by Sally Warburton

With an introduction by Prime Minister Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and then Mayor of Toronto John Tory, one of Toronto’s most anticipated award events got its start!  Over 1000 attendees including Government and Corporate Leaders, Community Members, Celebrity Supporters and BBPA Harry Jerome Alumni such as Jean Augustine were present. 

Saturday, April 17 was an evening to celebrate the BBPA (Black Business Professional Association) Harry Jerome Award winners. In its 39th Year the Harry Jerome Award is the most prestigious award in the Black Community in Canada. We’re missing our live gala events and this would’ve been spectacular in person, however the excitement of the evening celebrating and honouring the brightest and the best in the Black Community was a great success. Virtual events are here and most likely here to stay as an excellent alternative for those who can’t attend in the future…even when in person events start up again.

Who was Harry Jerome?  “Harry” Winston Jerome OC (1940 – 1982) was a Black Canadian track and field sprinter and physical education teacher. He won a bronze medal at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo and set a total of seven world records over the course of his career. Harry Jerome retired from international competition at the end of 1968 season, ending a career that included stints as the world’s fastest man in tying the 100 yards world record of 9.3 seconds in 1960. Two years later he lowered it to 9.2 in a memorable day at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium. Harry Jerome’s Statue is in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC.

We congratulate the 12 winners of the 2021 BBPA Harry Jerome Awards Edgar Jean-Francois (Business); Jamaal “Big Kat” Magloire of NBA Raptors’ fame.(Athletics); Taylor Lindsay-Noel (Young Entrepreneur) whose business Cup of Té @cupofte is listed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things; Al Ramsay (Professional Excellence); Velma Morgan (Community Service); Ransford C. Jones (Leadership); Patricia Bebia Mawa (Media); Ken Jeffers (Lifetime Achievement); Dennis Mitchell (President’s Award); Kathy McDonald (Diversity); Claudette McGowan (Technology) listed as one of the top 50 Most Influential 2020 in Toronto Life Magazine Dec 2020 @torontolife ; Dr. Joseph Smith (Decade Leader) @fdnblkcomm .

The 39th BBPH Annual Harry Jerome Awards Gala

started with a virtual VIP Cocktail Reception , Vendors online boutique, Virtual Photo Booth.

Then Dinner and Program with  Harry Jerome Awards given and entertainment including Barrington Levy with a Tribute to Essential Workers ….during this COVID-19 Pandemic 

Closing the 39th Harry Jerome Awards at the After Party with virtual dancing to DJ Kidkut’s fantastic music, attendees danced in their homes – together yet apart – having a great time with small kids and family dancing “together” via Zoom with other attendees and their families and adorable kids having fun dancing to great music by DJ Kidkut saying: Let’s get those cameras on !  So we can party together! 

Respect, honour, talent, business, future thinking, smart, hard-working and inspiring are the words of the evening. 

A wonderful evening.