The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) is pleased to announce that Suzanne de Passe, Co-Chair of de Passe Jones Entertainment, will be the first female to be awarded the prestigious AFUWI Bob Marley Award at the 14th Annual Legacy Awards Gala on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 in New York City. The AFUWI Legacy Awards Gala is a prestigious annual event which seeks to raise well-needed funds to support scholarship programs at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and is its premier fundraising event in the United States.
The Bob Marley Award is a recognition granted to individuals whose contribution to the advancement of arts and culture transcends boundaries of race, color, creed and geographies, uniting people throughout the world in a spirit that embodies the essence of the music and lyrics of the Hon. Robert Nesta Marley, OM.
Suzanne de Passe began her career with Motown, discovering Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie and the Commodores, and numerous other multi-million selling artists. Currently, Suzanne along with her business partner, Madison Jones, are producing with Steven Spielberg, the definitive motion picture on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for DreamWorks. Suzanne’s illustrious career has included an Academy Award Nomination for co-writing “Lady Sings the Blues” and three Peabody Awards and a Golden Globe for the mini-series “Lonesome Dove”. She was Executive Producer for the sitcoms “Sister Sister” and “Smart Guy” for The WB Network. Other programs have included, “The NAACP Image Awards”, “The Essence Awards”, and six seasons of “Showtime at the Apollo”. She has won two Emmy Awards and her productions have earned over 30 Emmy nominations. She is the subject of two Harvard Business School Case Studies and received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Howard University. The recipient of numerous trade and civic awards, Ms. de Passe said she is “honored” to receive the Bob Marley Legacy Award.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Ms. de Passe for her trailblazing and groundbreaking achievements in entertainment. She certainly embodies the spirit in which the award was created, and she continues to provide a stellar image and example of the positive contribution the arts can make to our world”, said Gala Chair, Janet Rollé of BET Networks and AFUWI Board Chair Michael Flanigan.
The Legacy Awards are conferred on notable individuals who represent high levels of achievement within their respective fields of industry and enterprise. There are three other award categories: Caribbean Luminary, The Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award and The AFUWI Special Award.
President of Verizon Foundation Patrick Gaston will be the recipient of the AFUWI Special Award in recognition of his outstanding professional accomplishments, as well as his years of dedicated service and commitment to the mission of the AFUWI. Honorees in the Caribbean Luminary category include : Michelle Johnson, MD of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Ambassador Carlton Masters, Chief Executive Officer of GoodWorks International; Kaye Foster-Cheek of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and Yolanda Lezama-Clark, who will be accepting a posthumous award on behalf of her father Carlos Lezama, “The Father of Brooklyn’s Carnival.”
Longtime friend and mistress of ceremonies of past AFUWI galas since inception, Brenda Blackmon, co-anchor of My9 News, WWOR TV, along with international Jamaican artist Michael Escoffrey and Jeanine Liburd of BET Networks will receive the Vice Chancellor’s Award.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Dr. Harry Belafonte will again serve as Honorary Patron and Paula Madison, EVP & Chief Diversity Officer at NBC Universal serves as 2011 Dinner Chair.
Tickets for the benefit are available for purchase at a cost of $2,500, $1,000 and $500 per person. Purchases may be made at the AFUWI in New York City by calling 212-759-9345. Corporate packages are also available.