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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Give Keynote Address at the Black Business and Professional Association’s (BBPA) Harry Jerome Awards

Toronto, Canada – April 20, 2017 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be the keynote speaker at the Black Business and Professional Association’s (BBPA) 2017 Harry Jerome Awards on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the International Centre in Mississauga. The Awards recognize the achievements of the African-Canadian community.

Accompanying the Prime Minister will be his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.

BBPA President, Pauline Christian said, “The Awards are a national celebration of excellence by African-Canadians who have done great work locally and abroad. It is an honour to have Prime Minister Trudeau and his wife celebrate our 35th anniversary with us and to have TD as our title sponsor. This is undoubtedly a significant milestone.”

The eagerly anticipated award ceremony, under the theme “Beyond Excellence”, features Juno Award-winning singer, Divine Brown who will headline the gala.

2016 Harry Jerome Media Award winner, Patricia Jaggernauth, Weather Specialist and Remote Reporter for Toronto’s Breaking News, CP24, will host this year’s event.

Juno Award-winning producer, Roderick Brereton and Andrea Bain from CBC’s The Goods will be the hosts for the red carpet event. The night’s festivities include a VIP reception, and Swag After Party with performances by the TD Dancers, Faith Chorale and ONQ Live Entertainment.

In addition, BBPA’s founder Denham Jolly’s new book, In the Black: My Life, will be featured at the event.

Established by the BBPA in memory of Harry Jerome, an African-Canadian Olympic gold medallist, social advocate and scholar, the Awards honour the accomplishments of the African-Canadian community in the areas of Academics, Arts, Athletics, Leadership, Business, Entertainment, Professional Excellence, Health Science, Technology and Innovation, Community Service, Lifetime Achievement, Diversity, Trailblazer, Social Advocacy, Volunteer, Public Advocacy, Youth Advancement, and the President’s Award.

The 2017 award recipients include:

  • Rev. Dr. Audley N. James (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Harriet Thornhill (Youth Advancement Award)
  • Dr. Everton Gooden (Trailblazer Award)
  • Keith Spence (Professional Excellence Award)
  • George Frempong (Business Award)
  • Isobel Granger (Public Advocacy Award)
  • Leanne Prendergast (Leadership Award)
  • Sharon Riley (Entertainment Award)
  • Gabrielle Fletcher (Academics Award)
  • Dr. Barbara Trieloff-Deane (Diversity Award)
  • Wesley J. Hall (President’s Award)
  • Chris Campbell (Volunteer Award)
  • Andre De Grasse (Athletics Award)
  • Ron Cunningham (Community Service Award)
  • Dr. Juliet M. Daniel (Technology and Innovation Award)
  • Cheryl Nembhard (Social Advocacy Award)
  • Fabienne Colas (Arts Award)
  • Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi (Health Sciences Award)

Four individuals will receive honorary mentions posthumously in recognition of their significant contributions to the community, namely:

  • Dr. Trevor Ian Robinson
  • Raphaelita Walker
  • Dr. David Bell
  • Dr. Inez Elliston

Tickets for the Harry Jerome Awards are $200 and may be purchased through Eventbrite.

About the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA)
Founded in 1983, the BBPA is a charitable organization whose mission is to advance Canada’s Black community by facilitating the delivery of programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education and economic development. The BBPA presents the Annual Harry Jerome Awards, the BBPA National Scholarships and the National Black Business and Professional Convention (NBBPC), alongside workshops and programs at the BBPA Centre of Excellence.

For more information and updates, visit the official BBPA Harry Jerome Awards website at, call 416-504-4097 or email The BBPA maintains an active social media presence on Facebook @thebbpa, Twitter @thebbpa

Media Contact:

BrandEQ Group
Nadine Spencer
416-281-1515 / 416-708-0521

Carl Edmonson
416-281-1515 or 647-717-3551

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