For Us By Us: Celebrating Black Excellence At The Legacy Awards
The Legacy Awards is an event that honors excellence within the Black community, stands as a shining beacon of recognition and appreciation for the outstanding achievements of Black Canadians. As we delve into the highlights of the awards show, we will witness a celebration of heritage, talent, and resilience.
A Tribute to Excellence
The Legacy Awards, which is only in it's second year, has quickly become a hallmark of excellence and a platform for recognizing the significant contributions of Black Canadians across various fields. It was founded by Scarborough brothers Shamier Anderson and Stephan James. Keisha Chante was the incredible host for the awards show this year. The awards ceremony is a celebration of art, culture, entrepreneurship, activism, and leadership, showcasing the incredible diversity and talent within the Black community.
In a mesmerizing display of talent and artistry, the stage was set ablaze by the electrifying performance of artists including: Jully Black, Lu Kala, Jackie Richardson, Taaylee G, Zach Zoya, Tamir, and YSN Fab. All of their performances became testament to the immense contributions of Black artists, a reminder of the depth of culture and creativity within the community, and an unforgettable experience that will linger in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege to be there.
Categories and Honorees
The Legacy Awards witnessed an impressive array of categories and equally remarkable honorees.
Jully Black received the Icon award.
Black is a platinum-selling and JUNO award-winning recording artist, Canada’s Walk of Fame inductee, motivational speaker, actress, entrepreneur, and fitness leader whose philanthropic work has taken her across North America and to villages from Bangladesh to South Africa. She has written songs for industry heavyweights including Nas and Destiny’s Child and performed alongside artists including Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Elton John, and Jesse Reyez.
Lu Kala received the Emerging Artist Award.
With a gift for writing striking pop tracks and memorable hooks, LU KALA is redefining what a pop star sounds and looks like. Between her debut EP Worthy, Pretty Girl Era, and additional singles, this fiery-voiced songstress has amassed more than 72 million streams. Pretty Girl Era spent 15 weeks in the top 15 of Top 40 radio in Canada peaking at #10 and has inspired more than 312K UGC videos.
Director X received the Trailblazer Award.
Julien Christian Lutz is one of the most iconic music video directors of all time, known for his work with Drake, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few. He is the creator, showrunner, and EP of the highly anticipated Robyn Hood, his first original TV series; directed cult-fave Superfly; and has created art installations for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and the Ontario Science Center. Lutz uses his platform for social change and founded Operation Prefrontal Cortex, an initiative created to reduce Toronto’s gun violence through mindfulness and meditation.
Tonya Wiliams received the Visionary Award.
Tonya Williams is an award-winning actress, activist, and producer who has worked in the entertainment industry for the last 48 years. She is best known for her 19 years starring on the daytime drama The Young & The Restless as Dr. Olivia Winters and for founding and continuing to manage and lead Reelworld Screen Institute, Reelworld Film Festival, and Reelworld Foundation. Williams created Reelworld to increase opportunities, access, and inclusion for Black, Indigenous, Asian, and People of Colour in the screen industries in Canada.
Kia Nurse received the Athlete of the Year Award.
Nurse represented Canada at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020, is a Pan American Games Gold Medallist, a two-time FIBA Women's AmeriCup Gold Medallist, a WNBA All Star starter, a two-time WNBL Champion, and the 2020 WNBL MVP. Making her first appearance at 16, she remains a staple of the Canadian National Women’s Program.
The Impact of the Legacy Awards
The awards show are more than just a glamorous ceremony; they are a testament to the enduring spirit of the Black community in Canada. By highlighting the achievements of these outstanding individuals and groups, the awards inspire future generations, fostering a sense of pride and possibility.
One of the most significant impacts of the awards is their ability to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by Black Canadians and to promote conversations about equity and inclusion. They remind us of the importance of acknowledging and addressing systemic racism while celebrating the successes that have been achieved despite these obstacles.
The Legacy Awards once again shone a spotlight on the remarkable achievements and contributions of Black Canadians across the nation. Through these awards, the diverse and vibrant Black community in Canada has been celebrated and honored, and their stories have served as an inspiration to all Canadians. As we look to the future, it is crucial to continue recognizing and supporting the extraordinary talent and resilience within this community, ensuring that their legacy of excellence endures for generations to come.
If you missed the awards show, stream it now on CBC GEM.