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The Black Business and Professional Association Announces the 37th Annual BBPA Harry Jerome Award Recipients: GAMECHANGERS

Announcement celebrated at an exclusive preview screening of Cool Black North, premiering Feb. 22 on Citytv 

TORONTO, ON – February 19, 2019 - The Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) announced the 2019 honorees for the 37th Annual Harry Jerome Awards presented by the BBPA and TD Bank at a Media Launch reception hosted by Rogers Media on February 19, 2019.  

Established in 1983 in memory of the late Harry Jerome, a Canadian Olympian and Social Advocate, the BBPA Harry Jerome awards recognizes and honors achievements within the Canadian Black Community. The award is a fundraiser that supports the BBPA’s work in promoting the professional business advancement of African Canadians. The BBPA conducts programming in the areas of economic and entrepreneurial development and young professional training.

According to BBPA President, Nadine Spencer, “The 2019 Harry Jerome Honourees are truly representative of this year’s theme 'GameChangers'. This is about making a positive change within our community, both individually and collectively as a black community in Canada.”

Presented by title sponsor TD Bank, the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards is recognized as one of the most prestigious national award galas in the African-Canadian Community. The honorees receive awards in fourteen categories; they are: Arts, Athletics, Leadership, Business, Entertainment, Professional Excellence, Health Science, Community Service, Lifetime Achievement, Culture, Trailblazer, Youth Advancement, Media and the President’s Award.

"We seek out game-changers in all industries in our community, who have paved the way for others to grow and excel and whose commitment to improving our community is unwavering”   states Marcia Bowen, Chair of the Harry Jerome Awards.

This year's media launch was paired with an advance screening of the new feature-length documentary Cool Black North, produced by Second Time Around Productions Inc., in association with Citytv. Airing Friday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Citytv (check local listings), the special two-hour presentation explores the unique and vibrant Canadian Black Community and its role in our country’s contemporary identity as told through the experiences of many past recipients of the Harry Jerome Awards.

“I am proud that Citytv is part of this very important conversation celebrating the richness and diversity of our Canadian Black Community,” said Rick Brace, President, Rogers Media. “Cool Black North" highlights the incredible contributions of many previous Harry Jerome Award winners, and I’m delighted we can bring their stories to a national audience.

Alison Duke, Director of the film comments; “This is the real reason I am in the film industry. I'm obsessed with telling stories about what it is like to be authentically Black in Canada. Cool Black North is a much overdue celebration of who we are and how we continue to contribute to Canadian society and making it a great place to live.”

Through a series of intimate profiles, we are witnesses to a wide spectrum of life experiences, including the arts, entertainment, law, business, science and social activism. Though each person’s pathway to success is unique, they all share a common purpose and strength in overcoming often racially-based obstacles to succeed at the highest levels in their respective fields.

Most importantly, it is their commitment to helping others and giving back to their communities that has earned them the recognition of the Harry Jerome Awards. These incredible people paint a diverse and compelling portrait of excellence in the documentary Cool Black North.

“It’s been a privilege spending time with such amazing people and having an opportunity to share some of their stories”, said Aiken Scherberger, Executive Producer  

The BBPA is proud to honor and celebrate the following award winners:

  • Rustum Southwell (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Ross Simmonds (Youth Entrepreneur Award)
  • Paulette Senior (Trailblazer Award)
  • Leslyn Lewis (Professional Excellence Award)
  • Grace Foods Canada Inc. (Business Award)
  • Wendy Beckles (Leadership Award)
  • Exco Levi (Entertainment Award)
  • Ray Williams (President Award)
  • Shaquille Smith (Athletics Award)
  • Traci Melchor (Media Award)
  • Karen Burke (Arts Award)
  • Dr. Dominick Shelton (Health Science Award)
  • Frances-Anne Solomon (Culture Award)
  • Gezahgn Wordofa (Community Service Award)

Event Information: The 37th Annual BBPA Harry Jerome Awards, presented by TD Bank, will be held on April 27th, 2019 at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd. Tickets for the Harry Jerome Awards are $250; the Early Bird Rate is $200, until March 3rd, 2019. To Purchase Tickets: 37th Annual Harry Jerome Awards

About the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA): Founded in 1983, the BBPA is a charitable organization whose mission is to advance Canada's Black Community, by facilitating the delivery of programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education and economic development. The BBPA presents the Annual Harry Jerome Awards, the BBPA National Scholarships and the National Black Business Convention (NBBPC), alongside workshops and programs at the BBPA Centre of Excellence.

For more information, please visit us online at, Call 416-504-4097, or email

Media Contact:
BrandEQ Group

Danielle Spencer

April Wilson Lange

Media Contact:

Gary Williams
416-504 4097

The mission of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) is “To advance Canada’s Black community by facilitating the delivery of programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education and economic development.” The BBPA sponsors the BBPA National Scholarships and the Annual BBPA Harry Jerome Awards. For more information please visit us online at, call (416) 504-4097 or email

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Black Business and Professional Association, 180 Elm Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M4 Canada

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