The second edition of the Dynastie Gala was held in Montreal Saturday night, with many celebrities gracing the black carpet.
The awards show — which kicked off Black History Month celebrations — aims to highlight the accomplishments of Quebec’s black community in various fields including business, arts and culture, sports and media.
Special awards were given out to Doudou Boicel, who is the man behind Montreal’s first international jazz festival, which was created back in 1978, and Wilson Sanon, who was recognized for his philanthropic endeavours.
Sanon is the president of the Sickle Cell Anemia Association of Quebec, where he deals with all the operational tasks of the association and offers financial, moral and psychological support to families affected by the disease, on top of holding a full-time position at the Laval School Board.
Global News’ own Phil Carpenter and Elysia Bryan Baynes were both finalists in the Anglophone TV Personality category.
Fabienne Colas, whose foundation helps give a voice and a platform to artists, was a presenter at Saturday’s event.
Colas said the gala is a cause for celebration.
“It’s important to recognize people who are doing great things in their field,” she said.
“It’s important to be acknowledged, it’s important to be celebrated and unfortunately we don’t have much celebration going on for people of colour in this country, this province.”
According to Colas, events such as Dynastie are empowering.
“This is a way for people that are black to be proud and to share,” she said, adding that it was also about discovery.
“It’s a way for people who are not black to come and discover all those talents,” she continued, “people that they knew about, and some that they didn’t know about.”
Dr. Myrna Lashley, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at McGill University, agreed there was a need for recognition.
“I want to make sure our people are highlighted,” she said. “I want people to recognize that we are more than sports players, more than musicians. We contribute to every aspect of Quebec and Montreal life, so that’s very important.”
Lashley however deplored the fact that recognition often seems to be limited to Black History Month.
“I wish people would just come see us for who we are, not just see us in the month of February.”