The awards showcase the excellence and resilience of Black Canadians and inspire future generations to reach their full potential. Here are three notable recipients with some truly remarkable accomplishments.
Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Charles ‘Spider’ Jones
Charles "Spider" Jones is an award-winning Canadian journalist, author, and former amateur boxer. This year, he was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Black Business Professional’s Harry Jerome Awards.
Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Jones spent some time living in Detroit. He is a former three-time Golden Glove Champion, inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996. In addition, Jones was once voted "Boxing Commentator and M.C. of the Year" by the Board of Governors of the World Boxing Federation. Jones previously hosted a radio talk show in Toronto, and in 2020, he received the Order of Ontario.
Jones has interviewed notables such as Muhammad Ali, Mark Wahlberg, Jesse Jackson, LL Cool J, Ron Howard, Scott Grimes, Doug Gilmour, Cito Gaston, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones, Kris Kristofferson, James Brown, Guy Lafleur, Carlos Delgado, Jim Brown and countless others.
Jones is also a motivational speaker as people are enamoured by his story of coming from impoverished and gang-riddled inner-city projects to being as wildly successful as he is today. He dropped out of school as a child, but Jones returned to become an honours student at age 30.
“It’s so nice to be acknowledged by the community that you have worked in, especially when you have a passion for what you do,” says Jones on receiving his award. “Winning a Harry Jerome Award shows that my community, our community, acknowledges the work we put in to empower our youth.”
Media Award Winner: Andria Case
Andria Case joined CTV News Toronto in 1997 as a general assignment video journalist. Today, she anchors the station’s weekend newscasts and continues to contribute to weekday newscasts with regular reports from across the city.
Andria, born in England to Jamaican parents, has become CTV News Toronto’s go-to arts and entertainment Reporter. She has conducted interviews on red carpets at events ranging from TIFF to The JUNO Awards and has interviewed international celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, and Sting.
"There's a reason why this award weighs so much," says Andria on winning the award. "It's the weight of what we've survived. It's the weight of what we face. It's the weight of being in this industry and succeeding. I'm feeling good right now."
Andria feels there is no longer an excuse to exclude Black storytellers and their stories. "There is no excuse. You've got a phone. You don't even need a microphone to attach to the phone. You do not need a studio. You do not need lighting. There's no excuse for anyone who wants to tell a story. Now they have the power in their hands, and if it's a compelling story, others will hear it."
Young Entrepreneur Winner: Agunbiade Seun Richards
Originally from Nigeria, Agunbiade Seun Richards is a social entrepreneur, researcher, and community servant. He started his career in accounting and actuarial science before transitioning to technology sales for Fortune 500 companies. In 2019, Agunbiade pursued his passion for creating solutions for global communities through education and entrepreneurship.
Agunbiade has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including recognition as an emerging innovator and business personality of the year. He founded Door 2 Door, a pickup and delivery service in the St. John region of New Brunswick, after working for Skip the Dishes while acquiring a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick. Door 2 Door delivers all kinds of items to anyone using the service.
On winning the Harry Jerome Young Entrepreneur Award, Agunbiade says, “To be recognized among such a talented and accomplished group of individuals and organizations is humbling and inspiring.”
He adds, “I give glory to God for His blessings of being a Black entrepreneur. I am also grateful to the BBPA and the selection committee for choosing me for this prestigious award. As a young entrepreneur, it means a lot to me to be acknowledged for my hard work, dedication, and passion.”