After the Black Academy started in early December, brother actors Shamier Anderson and Stephan James are now planning an award ceremony to celebrate and promote black talent across Canada.
Obtaining financial support is a challenge, they say.
The Toronto-raised artists say they plan to debut the national live broadcast in their hometown in the second half of 2022 so that they can hopefully have a personal audience without COVID-19 fears.
The Black Academy has partnered with Insight Productions on the show, which will celebrate both Anglophone and Francophone Black talent in film, television, music, sports, and culture.
While the Canada Media Fund has already financially supported the Black Academy, the organization needs more investment. They had “a lot of meetings” but no money got through, Anderson said.
“We have some other business units, some of those people who show up in Black History Month, for one-off relationships and one-off things like ‘Hey, we want to support you because this is part of our mandate. ‘He said in an interview. “And for us, being black doesn’t happen in 28 days, the shortest month of the year. Being black happens all year round.”
Prize categories, juries and the submission process for the show will be announced at a later date.
Anderson and James are executive producers alongside John Brunton, Shannon Farr and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions, who have worked on many award shows and television programs.
The broadcast will include awards ceremonies, performances, and honors honoring established and emerging black talent.
Anderson calls the event “groundbreaking and steeped in history”.
“It’s the first of its kind in Canada, nationally. It’s kind of crazy for you to say this – that this is the first in 2021. It just makes you think for a minute,” Why? “The actor said of it Credits the series belongs to Wynonna Earp, the upcoming Netflix science fiction thriller Stowaway and Halle Berry’s directorial debut, Bruised.
“The Black Awards Show is a small part of the work we’ll be doing with the Academy, but it’s a big deal,” said James, the Golden Globe nominated star of the Amazon Prime Video series Homecomingwhose movie credits contain If Beale Street could talk, run and Selma.
“It’s a big deal to finally have a place where people can recognize and be honored. We can give flowers to people while they are in Canada to develop their careers and make a living. “
The Black Academy and Insight Productions are now looking for a black showrunner as well as black creatives and crew for the event. They are also planning a pre-production skills development program for multiple positions. Interested applicants can submit their résumés to Insight.
Farr said she had several conversations with the Black Academy as she spoke to potential partners, funders and government agencies over the past few months. Some people get the wrong impression that they have a lot of money to start an awards show, she said.
“The truth is, there’s still a lot of talk. There’s not much to do,” Farr said. “You can issue press releases, you can make speeches from thrones, you can do all of these things. You can have various ministers for this, appoint that and whatever, but until something happens nothing will change.
“And we hear all kinds of excuses: ‘The government is slow, we don’t have this, we don’t have a program for it, talk to this department.’ And ultimately, I think the general public believes that something is happening when it really is nothing right now. “
Anderson and James founded The Black Academy as a permanent, year-round action to showcase black talent, break down barriers to discrimination and combat systemic racism.
The Academy is a national division of the B.L.A.C.K. Canada (Building a Legacy in Acting, Cinema + Knowledge).
The idea for the award ceremony came after the brothers met with Insight Productions in 2019 to jointly develop another, not yet announced project.
“One thing we know for sure in the Black Community is that we want to do big, bold, and colorful things,” said James of her vision for the show.
“We want there to be an element that just seems great and long overdue, which it is natural. And maybe we have a black carpet instead of a red carpet that leads people to the awards show. “
While the show is designed to celebrate and honor black talent, those who attend it will “go well beyond the black community,” he added.
“We are counting on seeing our white colleagues there who are with us and support us. We want to see the diversity that exists in Canada, what makes Canada Canada and how it also contributes to being black, ”said James.
“From the guests who will be there, to the overall appearance and aesthetics, they will definitely experience something special.” I want to say this is going to feel like the NAACP Image Awards, like the Oscars, like the Soul Train Awards, all in one little mashup. “