The 9th Annual Diversity and Planet Africa Awards gala, held on Saturday, October 27that the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Canada, was a tremendous success. The evening commenced with an exclusive, sold out VIP dinner, catered by celebrity chef Selwyn Richards, followed by the awards ceremony, world class entertainment.
International recording artist & four-time Juno and Much Music Video Award winner KardinalOffishall hosted the awards ceremony, while the VIP dinner was hosted by comedian Jay Martin and Sam Sarpong hosted the After Party. Top notch performances were rendered by renowned dance troop Ballet Creole; a powerful tribute to Whitney Houston by Patricia Shirley and a groovy showcase by Ghana’s Hiplife duo Ruff N Smooth.
“We are pleased with the tremendous interest that the Diversity and Planet Africa Awards program has generated. According to statistics regarding the Planet Africa Group website, there were 160,236 hits in October so far, an increase of about 20,000 hits from last year,” says Patricia Bebia Mawa, President & Editorial Director of Planet Africa Group. “On the day of the awards, we had 21,200 hits,” she says.
This year’s Planet Africa Award recipients include Senator Don Meredith; National Bank Managing Director Ray Williams; Hollywood Actress Vivica A. Fox; Dream Maker Corporation CEO Isaac Olowolafe; Grace Foods Chairman Douglas Orane; Black Health Alliance President Dr. Christopher Morgan; Nathaniel Dett Chorale Founder Brainerd Blyden-Taylor; Professor Grace-Edward Galabuzi; Olympian Shelly Ann Brown; Actors Majid Michel and Zack Orji; Bell Canada Associate Director Frances Delsol; student Geoffrey Kasonde; BBPA President Pauline Christian; Scientist Dr. Abraham Katampe and youth advocate Rev. Alvin Nicholson.
Recipients of the Diversity Awards include RBC Royal Bank President Jennifer Tory; Senator Anne Cools, Markham City Mayor Frank Scarpitti; Toronto Police Deputy Chief Peter Sloly; Businessman and Philanthropist HarpreetSethi and Humanitarian Belinda Stronach. At the gala, Dr. Julius Garvey, a physician and son of the historic leader Marcus Garvey, received the African Legend Award in honour of his father’s legacy. The honour for Lawyer and Civil Rights Activist Charles Roach, was received on behalf of his family by June Roach.
“Guests at the awards got a close-up look at the award-winning Chevrolet Cruze and the versatile Chevrolet Equinox, which were on display with product specialists giving out information on the vehicles, made available by Chevrolet, a presenting sponsor,” says Ms. Mawa. “Ethiopian Airlines, also a Presenting Sponsor, had a booth with information about how the airline is making an impact on the aviation industry, as it now flies direct from Toronto to Africa,” she says.
Other sponsors include Ayo and Tayo Alabi of Jodal Healthcare, OMNI Television, Kingsley Jesuorobo& Associates, York Regional Police Service, G98.7 FM, The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, First Fridays, Moneygram, Lewis Law Professional Corporation, Mosaic Foods and Ontario Black History Society. Youth sponsors include PricewaterHouseCoopers, TD Bank Financial Group, Canadian Association of Nigerian Physicians and Dentists (CANPAD) and Rexdale Community Health Centre.
Guests departed with gift bags staffed with the new issue of Planet Africa Magazine and the premiere edition of Diversity Magazine, which carries profiles of recipients, other inspiring stories, sponsor advertising and other elements. Planet Africa Magazine will hit national and international newsstands on November 12th 2012, while Diversity magazine will be available in the Blue Boxes, transit systems and other avenues across the GTA on November 4th 2012.
Rogers Communications is set to air the awards show in a one-hour special telecast on November 10th from 5 to 6 pm on its OMNI 1 channel.