– The Black Academy’s award show to celebrate and uplift Black talent across the country –
– The Black Academy & Insight Productions to hire Black showrunner & crew –
TORONTO, January 28, 2021 – Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, Scarborough natives and co-founders of The Black Academy, alongside Shannon Farr and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions, today announced a partnership to produce a live award show honouring established and emerging Black talent. Brothers and actors Anderson and James are executive producing the national telecast, alongside John Brunton, Farr, and Cox from Canada’s preeminent award show production company. The telecast will feature award presentations, performances, and tributes, and will showcase Black talent from across Canada. In addition, The Black Academy and Insight announced a search for a Black showrunner and production crew, and a skills development programme. Interested applicants can submit their résumés to BlackAwardShowResumes@insighttv.com beginning today. The relationship between Anderson, James, and Insight Productions pre-dates the creation of The Black Academy to when they began co-developing a project in 2019.
The live telecast is one of several initiatives created by The Black Academy to break down barriers of discrimination and combat systemic racism. The award show stems from Anderson and James’ long-standing commitment to their community and an awareness of the lack of opportunities to showcase Black talent in Canada. Anderson and James continue to call on corporate Canada, government entities, and individuals to meet this challenge. The awards will celebrate both Anglophone and Francophone Black talent across film, television, music, sports, and culture. Award categories, juries, and the submission process will be announced at a later date.
“My brother and I are so blessed to collaborate with Insight on this show,” said Shamier Anderson, Co-Founder of The Black Academy, and executive producer. “Shannon and Lindsay’s expertise is unmatched in the industry and we’ve developed a genuine partnership with them over the last year or so cemented by their passion and personal investment. The result of that partnership is going to be Canada’s hottest, most inspirational celebration of Black talent. But as an NFP, we need the support of government and corporate partners across the country as we look to fill gaps in representation and opportunity for the next generation of Black talent.”
“In the Black community, we like to do things big, bold, and colourful – that’s what this show is going to be,” said Stephan James, Co-Founder of The Black Academy, and executive producer. “I think everyone will be truly amazed by what they see, but for those who aspire to work in this industry, the people behind the camera will be just as impressive and inspiring. And it’s important to note that the award show is only one piece of what The Black Academy is doing to uplift Black talent in this country. We’re also focused on mentorship and education programmes, and we’ll have more to share about those down the road.”
The Black Academy and Insight Productions are committed to hiring a Black crew and senior staff and to offering skills development for multiple positions in advance of pre-production. Résumés from those who have a particular passion for live events and award shows are now being accepted at BlackAwardShowResumes@insighttv.com. The skills development programme will have a separate submission process and will train select emerging behind-the-scenes creatives and crew in collaboration with a community partner and The Black Academy. Details on this programme to be announced in the coming weeks.
“Our goal to is work toward staffing the show with a Black crew, from PAs to producers to the showrunner, said Lindsay Cox, Senior Vice-President, Insight Productions, and executive producer. “The intent is that the key decision makers will be Black and whether it’s the creative positions or the technical ones, the audience will know there are Black faces behind the cameras too. We’ve already met with some incredibly talented candidates and are speaking with BIPOC organizations as well, and we want to connect with everyone in the community who has a real passion for this genre.”
“Lindsay and I and the entire Insight team are deeply honoured and proud to work on this project and to support the mission of The Black Academy,” said Shannon Farr, Vice President, Insight Productions, and executive producer. “Shamier and Stephan’s DNA is all over this show and this project is both a huge opportunity and a welcome learning curve for us.”
The Black Academy’s award show is executive produced by Shamier Anderson and Stephan James of The Black Academy. John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr are the executive producers for Insight Productions. Additional executive producers include Daniel Abrams and Norbert Abrams.
Shamier Anderson, Stephan James, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr discuss The Black Academy and the award show with moderator Kathleen Newman-Bremang at the CMPA’s Prime Time 2021 Online conference. Registered delegates can stream the panel at cmpa.ca/prime-time beginning February 2nd at 9 a.m.
Shamier Anderson – Co-Founder & Co-Chair, The Black Academy/Executive Producer
Shamier Anderson (Stowaway; Bruised; Invasion) is a Scarborough-born actor, producer, and writer and the president of Borough Bredd Productions. Anderson was named a TIFF Rising Star (2019) and recently sold his story, Super High, to New Line Cinema. Anderson will executive produce the film which stars Andy Samberg, Common, and Craig Robinson. In 2016, Anderson co-founded B.L.A.C.K with his brother Stephan James. Alongside his brother, he is the co-chair and co-founder of The Black Academy, a division of B.L.A.C.K, which aims to combat systemic racism while honouring, celebrating, and inspiring Black talent in Canada. Anderson was recently appointed to the Canadian Academy’s board of directors and is an ambassador for the Academy’s Equity & Inclusion Fund.
Stephan James – Co-Founder & Co-Chair, The Black Academy/Executive Producer
Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk; Homecoming; Race) is an Emmy®-, Golden Globe®-, and NAACP Image Award-nominated and Canadian Screen Award-winning Canadian actor from Scarborough, ON. James is the inaugural recipient of the CSAs’ Radius Award, given to a Canadian film or television professional who is making waves internationally, and a TIFF Rising Star (2015). In 2016, James co-founded B.L.A.C.K with his brother Shamier Anderson. Alongside his brother, he is the co-chair and co-founder of The Black Academy, a division of B.L.A.C.K, which aims to combat systemic racism while honouring, celebrating, and inspiring Black talent in Canada. James was recently appointed to the Canadian Academy’s board of directors and sits on the Academy’s Equity Committee.
Lindsay Cox – Senior Vice-President, Insight Productions/Executive Producer
One of Canada’s preeminent showrunners, Cox has overseen and produced 18 editions of The JUNO Awards, as well as The Canadian Screen Awards, Canada’s Walk of Fame, The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration (viewed by one in 3 Canadians), Stronger Together Tous Ensemble, Young Artists for Haiti, Music Without Borders, Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast, Canada’s New Year’s Eve Countdown, Battle of the Blades, and Every Child Matters: Education through Reconciliation, among others.
Shannon Farr – Vice President, Insight Productions/Executive Producer
Farr divides her time between Los Angeles and Toronto, and works in both scripted and unscripted. She oversees Insight’s U.S. office and drives the creation, development, financing, and production of original projects for multiple platforms in the U.S., Canadian, and international markets. Farr co-created and produced the prime-time drama Falcon Beach for ABC Family and Global Television, the comedy series The Jon Dore Television Show; and the award-winning comedy series But I’m Chris Jericho!, among others.