TORONTO, May 31, 2021 – Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, Scarborough natives and co- founders of The Black Academy, and Insight Productions, Canada’s preeminent award show production company, today announced an exclusive three-year partnership with CBC to broadcast Canada’s first-ever award show honouring Black talent. Planned for Fall 2022, The Black Academy's award show will celebrate established and emerging Black Canadian talent across film, television, music, sports, and culture, with a live telecast on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The telecast will feature award presentations, performances, and tributes. Award categories, the submission process, and additional information will be announced at a later date.
“Beyond creating a kick-ass award show like you’ve never, ever seen before, our intention is to shine a light on the incredible Black talent across this country and inspire generations to come,” said Stephan James, Co-Founder, The Black Academy. “We couldn’t be happier that CBC has joined us in this urgent mission. We’ve formed a true partnership with them, just as we have with Insight. CBC is the right home for this show.”
"It is our honour to partner with The Black Academy to broadcast their new awards, which will celebrate the achievements of Black Canadians in ground-breaking ways," said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, CBC. "We are committed to doing more to better reflect Black communities across Canada, and are excited to work with Shamier, Stephan, Martha and Insight Productions to provide a national platform that will showcase and elevate Canada's Black talent, and champion increased representation.”
The live telecast is only one of several initiatives created by The Black Academy to break down barriers of discrimination and combat systemic racism. The award show stems from Anderson and James’ longstanding commitment to their community and an awareness of the lack of opportunities to showcase Black talent in Canada. Anderson and James continue to call on all organizations and Canadians to meet this challenge. More announcements regarding additional initiatives are forthcoming.
Martha Hagos, a long-time colleague of Anderson and James, has been promoted to Executive Director of The Black Academy/B.L.A.C.K. Canada. In this role, Hagos oversees the day-to-day operations of both The Black Academy and B.L.A.C.K. Canada, with a focus on building out and executing the strategic vision as well as managing the financial performance of the organization.
“Martha has been our star quarterback and trusted friend for years now,” said Shamier Anderson, Co-Founder of The Black Academy. “Her expertise and limitless passion for our mission make her the ideal person for this monumental job. There’s no one better suited to help us build an infrastructure that ensures social change for our community.”
“What’s most important to me is that I’m able to amplify and uplift Black voices, stories, and talent through my work,” said Martha Hagos, Executive Director of The Black Academy and B.L.A.C.K. Canada. “The Black Academy is unquestionably the very best place to do that.”
Previously, Hagos was The Black Academy’s director of operations and has led the Annual B.L.A.C.K. Ball in Toronto and Los Angeles since its inception. Prior to joining B.L.A.C.K. Canada fulltime, Hagos coordinated a wide range of member events at Soho House Toronto. Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, and proudly of Ethiopian descent, Hagos has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communications from McMaster University and a postgraduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. Her appointment is effective immediately.
Further, the organizations are offering skills development for multiple positions in advance of pre- production. The skills development program will train select, emerging behind-the-scenes creatives and crew in collaboration with a community partner and The Black Academy. Details on this program to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We’re grateful for our partnership with The Black Academy and excited to continue our long- standing and successful relationship with the CBC on this incredibly important show,” said Lindsay Cox, Senior Vice-President, Insight Productions, and executive producer.
“With CBC, we know we can create something very special, befitting Shamier and Stephan’s unique vision,” said Shannon Farr, Vice President, Insight Productions, and executive producer.
The award show is executive produced by Shamier Anderson and Stephan James of The Black Academy. John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr are the executive producers for Insight Productions. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports and Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content. Daniel Abrams and Norbert Abrams also serve as executive producers.