Books·My Life in Books

Shamier Anderson & Stephan James, hosts of The Legacy Awards, share the books they loved reading

The Black Academy co-founders and actors host The Legacy Awards, the first nationally-televised award show to celebrate Black Canadian talent. It airs nationwide on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

The Legacy Awards air this Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC TV and CBC Gem

Shamier Anderson, left, and Stephan James are co-founders of The Black Academy and hosts of The Legacy Awards. (O'shane Howard and Andile Mthembu/CBC)

The inaugural edition of The Black Academy's award show, The Legacy Awards, is the first nationally televised award show to celebrate and honour Black Canadian talent.

Hosted by Canadian actors and Black Academy co-founders Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, the event will feature performances by many of Canada's most notable Black music artists including Jully Black, Deborah Cox, Kardinal Offishall and more. 

Award recipients are decided upon by The Legacy Awards' advisory committee, comprised of industry specialists in music, film, TV and pop culture.

The Legacy Awards will be broadcast nationwide on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET (9 p.m. AT/9:30 p.m. NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

The brainchild of Anderson and James, The Black Academy is an organization that recognizes and fosters Black Canadian talent in various industries. In an interview with CBC Books, the Toronto-raised brothers noted the organization's gala event is all about showcasing success and excellence by emerging and established Black Canadians.

"For myself and Shamier, as two young Black men who yearned for these kinds of things when we were growing up, to be able to be the ones creating it and having other people benefit from it is such a big deal for us. So we're incredibly humbled and honoured to have it take place," said James.

"But I've always kind of seen success as something outside of myself like something bigger than myself. What can I do to impact other people's spark?" 

"Success for [us] is something that is always evolving, every day. Honestly, I just keep the blinders on, keep looking forward and doing what I do," added Anderson.

Both are huge fans of books and storytelling, adding that literature has played a key role in their success as actors and industry professionals.

"I think we were fans of stories in any medium. Reading was always important to us. Understanding characters helped grow our imaginations and fed into the artists that we are today," said James.

Below, James and Anderson share some of the books they've loved reading.

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

The Intelligent Investor is a book by Benjamin Graham. (Harper Business)

Shamier Anderson: Coming from Scarborough, Ont., understanding finances wasn't a topic of discussion growing up. It was about not having money as opposed to how to make money. And so this book, for me, was really eye-opening. 

"I'm a glutton for knowledge when it comes to financial literacy."

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Of Mice and Men, left, is a book by John Steinbeck. The Catcher in the Rye is a book by J. D. Salinger (Little, Brown and Company, Penguin Publishing Group)

Stephen James: I just love Of Mice and Men and The Catcher in the Rye. These are two books from my childhood that really resonated with me.

"I think they helped me expand my imagination as a young man."

Shamier Anderson and Stephen James's comments have been lightly edited for clarity.

Watch the trailer for The Legacy Awards

The Legacy Awards – Promo

3 months ago
Duration 0:30
Celebrate Black excellence in Canada by watching the inaugural Legacy Awards, airing on CBC TV and CBC Gem Sunday, September 25 @ 8 p.m. (9 p.m. AT/9:30 p.m. NT).

Five fists raise, each with different coloured skin, with the words "Being Black in Canada" next to them with a colourful border

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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