Olympic Medalist Andre De Grasse And Others To Receive Prestigious Excellence Awards This Saturday

In Writing (all kinds) on October 27, 2016 at 1:55 PM

Red Carpet Reception, 6.00 PM
Dinner & Awards, 7.00 PM
Tickets are $150 and $1500 for a table of 10 

The Excellence Awards program is the new brand name replacing the Planet Africa Awards initiative, which was established in 2004. Also, Excellence Magazine is now the new name for Planet Africa Magazine, which was inaugurated in 2005. The launch of Afroglobal Televison or AFRO TV, which showcases the best of Africa and the Diaspora on March 10th 2016, has triggered this paradigm shift and the awesome new brand identities.
“For over fourteen years, we have focused on the unity and success stories of people of African descent through Planet Africa. The spirit of excellence, which has always powered our progress, has emerged as a powerful global brand, starting off with the magazine and the awards,” says Moses A. Mawa, President & CEO of Silvertrust Media and Afroglobal Television. Time and resources are now being shifted to advance the Afroglobal brand as well.
Since 2004, the red carpet awards gala has honourned achievers and brought together people of African origin and others of goodwill, to celebrate leadership and excellence. Headliners and Keynote speakers have included, Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the King Centre and daughter of Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior; legendary South African singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka; and Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey.
Past recipients of the awards include Kevin Williams, President and Managing Director of General Motors Canada; Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate; Hon. Jean Augustine, Former Minister and Fairness Commissioner; Douglas Orane, Chairman of Grace Foods; Daniel Igali, Olympic Gold Medalist; Isaiah Washington, Hollywood Star; Majid Michel and Zach Orji, Nollywood Stars; among others.
Previous and present sponsors have included Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology, Chevrolet, TD Bank, Canadian Armed Forces, York Regional Police, Ethiopian Airlines, Dream Maker Realty, Sterling Dental, IntelliPharmaCeutics, FreshCo Supermarket, Mosaic Foods, Skye Bank, Bank of Montreal, Western Union, OMNI Television and MoneyGram International. Sponsorship opportunities still available.
The Excellence Awards and Magazine advance the Planet Africa mission of Celebrating Worldwide Achievements. The gala will be broadcast onAFRO TV, on Rogers Cable Channel 708, on Bell Fibe Channel 2472, on, an upcoming online platform similar to Netflix, among others. “Silvertrust Media, which was established in 1996, will continue to house our brands, namely Afroglobal, Excellence, Destiny, Diversity, Transformation, Discover and more, to help bring out the best of all humanity,” concludes Mr. Mawa.
Inquiries: Simi Ikotun   |   Tel: (416) 247-5777   |   (416) 650-6424

Martin Luther King Legacy Award
Minister of Education
Mitzie Hunter is the Minister of Education and represents Scarborough-Guildwood in the Ontario Legislature. She has served as the Associate Minister of Finance, responsible for pension reform. As the former CEO of the Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance, Hunter worked to solve some of the toughest social, economic and environmental challenges affecting the GTA.

She had also served as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Vice-President with Goodwill Industries and Regional Director at Bell Canada. Hunter understands the community and the power of working together.A lifelong city builder, she is passionate about unlocking Ontario’s potential by ensuring fair and inclusive access to employment and prosperity. From 2013 to 2014, she served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Minister Hunter has also served in various Parliamentary Committees, including Developmental Services, Government Agencies as well as Finance and Economic Affairs. Hunter and her family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica in 1975. She grew up in Scarborough, graduated from University Of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and recently completed her MBA from the Rotman School of Management. She receives the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.

Leadership Award
2015 President, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Samuel Óghale Oboh, is the 76th President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the first Canadian of African descent to lead the 109-year-old scientific organization. Born in Nigeria and licensed in Alberta, Canada and Texas, USA, Oboh worked in South Africa and Botswana before migrating with his family to Canada in 2003.

A passionate adherent to innovative design and excellence, Oboh is a principal at Canada’s leading design firm, Kasian. With an expansive career spanning over 24 years in both private and public sectors, he has worked on several projects, including the high profile Alberta Legislature Centre Redevelopment project, where he led the capturing of the spirit of Alberta’s most significant heritage site.An advocate for integrating practice with academia, he is a regular Studio Critic and Reviewer at the University of Calgary and has served as adjunct lecturer at various universities in South Africa, Nigeria and Canada, including University of Pretoria, University of Toronto and Carleton University in Ottawa.

A 2015 Honoree of the Australian Institute of Architects and recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Presidential Medal, Oboh combines practicing architecture with his diplomatic appointment as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Botswana in Western Canada. He was named one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture magazine. He receives the 2016 Leadership Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.

Rising Star Award
Olympic Medalist
Competing in his first Olympics in 2016, Andre De Grasse backed a silver medal in the 200m finals, behind Usain Bolt in Rio, Brazil. He ran a new personal best in the 100m final to capture a bronze medal as well.De Grasse went on to win his third medal of the games, anchoring the men’s 4x100m relay team to a bronze medal in a new national record time of 37.64.

Before the 2016 Olympics, De Grasse competed at the IAAF World Championships in 2015, tying for the bronze medal in the 100m race. This made him Canada’s first world medalist in the event since 1999. Today, he is considered the man to watch in Olympic glory, after the Usain Bolt years.Inthe 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, De Grasse swept the 100m and 200m events in a dramatic fashion. He had made headlines across Canada and the United States when he won the 100m and 200m in a span of 45 minutes at the NCAA Championships in June 2015.

Raised by Beverley De Grasse in Markham, young De Grasse would regularly volunteer alongside his brother Julian at a downtown youth recreation and community centre. Despite turning professional and signing a lucrative contract with Puma, he is committed to completing his studies at the University of Southern California in the USA, where he is pursuing a degree in Sociology. He receives the 2016 Rising Star Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Heritage Award
Actor, Lawyer & PR Consultant
Richard Mofe-Damijo, RMD as he is widely known and fondly referred to, is the biggest male actor to come out of Nigeria in particular and Africa as a whole. He has starred in well over 60 movies and TV Series locally and internationally. A creative fire-brand, RMD wrote for several prestigious Nigerian newspapers including Concorde and Guardian. In his early 30s he published Nigeria’s first all-gloss magazine for men, ‘MISTER’ which he sold for several millions at 33 years old. A man of many parts, RMD is a Writer, Lawyer, Creative Content Creator, Producer, Life-Coach, Public speaker, Master of ceremony amongst other talents.
In 2008, RMD was called to serve in government in his home state, Delta State, Nigeria, 1st as a Special Adviser to The Governor and subsequently as The Honorable Commissioner of Culture and Tourism.The fact that he was greatly missed by fans all over the world is clearly seen in the way he broke the internet when he returned to the scene and reactivated his social media accounts.
RMD has since his return to acting in the past year traveled the world starring in movies, TV commercials and representing Nigeria in the global scene of which the 007 SPYFIE, is one. Having endorsed many brands in the past, RMD is presently brand ambassador for Africa’s largest and fastest growing telecommunications network. RMD owns one of Nigeria’s foremost PR outfits White Water Limited which he still actively runs alongside his production company RMD Productions. RMD has received numerous prestigious awards and recognitions all over the world. Richard Mofe-Damijo has a Law degree from University of Lagos and was called to the Nigerian bar in 2007. RMD played a major role in “The Wedding Party” and “Okafor’s Law”, both screenings at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada.
Professional Achievement Award
Vice President, Royal Bank of Canada
Harriet Thornhill is a Vice President at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), where she leads the bank’s Contact Centres, including Telephone Banking, Direct Investing, eMail, Chat, Online Banking, Social Media and Remote Office teams. She oversees seven centres and 3,700 Banking Advisors as well as Investment Specialists.

Prior to her current role, Thornhill was the Head of Caribbean Markets Personal Banking at RBC. Her responsibility spanned across six strategic regional markets for 19 countries. She was one of the Caribbean Banking Operating Committee members responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of RBC Financial (Caribbean). She has an Executive MBA from the University of Athabasca.

In over 30 years at RBC, Thornhill has held senior roles in Marketing, Recruitment, Client Experience Strategy, Leadership Development and Sales Leadership. Her community involvement includes Charity Trust Leadership Cabinet, the RBC Greater Toronto Region Executive Champion for the Black Cultural Markets, and Chair of the Black Business Professionals and Association’s (BBPA) National Scholarship Fund. Thornhill was the 2014 Cabinet Chair for the Contact Centre, as part of RBC’s national employee giving campaign. She was a torchbearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and received the BBPA Women of Honour award in 2011. Thornhill and her husband Wayne live in Toronto, and have 3 children. She receives the 2016 Professional Achievement Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.

Global Impact Award
General Manager, Jamaica Stock Exchange
Marlene Street Forrest, is the General Manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and Director of its subsidiaries. In 2015, the Jamaica Stock Exchange had the best performance in the world.Street Forrest has a wealth of experience having worked in senior management positions at varying private and public sector organizations in Jamaica and overseas.

It is under her stewardship that the JSE became demutualized and the Caribbean Exchange Network, the US Denominated Market and the Junior Market were launched. She also spearheaded the Registrar Division of the Jamaica Central Depository (JCSD) when she served as General Manager for the subsidiary.A graduate of Titchfield High School in Portland, Street Forrest attended the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she read for a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Studies, and later gained her Masters in Business Administration at the Barry University in Florida, USA.

Street Forrest is a Justice of the Peace and serves as a Director for the Good Samaritan Inn, a Christian outreach aimed at uplifting the poor and marginalized. She is married to Franklin and has two daughters, Francia and Keena. She receives the 2016 Global Impact Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Visionary Award
Judge, Ontario Court Of Justice
Justice Donald F. McLeod was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice on October 2, 2014. He is a Founding Partner of The McLeod Group, Barristers and Solicitors. He has been an accomplished litigator for over a decade, with a keen interest in community and social justice issues. The McLeod Group had a well-known and respected reputation as one of the leading boutique criminal, administrative and human rights law firms in Toronto. In 2009, Justice McLeod was involved in the case of R v. Douse, a landmark case, which revolutionized the traditionally used racial vetting process to now take into consideration non-conscious racism. McLeod remains very active in the community as well as conducting seminars at various legal conferences and community functions.
Notable seminars have included a presentation with Paul Burstein to Federal Crowns with Madame Justice Feldman of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Provincial Judges Conference in London, Ontario; with respect to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; as well as a guest lecturer at Queen’s University Law School in Criminal Advocacy. Justice McLeod has provided legal commentary in high profile media programs including CBC Newsworld, The Hour, Metro Morning, CFRB 1010, CNN, Fox News, CTV Morning as well as TVO’s Studio Two on a variety of topics and community related issues. Together with other visionary leaders, he founded 100 Strong, to help turn African Canadian boys into men of significance. He receives the 2016 Visionary Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Science & Technology Award
Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Dr. Modupe Tunde-Byass is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Toronto. She graduated from University of Ibadan in Nigeria, and studied Obstetrics and Gynecology in the United Kingdom, becoming a Member and Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1994 and 2005 respectively. She trained in Fetal Medicine at the Harris Birthright center, King’s College Hospital, London. Dr. Tunde-Byass immigrated to Canada in 1998 and completed a residency program at the University of Toronto in 2004. She has worked at North York General Hospital since 2004, with special interest in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Early pregnancy complications and Medical Education.
Dr. Tunde-Byass completed and obtained a certificate in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. She was the Residency Program Coordinator in Obstetrics and Gynecology at North York General Hospital from 2006 to 2011. She is a member of the Maternal Newborn Advisory Committee, Provincial Council of Maternal and Child Health. Dr. Tunde-Byass has received numerous departmental, university and national teaching awards. In 2014, she was selected by the University of Toronto to receive the Carl Nimrod Award from the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada. She receives the 2016 Science & Technology Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award


UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Hannah Godefa is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the Founder of Pencil Mountain. Since the age of seven, Hannah has cultivated a desire for giving. Pencil Mountain has delivered half a million pencils to thousands of children in rural Ethiopia. A Canadian citizen of Ethiopian origin, Godefa has been recognized locally and internationally for her philanthropic work.

In January 2013, Godefa became a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) National Ambassador to Ethiopia. In October 2013, Hannah made a speech at the International Day of the Girl Child at the UNICEF Headquarters on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”. In 2013, Hannah moderated an event about education for girls. American pop music star Katy Perry and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake attended it at UNICEF in New York.

In 2014, she joined United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Co-Chair of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Advocacy Group, as well as other world leaders, to participate in an interactive discussion on “Investing in Girl Empowerment for MDG Acceleration,” in Davos, Switzerland. On July 7th 2014, Hannah made a speech at the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. She receives the 2016 Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.

Enterprise Award
Dentist & Entrepreneur
Dr. Pierre-Michel Smith is a dentist and a highly successful entrepreneur. Born in Jeremie, Haiti, Dr. Smith is a big proponent of continuing education. He graduated in dentistry from the University of Port au Prince in Haiti. In 1975, the government of Quebec gave the green light to teach dentists denturism, officially recognizing the profession, Dr. Pierre-Michel Smith was one of the first to train students in CEGEP Édouard-Montpetit in Longueuil, Quebec in Canada. To satisfy his large Francophone clientele, Pierre-Michel Smith has three dental offices in North Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale in the USA, as well as in Montreal, Canada.
Dr. Smith is still and is always registered as a student at the university where he studied traditional medicine. Dade County Dental Society honoured him for exceptional service to the community. In 1996, he received a Fellowship in the General Academy Dentistry in the USA. In Quebec, he has he been a college professor and was one of the regular dentists for the City of Montreal. He worked from James Bay to the Lower North Shore and has long had an office in Lachine and Sherbrooke. Dr. Smith has lived in Quebec for over 25 years and in Florida for fifteen years. He constantly shuttles between Canada and the USA. He receives the 2016 Enterprise Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Marcus Garvey Memorial Award
Professor & Activist
Dr. Akua Benjamin joined Ryerson University as an instructor in Continuing Education, teaching Intercultural Communication. In 1988, she was hired as a Community Practice Instructor in the School of Social Work, becoming the first African Canadian faculty member in the school. She enabled the shaping of the anti-oppression, social justice, and social transformation orientation. In 2003, she became the first African Canadian Director at Ryerson University. Dr. Benjamin began her formal social work career after graduating from the University of Toronto in the 1980’s. In 2003, she received her PhD in Sociology of Education and Equity Studies from Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Benjamin has been involved in numerous community groups and initiatives, advocating for change and challenging racist and discriminatory structures, policies, and practices. She has worked with organizations like Black Action Defence Committee, National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and Congress of Black Women. Dr. Benjamin’s efforts have been recognized with multiple awards from community groups, the City of Toronto, Ryerson University and the YWCA, including the Constance E. Hamilton Award. In addition, she was one of nine Canadian women nominated in a group of 1000 women across the globe for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. She receives the 2016 Marcus Garvey Memorial Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Media Award
Film & Television Director
David Sudz Sutherland is a film as well as TV writer and director. His drama series ‘Shoot the Messenger,’ co-created with his wife, writer and producer Jennifer Holness, premiered on October 10, 2016 on CBC Television. Sutherland’s feature film, Home Again, won the prestigious PAFF/BAFTA Festival Choice Award in Los Angeles. His film Love, Sex and Eating the Bones won multiple awards, including Best First Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). He co-wrote and directed the dramatic miniseries Guns for CBC. Guns won five Gemini Awards, including Best Writing and Directing. He also wrote and directed the triple Gemini TV movie, Doomstown, and directed The Phantoms, which won an International Emmy Kids Award.
Sutherland also won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Direction for The Phantoms TV movie and a Director’s Guild of Canada Best Direction nomination. He has directed episodes of television dramas, including CBC’s Cracked, Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland and Wild Roses, as well as Syfy Network’s Haven, CW’s Reign, Beauty and the Beast. He directed the pilot and the second episode of Da Kink In My Hair for Global, Degrassi: The Next Generation for CTV, The Famous Jett Jackson for Disney, as well as Drop The Beat for CBC. Sutherland lives in Toronto with his wife, three daughters and a small fluffy white dog named Shiloh. He receives the 2016 Media Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Development Award
Founder, Victorious Living
Pastor Lynette Ferrier is the Founder of Victorious Living Women’s Group, which began in January 2013 in Toronto, Canada. Designed to liberate hurting women, the program takes women through practical teachings that enable them to discipline their spirits, souls and bodies. Pastor Lynette is a compassionate and bold visionary with keen sensitivity for women. An accomplished teacher, trainer and mentor, she attended Rhema Bible Training College in Oklahoma, USA, and graduated in 1999. Prior to moving to the United States, she worked in the airlines industry in Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean. A married mother of three, who are all serving in ministry, she has also worked as a grade three teacher in Tampa, Florida.
Lynette is Associate Pastor at Destiny & Dominion Word Ministries, where her eldest son Marcus Martinez is the Senior Pastor. Pastor Lynnette is also the Dean of Destiny and Dominion Bible Training Center. The Victorious Living fellowship, which is the subject of a documentary film by Silvertrust Media, Destiny Harvest and Afroglobal Television, deals with issues affecting women who have been subjected to abusive relationships, betrayal, prostitution and more. They are empowered to overcome and soar. This passion drives her to get women off the streets, even though she has been shot at while reaching out. Her dream is to build a home for women who have nowhere to go. She receives the 2016 Development Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Renaissance Award
Executive Director, Youth Bridge Foundation
Seth Oteng is the Founder and Executive Director of Youth Bridge Foundation and the African Youth and Governance Conference (AYGC) Initiative. A Graduate of International Management, Member of the Institute of Human Resource Practitioners and Fellow of the Boardroom Institute of Governance in Ghana, Oteng has great passion for youth and continues to develop responsive programs for positive development. Committed to the advancement of Africa, he founded the Youth Bridge Foundation in 2005 and the AYGC initiative, with a network of activities in over 40 African Countries as well as in the African Diaspora.
AYGC is the only Africa-wide platform that brings the youth of over 30 African countries together annually. It reflects on his recognition of the potential of the African youth to generate wealth using knowledge, skills and creativity for Africa’s development. Oteng’s focus is on advocating for youth engagement and positive participation in local, national, continental and global governance whilst on the other hand, empowering youth through varied initiatives for meaningful engagement and self-development. He has extensive international exposure acquired through residency, studies and professional engagement in Europe, the Americas and across Africa. He receives the 2016 Renaissance Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Entertainment Award
Singer, Songwriter & Actress
Liberty Silver was the first Black woman in Canada to receive a Juno Award in 1985, and has received 3 Junos in her career. She is also a Grammy Award winner as well, she rose from the basement mini-concerts as a young girl to opening up for Bob Marley at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Silver has performed before US President Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof and Mikhail Gorbachev. She has shared the stage with B.B. King, Celine Dion, The Temptations, Brian McKnight, Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight.
Liberty Silver collaborated with various artists for the humanitarian track “Tears are not Enough”, which generated over 16 million dollars for the 1985 Ethiopian Famine Relief and was nominated for over six Grammys. Silver won 7 consecutive weeks on Star Search and in the mid-1980’s, 5 Black Music Awards; a Bob Marley Memorial Award, a Marty’s People’s Choice Award, and 3 Genie nominations for acting. She co-hosted the World Basketball Championship ceremony with TV Star Alan Thicke, hosted her own TV series “Centre Stage Chronicles”, co-wrote and performed the official Olympic theme for the 1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens Olympic games. She receives the 2016 Entertainment Award, presented by Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.

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