The Black Academy awards show is coming to CBC in fall 2022

Actor Shamier Anderson describes being at the 2019 Golden Globes ceremony with his brother Stephan James, who was nominated for his performance in the Amazon Prime Video show Homecoming, and their mother.

“My momma-dukes – immigrated from Jamaica, living in BayMills in Scarborough – got to go to the Golden Globes,” Anderson tells NOW, remembering how they got to sit at a table with James’ co-star Julia Roberts and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “The best part: she had no idea who anybody was. She didn’t care… All she cared about was my brother and him looking good.”

It’s moments like this that Anderson (Destroyer, Stowaway) and his brother James (If Beale Street Could Talk, 21 Bridges) want to give to more Black-Canadians. The brothers co-founded the Black Academy to celebrate and uplift Black talent in Canada in the arts, sports and philanthropy. On May 31, they announced CBC will air The Black Academy’s awards show beginning with the first live show in fall 2022.

“CBC has committed to do this awards show for the next three years,” says Anderson. “That relationship can extend.”

Anderson describes the moment as a tectonic shift, not just for the broadcaster but for the Canadian television landscape as a whole. You only need to look to the Junos or Canadian Screen Awards every year to see how white Canada’s arts industry can be, and as Anderson points out, it’s even white behind the scenes.

“I’ve had the privilege of being on these stages,” he says. “And sometimes you go back behind the stage, nobody looks like you.”

Anderson, James and The Black Academy’s Executive Director Martha Hagos have partnered with Insight Productions to put on the show. They’re currently figuring out the logistics like awards categories and qualification dates. They’re also recruiting Black talent to produce the show in creative and crew roles.

“For us, it’s a full stack, holistic experience that we want everybody to be a part of,” says Anderson.

He and his brother are part of something that Anderson dubs the “Scarborough Renaissance.” There’s a new wave of talent coming from Toronto’s east end: not just global phenoms like The Weeknd but also artists like Anique Jordan, rappers like JustJohn, actor Lamar Johnson and TV creatives like Jabbari Weekes. The latter is a co-creator of the CBC Gem series Next Stop, which is exactly the kind of project that could be recognized at The Black Academy’s inaugural awards show.

“When you’re at risk, as they label it in the media, you’re at risk of being extraordinary,” says Anderson. “That’s what Scarborough breeds: extraordinary talent. I’m just really proud to be from that community. And I want to put the power into that community. Because when I grew up, Scarborough on the news always meant something bad.

“There’s a Scarborough in every place,” Anderson adds, reminding that the Black Academy is a national show that will be uplifting talent from the underrepresented communities across Canada. “This is coming from a place of love. And we hope it’s received with love.”

Watch our interview with Shamier Anderson discussing the Black Academy awards show in the video below.


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