been really helpful in my eminent project, specifically in terms of getting into a YouTuber’s mindset for my speech.  Check out the video below and be sure to leave a comment if you have anything to add on to our responses.

Two days until Night of the Notables!  Good luck everyone!

The Unofficial DoL

This blog post is brought to you by your SpongeBob meme of the day.  Stay tuned for more spongealicious memes.


Although I already completed my Document of Learning in the form of a library post as well as stated I would only be doing my eminent posts in the form of video, I felt it would be beneficial to post my speech here for feedback.  Feel free to comment any kind of feedback so I can finish up my speech and get practicing!

The Idea: I, Tyler, just hit 10 million subscribers on YouTube and am making a video to thank my supporters.  In this video I want to emphasize the importance of this community (#TeamInternet) in getting me to where I am today.  I also want to prove to them that they can go places from where they are right now and create positive change in the world.

The Speech:

Hey everyone!  My name is Tyler Oakley and today we hit a pretty big milestone.  If you follow me on Twitter (which you should by the way – @tyleroakley), you’re probably already aware but… we just hit TEN MILLION SUBSCRIBERS.  That’s right, this community right here on YouTube has grown to be a family of ten million people and I want you to know that I am incredibly thankful for every single one of you.

WE have done this together because WE have been through it all.  We created.  Created a book, a documentary, a podcast, a tour.  We raised.  Raised awareness and money for the causes we care about such as the Trevor Project.  We reached.  Reached goals both in your life and my life, in numbers like the 10 million today, but also in our personal achievements.  Whether you have been watching since my very first video, or this is the first video of mine you have seen, WE, Team Internet, are what has made this possible.

If you went back in time and told seven year old poor, fat, closeted Tyler that in twenty years he would be standing in front of a camera talking to 10 million people across the world, he would just laugh.  And yet, here I am today.  That’s why I want you to know that whatever struggles you are going through, you can overcome. Dysfunctional family, eating disorder, not being accepted for being LGBT, or something else, WE can all grow and go places from there.  

This all starts by making a difference.  Whether it be as small as taking care of yourself and bringing a smile to someone’s face or as big as advocating for a cause you care about.  No matter who you are and what you do, all of us can positively affect this world.

Anyways, those were my words of wisdom for today.  I want to thank you, my people, again for helping me hit 10 million subscribers here on YouTube.  If you liked this video you can give it a thumbs up and make sure to subscribe if you aren’t already. Also, leave a comment down below telling me how you plan to grow, make a change, and be your own eminent person.  Okay, that’s all!  Bye friends!!


If it’s easier for you, here is the Google Doc link as well:


The title says it all.  Vlogging is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, especially when walking around in public.  My trip to the VPL and MacLeod’s consisted of almost falling over on the Skytrain, nearly walking into people in Vancouver, getting weird stares for talking to myself, and even receiving a couple dirty looks.  So please, give my video a thumbs up for all I had to endure.


I T ‘S . H E R E .

Eminent 2016 has finally arrived and I couldn’t be more simultaneously stressed and excited.  This year, I have decided to do all of my eminent blog posts in the format of a video, just as my eminent person, Tyler Oakley, would.  I think* the video speaks for itself, so without further ado, here is “Wannabe Tyler’s” introductory VLOG post.

*Actually, I KNOW the video will speak for itself.  I mean, it’s seventeen minutes long.  (Sorry…)

PRO-TIP: Check the description of the video to find exact times for specific topics.

Find Your Source


Ha, ha, ha …  Get it?  Because it’s Source yogurt?  I’ll stop now.  But before you leave, shaking your head, because of my cringe-worthy joke, check out my biblography below.  You may find some of these resources interesting or useful in the future. was the very first site I used for the eminent study.  This is where I found the most basic and notable information about Billie Holiday.  It was based on the information from this website, that I ultimately decided that she would be my eminent person.  On this site, you can find biographical information such as her original birth name, the day she was born, and where she grew up.  You can also read about key moments in her life that may be important to know.  This includes her troubled childhood, the orchestras she worked with, and some of her most notable songs including Miss Brown To You and God Bless The Child. was another introductory site I used at the beginning of research.  Here, I looked through her life’s timeline, viewed pictures of her, and again saw some basic biographical information.  One thing to note about this site is that it strongly praises Billie.  There is no information about the negative moments in her life such as her substance abuse.  Because a goal of my project was to put a main focus on Billie’s successful moments in life, this didn’t bother me.  However, I feel it is important for a reader to know that there is more to her story than all sunshine and happiness. was used as a “verification” website.  One of the few ways I use to see if my information seems reliable is by checking it on various sites to see if things match up.  As PBS is generally quite trustworthy, I compared the information from this site with my other two sites to make sure all of the information lined up properly.  Good news: it did!

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Lady Sings the Blues – Billie Holiday with William Dufty and a foreword from David Ritz was the key book I used during my eminent person study.  When I borrowed this book from the Vancouver Library, I found that it particularly helped with my speech.  Reading about the moments when she was on stage made me feel like I was in the venue at the time.  I wanted to convey this same atmosphere and feeling during my own speech.  The book also helped me understand the early-life background of Billie Holiday.  It almost felt as if I had known her personally.

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Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society, And An Early Cry For Civil Rights – David Margolick and a foreword from Hilton Als was the second book I used for eminent.  Billie’s song, Strange Fruit, was a topic I was intrigued to talk about in both my speech and learning centre.  Like when I read Lady Sings the Blues, reading about the audience’s reaction to Billie’s performance in Strange Fruit, helped me set a mood for my speech.


And now eminent is complete.  Until next year. . .

Wrapping Up


Via LouisaLulu on Deviantart.

Via LouisaLulu on Deviantart.


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My delicious (yet measly) pizza.

When I got home from NotN, I had a big mix of feelings and emotions.  Predominantly, I was tired, but I also felt a lot of other things.  Pride: For not only myself, but also for my peers and how well their speeches and learning centres worked out.  Happiness: Eminent is over!  Conflicting sadness: Eminent is over. . .  Confusion: Why am I upset that the thing that has caused me the most stress over the past month is ending?  Hunger: “Though they were tasty, those two pieces of pizza barely filled a corner of my stomach.  I mean, the pepperoni had a delicious spice and there was a good amount of cheese, but the lack of crust starved me.  There’s nothing wrong with thin crust pizza but three and a half slices would have better filled the void. . .  I need chocolate.”


The Stage

The Stage.

Moving on, the point of this blog post is not to get overly emotional about the food, but instead to reflect on my learning centre.  Why learning centre in particular?  The biggest goal I had for eminent was to create one that would be very engaging for those at NotN.  Like I said in my intro post,  many of my projects in elementary and middle school consisted of me pasting large paragraphs of text all over a neon poster board.  I wanted to be a little more creative and move away from this.

For my learning centre, I decided to create a space that would resemble a stage Billie Holiday would have performed on.  I used a curtain,  a sign bordered by lights, and 40’s style microphone as key elements to represent the stage.  I also included a timeline of “records”.  Each stated an event in Billie’s life that I found significant.

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Pictures , Text & Mic

Over to the side of this set-up, I had an assortment of pictures of Billie as well as some text to accompany.  I found limiting text the most difficult thing to do because I am usually quite dependent on my writing.  To keep things reasonable, I chose to write something short on each of the four key events I included in my timeline.  I didn’t bother including too many details as I know that people would not stop to read Billie’s biography.  Instead, it would be my job to fill them in on what they needed to know.  The lack of text was probably the scariest thing about eminent for me.  There was no real script for me to read off, and I pretty much had to go with the flow of the conversation.  When I talked to the first person, I sounded very stiff and robotic but throughout the night, I became more and more comfortable speaking with people.  I actually had real, relaxed conversations with the last few people who came to my station and I am really proud of that.



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My Learning Centre


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Setting Up

I truly think I met my goals for this project.  I was really proud of what I did with my learning centre as well as the conversations I had with those who came by.  By the end of the night, I felt much more comfortable having unscripted conversations with people and I hope I can maintain this confidence throughout the rest of the year.

I have to give a very specific thank you to Aileen (as well as my parents) for helping with the very stressful set up and take down of my learning centre.  I also need to thank Brian for saving my life with his wonderful silver Sharpie when mine inconveniently ran out of ink.  And of course, thank you to all of the TALONS for being super supportive of each other and making this process so much easier.

Eminent was a very stressful and challenging, yet exciting experience.  It’s weird to admit, but I’m actually quite excited to do this again in grade 10.  ((Someone is totally going to use this against me next year when I start complaining about the project…))


Interview: COMPLETE!

InterviewThe interview gods have answered my prayers.  Did it go as smoothly and easily as expected?  Nope.  But hey, I actually got an interview and I’m quite proud of myself for that.

About a week before speeches (and two weeks before learning centres), things were going fine until the word “INTERVIEW” frantically made its way back into my memory.  I totally forgot about completing my eminent interview!  I had to get on it right away.

I thought it would be easy.  As my eminent person is Billie Holiday, I wanted to interview a music teacher to understand more about the field.  I sent an email to my middle school music teacher asking him if he would be willing to conduct an interview.  “Of course he would!” I thought.  So I waited patiently for one day… two days… three days.  No response.  Being the impatient teenager I am, I chose to try someone else.

After doing some brainstorming, I decided to send an email to my former choir teacher, Ms. Tia Turner.   Because the deadline was creeping up on me, this time I also sent my questions in the original email to limit unnecessary messages back and forth.  So again, I waited patiently for one day… two days… three days.  Except this time, I actually received a response!

The following are the emails exchanged between myself and Ms. Turner:

Dear Ms. Turner,

I hope you and your family are well.

I am in a gifted program called TALONS at Gleneagle Secondary School, and we are currently working on an Eminent Person research project.  I have decided to conduct my project on the life of jazz musician, Billie Holiday.  An important aspect of this project is to obtain an interview from someone who works in a similar field as your eminent person to better understand their life and career.  As you are a music teacher, I thought you would be a great person to interview.

The following are my questions:

  1. In your opinion, what is the most difficult part about working in the music business?
  2. How do you think songs with controversy (such as Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”) influence an artist’s career? 
  3. Who are your musical inspirations and why?

 I would really appreciate if you could answer these few questions to help extend my project.  However, I know you are likely quite busy so if you cannot respond, I understand.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this and considering my request. 

Kendra Seguin
(CSMA Girls Choir 2008-2011) 


Hi Kendra,
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’d be happy to do this for you. Is there a deadline you need it by?
I should be able to get to it this weekend.
Hope you are well,
Hi Ms. Turner,
I really appreciate the response.  It would be great if you could get back to me by tomorrow night.
Thank you again,

1 – In your opinion, what is the most difficult part about working in the music business?

     – I think one of the most difficult things about working in the music business is being under appreciated  or recognized. There are very few artists that get proper recognition for their talents and the ones that do usually have a corporate “machine” behind them to help accomplish this. If you want to be in the music business you need to do it because you truly love it & not to get recognized or you will definitely be disappointed. 

2 – How do you think songs with controversy (such as Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”) influence an artist’s career? 

     – When an artist chooses to perform or record a controversial song it can have a great impact on their career. In Holiday’s situation there was fear of retaliation & record companies were very resistant to record it. With todays impact of social media a controversial recording of a song can rocket an artist to great success but then they need to be able to continue to provide substance with their music or they can crash down as quickly as they rose.  Controversial songs can also ruin an artists career if they are scene to be overly disrespectful or degrading.

3 – Who are your musical inspirations and why?

     – My first big musical inspiration was Ella Fitzgerald. I was introduced to her in grade 9 & couldn’t get enough. I still to this day can sing dozens of her songs just as she did. Her amazing feel, clarity & precision of tone and use of her instrument were undeniable. Over the years I was also drawn to Betty Carter, Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, Elvis Costello among many others. Recently I have been drawn back to K.D. Lang as she has an unbelievable instrument  that she uses to it’s full potential & her ability to truly sing a song as it should be sung and move you through the telling of a story are inspirational. I also so admire her as a human being that has been through a lot of struggles in her life and has come to a place of great compassion. It had always been hard for me to truly enjoy listening to the music of someone I don’t repeat as a person.

I hope this is what you were needing, if you need longer answers or more details just let me know. I hope things are going well for you & please say hi to your mom for me!

Take Care,
Good morning Ms. Turner,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.  Your answers have really given me insight into the music industry.  It was also great reading about your personal inspirations and why you are drawn to them.  I really appreciate all of your help with this component of my project.  You are the best!  


As you can see, my interview worked out pretty well!  One thing I would change for next year is sending out interview requests earlier.  The answers I got from Ms. Turner were very valuable and could have helped improve my speech.  However, I didn’t send out emails until after my speech was written, therefore the answers were not helpful for that aspect of the project.  Though I can’t complain too much.  Having a good interview was one of my original goals for the eminent person project so overall, I am really happy that it was successfully completed!

Image via

Image via

So Far In Eminent…

Ah, eminent.  What a time to be in TALONS.  So far, I feel like my eminent study is going pretty well and I am getting work done.  However, I still have quite a ways to go.  As grade 9 speeches are coming up this week, writing and rehearsing my speech is currently my main focus.  To document my learning, I have decided to post my speech draft here.  Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Particularly, I am looking for feedback in terms of my transitions/ flow as well as on the selected moments I chose to tell.

Billie Holiday – Eminent Speech Draft

     As I lay on the dusty ground in the back of an abandoned club, I think back.  Nobody’s been in here for years.  And it’s been decades since I’ve been used.  Decades since “her”.  She was someone special, she brought me to life.  Her name was Billie Holiday.

     I remember the very first time I heard Billie sing.  It was a late Friday night and people were taking turns up on stage.  Yeah, some of them had pretty good voices, but something about them all felt the same to me.  But then someone new showed up.  A young woman in a black dress which a contrasted the white flower in her hair walked to the front of the stage.  Her hands were visibly shaking and she didn’t bother to conceal the anxiety on her face.  She closed her eyes, tilted her head back, and unleashed her voice.  I didn’t know what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t as good as that.  The room went dead silent. You know the expression “you could hear a pin drop?”  If someone dropped a pin in there, it would more resemble a bomb.  That’s the power she had.  Her voice was so unique—nothing like anyone had heard before.  Through the music, she would emit emotions.  When she sang, you could hear the heartbreak, the struggle, and the tragedy she’s known.  But you could also hear the passion and determination she had for the future.  When she finished her song, her focused expression became a bright smile of pride, brighter than her gardenia.

     As time went on, she moved on to bigger and better things than this tiny, broken-down club, but she would come back to perform here every now and then.  The most memorable time Billie returned was when she debuted her song, Strange Fruit.  I expected her to saunter onto the stage with confidence now that she was a well-established performer.  This was not the case.  Her nerves were as evident as the very first time she sang here.  Once she started singing, I knew why.  “Southern trees bear a strange fruit.  Blood on the leaves, blood at the root.”  The song tells of a black man, lynched, hanging from a tree.  No matter who you are, what is visualized, is a disturbing image.  The audience before the stage seemed taken aback by what they were hearing.  I was too.  The song took on a very startling topic, and even though Billie knew it was a risk, she chose to perform the powerful piece anyway.  Once the song ended, only one person showed they were impressed.  But that one single clap quickly turned into a roar of applause. But following this night, I started hearing murmurs from people discussing how the song was doing outside of the club.  The reception in the rest of the country wasn’t as positive.  Billie’s label at the time didn’t let her record the song, leaving her to find a new label to get it out there.  When the public heard it, some found the song unsettling and graphic.  So much so that certain radio stations went to the lengths of banning Strange Fruit from ever airing.  But all of this controversy was what made her song such a hit.  It made people think, like a good song should.

     Fast forward to late 1950s,  when heard that Billie had died.  The reason being that her substance addiction had finally gotten the best of her.  For the next couple of weeks I heard people talking about Billie as they entered and exited the club.  It was a shame to hear that all they talked about were about the drugs she took, and the alcohol she drank because that’s not what she was about.  People should have started celebrating Billie the day she died.  It shouldn’t have taken them years to really celebrate her amazing life.  And I’m not saying that we should gloss over the challenges and difficulties that made her the person she was, but we also shouldn’t be criticizing how her life had to end.  Billie’s life was special.  The legacy she left behind was special.  The way she changed music forever was special.  And that is what she should be remembered for.

     Billie was a talented vocalist not only known in the world of jazz, but also in popular music.  Her voice was something unique that no other could match.  Her music was memorable. And though sometimes the songs were risky, we all remember them.  Billie Holiday was an amazing woman.  I will remember her forever.  


Also, check out this video the Billie Holiday song I talk about in my speech, Strange Fruit!