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– Final round of fan choice voting for digital content creators opens Friday, September 1 –

– Tickets on sale Wednesday at Ticketmaster

TORONTO, August 29, 2023 – Founders of The Black Academy, Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, alongside Insight Productions and CBC, today announced the first four recipients of the 2023 Legacy Awards: Canadian screen industry godmother Tonya Williams, legendary filmmaker Julien Christian Lutz (pka Director X), platinum-selling artist Jully Black, and rising star LU KALA. A limited number of tickets are available to the general public beginning tomorrow by visiting Ticketmaster; tickets start at $120. Multi-talented Keshia Chanté hosts the live 90-minute event, featuring performances, award presentations, and tributes honouring Black Canadian talent, from Live Nation Canada’s HISTORY in Toronto. Additional honourees, performers, and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks. The Legacy Awards will be available on CBC and CBC Gem on Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 8 p.m. (9 p.m. AT/9:30 p.m. NT).

“Honouring Jully, Tonya, X, and LU is a no brainer for The Legacy Awards,” said Shamier Anderson, co-founder of The Black Academy and executive producer of The Legacy Awards. “This year’s recipients all perfectly embody what we stand for: they epitomize Black excellence and are at the top of their game in their respective fields.”

“Our priority is to showcase Black talent and to share the remarkable achievements of our community with the entire country – especially young Canadians – so that they can be inspired by these exceptional role models,” said Stephan James, co-founder of The Black Academy and executive producer of The Legacy Awards.

Jully Black – 2023 Icon Award
For all her music and unforgettable live performances, her stamina and lasting popularity, and for her allyship and the impact she has made internationally, Jully Black will receive the Icon Award.

Jully Black is a platinum-selling and JUNO award-winning recording artist, Canada’s Walk of Fame inductee, motivational speaker, actress, entrepreneur, and fitness leader whose philanthropic work has taken her across North America and to villages from Bangladesh to South Africa. She has written songs for industry heavyweights including Nas and Destiny’s Child and performed alongside artists including Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Elton John, and Jessie Reyez. Her 360 health and wellness programs like ‘100 Strong and Sexy’ are a part of her ongoing mission to “help people love themselves a little bit more every day.”

LU KALA – 2023 Emerging Artist Award Recipient
For creating upbeat, infectious songs of female empowerment, her undeniable talent, and for all she will inevitably accomplish in the future, LU KALA will receive the Emerging Artist Award.

With a gift for writing striking pop tracks and memorable hooks, LU KALA is redefining what a pop star sounds and looks like. Between her debut EP Worthy, Pretty Girl Era, and additional singles, this fiery-voiced songstress has amassed more than 72 million streams. Pretty Girl Era spent 15 weeks in the top 15 of Top 40 radio in Canada peaking at #10 and has inspired more than 312K UGC videos. At the age of three, LU KALA’s family emigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Canada.

Julien Christian Lutz (pka Director X) – 2023 Trailblazer Award Recipient
For creating some of the most indelible music videos ever, for pioneering a visual aesthetic that is both lauded and much-copied, and for his enduring impact and mentorship, Julien Christian Lutz will receive the Trailblazer Award.

Julien Christian Lutz is one of the most iconic music video directors of all time, known for his work with Drake, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few. He is the creator, showrunner, and EP of the highly anticipated Robyn Hood, his first original TV series; directed cult-fave Superfly; and has created art installations for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and the Ontario Science Center. Lutz uses his platform for social change and founded Operation Prefrontal Cortex, an initiative created to reduce Toronto’s gun violence through mindfulness and meditation.

Tonya Williams – 2023 Visionary Award Recipient
For her exceptional leadership, contagious tenacity, innovation, activism, and fierce dedication to uplifting communities of colour, Tonya Williams will receive the Visionary Award.

Tonya Williams is an award-winning actress, activist, and producer who has worked in the entertainment industry for the last 48 years. She is best known for her 19 years starring on the daytime drama The Young & The Restless as Dr. Olivia Winters and her 23 years as the founder and executive director of Reelworld Screen Institute, Reelworld Film Festival, and Reelworld Foundation. Williams created Reelworld to increase opportunities, access, and inclusion for Black, Indigenous, Asian, and People of Colour in the screen industries in Canada. Born in London, England to Jamaican parents, Williams emigrated to Canada in 1970.

Voting for the Fan Choice Digital Content Creator Award opens on September 1. This award allows fans to choose their favourite Black-identifying Canadian digital content creators. The winner is announced during The Legacy Awards on Sunday, September 24. Visit for more details.

The Legacy Awards is executive produced by Shamier Anderson and Stephan James of The Black Academy and Bay Mills Studios. John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, and Shannon Farr are the executive producers for Insight Productions (a Boat Rocker company). Jordan Rudder is the producer/talent producer and André Williams is the line producer. Daniel Abrams also serves as EP. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content; and Nic Meloney is Executive in Charge of Production, Unscripted Content. The 2023 edition of The Legacy Awards marks the second of an exclusive three-year partnership with CBC.

The Black Academy, Insight Productions, and CBC are committed to hiring Black senior staff and crew members for The Legacy Awards.

The Black Academy gratefully acknowledges the financial support of our partners that support the year-round goals and programming initiatives of the organization.