Black music trailblazer Denise Jones to posthumously receive the 2022 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award
The award will be presented at the JUNO Opening Night Awards Presented by Ontario Creates on May 14, streaming on CBC Gem and cbcmusic.ca/junos The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) today announced that Denise Jones, one of the most influential voices in Canada’s Black entertainment community, will be posthumously awarded the 2022 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award as part of this year’s annual JUNO Awards festivities. Jones, who passed away in December 2020, spent a lifetime championing Afro-Caribbean culture in Canada and around the world through her company Jones & Jones Productions. She also established the internationally renowned JAMBANA™ One World Festival and was the founding Chair of the Reggae Category for the JUNO Awards.The Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award recognizes individuals whose work has significantly impacted the growth and development of the Canadian music industry. Named after legendary Canadian publisher and co-founder of the JUNO Awards, the award will be presented at the JUNO Opening Night Awards Presented by Ontario Creates on Saturday, May 14, streamed live on CBC Gem and globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.
Having passed away in December 2020 after being diagnosed with brain cancer, Denise Jones leaves behind an incredible legacy of supporting Afro-Caribbean culture in Canada and worldwide. Throughout her career, Jones received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban Music Association of Canada, the Bob Marley Memorial Award for her work in entertainment, a Government of Ontario Community Service Award, a Ministry of Citizenship Ontario Government Award, an African Canadian Achievement Award and a Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Entertainment. She was also named one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women in 2018.
“Growing up around my mother’s presence made me believe that things are possible. I saw her achieving and realizing, every single day. I am forever grateful for that, because I think that’s the most important thing you can give somebody, hope and belief in themselves. Mom did this for us at home and as she passed away, I also came to realize she was doing that for a lot of other people, too. She created a pathway for myself and many others in this country to follow and we’re committed to keeping that energy, that fire and legacy alive for generations to come,” said Jesse Jones.
“Denise Jones will forever be an important and respected figure in the Canadian entertainment industry,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards. “She leaves behind an inspiring legacy and we are honoured to recognize her devotion to championing Black culture and artists throughout her career.”
Denise Jones, Photo Credit: Kevin Jones Photography
Jones emigrated to Canada from Portland, Jamaica in the 1980s before earning her BA in Communications and Theatre from the University of Windsor. She went on to serve as a theatre critic/arts reporter for CBC Radio in Sudbury and then as an Executive Director for the Peel Multicultural Council, where she later resided. Jones’ roots in entertainment, along with her passion for championing underrepresented art-forms and artists, inspired her to create Jones & Jones Productions with her husband Allan Jones in 1987. Jones & Jones is widely known as one of Canada’s premiere marketing and entertainment companies, lifting and amplifying Afro-Caribbean communities nationally and abroad while helping organizations and institutions authentically connect with the ever-changing cultural landscapes around them.
Jones’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is unmatched. Throughout her career, she made great strides influencing politicians, business leaders and media to acknowledge and value Black creators, entertainment, and particularly Reggae music, in all forms. Among her many accomplishments, Jones established the second largest Afrocentric cultural event in Canada, JAMBANA™ One World Festival, which, at its height, drew over 45,000 attendees. It was named one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals in 2015.
Jones held the roles of Vice President, Marketing and Vice President, Education for the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners, where she taught large scale event production. She also went on to teach Concert and Festival Management at Ryerson University, a course within the school’s Creative Industries program. Jones’ renowned accomplishments have been recognized far and wide, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling her “an incredible advocate for Caribbean arts and culture [who] contributed so much to our country.”
The 51st Annual JUNO Awards and JUNO Week will be hosted in Toronto from Monday, May 9 through Sunday May 15, culminating in The JUNO Awards Broadcast, produced by Insight Productions, at Budweiser Stage, live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen, and globally on CBCMusic.ca/junos.
Exclusive Broadcast and Content Partner:
CARAS acknowledges the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada, and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters.
Premier Sponsor: TD Bank Group
Lead Sponsors: SiriusXM Canada, TikTok and Sonos
Funding Partners: The Province of Ontario, The City of Toronto and Radio Starmaker Fund
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) is a not-for-profit organization created to preserve and enhance the Canadian music industry and promote higher artistic and industry standards. CARAS’ mandate is comprised of four key pillars: Educate through our music education charity, MusiCounts, programs and initiatives, Develop emerging artists through mentorship and development programs, Celebrate Canadian artists with year-round JUNO Awards showcasing, and Honour music industry icons through the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2021 The JUNO Awards celebrated its 50th Anniversary, with a national celebration of Canadian music. For more information on the JUNO Awards or The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) please visit www.junoawards.ca.
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