Keshia Chanté to host 2nd annual Legacy Awards honouring Black Canadian talent

The Legacy Awards, co-created by brothers Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, will return for a second year. This time, they will be hosted by R&B legend Keshia Chanté, organizers announced Wednesday.

Awards show, co-created by brothers Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, to air Sept. 24

Two men and a woman pose in front of a grey background. The woman is in the centre, wearing a red dress. The man on the left wears white pants and a white shirt while the man on the right wears blue.
From left, Shamier Anderson, Keshia Chanté and Stephan James pose in a promotional photo for the Legacy Awards. On Wednesday, organizers announced Chanté will host the 2023 Legacy Awards, which were created by Anderson and James to showcase Black Canadian talent. (O’shane Howard/CBC)

A year after putting on Canada's first-ever awards show dedicated to Black talent, the brothers and co-founders behind it announced the Legacy Awards will return for a second time. 

Toronto born actors Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, who created organizing body the Black Academy in 2020, shared that the ceremony honouring Black achievement in film, television, music, sports and culture will take place on Sunday, Sept. 24. 

While last year's event was hosted by Anderson and James themselves, this year the ceremonies will be led by Canadian musician and TV host Keshia Chanté.

The Ottawa-born, Toronto-raised Chanté started her music career at 13, before winning a Juno Award in 2005. Following five Canadian Urban Music Awards, two Canadian Radio Music Awards and six more Juno nominations, Chanté moved to host BET's 106 & Park alongside rapper Bow Wow in 2013, as well as host for ET Canada.

"We often think about her, just as far as being one of our influences, as somebody we watched a lot growing up. And now we feel like we've almost grown up with her," James said in an interview with CBC News.

WATCH | Inaugural Legacy Awards honour Black Canadian achievement: 

First-ever Legacy Awards honour best in Black Canadian talent

1 year ago
Duration 1:23
The inaugural Legacy Awards took place in Toronto, a first-of-its-kind event in Canada to showcase and honour Black talent in music, film and sport. The event featured performances from Jully Black and Deborah Cox, among others.

"We just figured what better way to continue the legacy of the Legacy Awards than, you know, to have somebody who embodies literally what this whole show is about."

Chanté said the opportunity to highlight Black talent in Canada, a resource that is often overlooked or only recognized in the company of international superstars, is the reason she came on board. 

"Building community and having community support you is huge. I now have a 20-year career in this business because of Canadians that have supported Canadians," she said. 

"We deserve to be celebrated … and this is celebrating Black excellence at its highest level. The Legacy Awards truly does that."

The awards are in the second year of a three-year contract with CBC. Last year's ceremony saw performances by Kardinal Offishall, Deborah Cox and an ensemble rendition of Andra Day's Rise Up by Melanie Fiona, Sate, Jully Black, Fefe Dobson and Alicia Mighty.

Sportscaster Kayla Grey, Haitian Canadian filmmaker Fabienne Colas, reality-TV star Ika Wong and Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse received awards. 

Growing ceremony

Anderson and James said this year will be a slight departure, as plans continue to develop in the months ahead. 

"We have some incredible acts, confirmed recipients, honourees, presenters," Anderson said. "It's a beautiful work in progress and it's great to see it evolve."

While it will follow a similar structure to the first event, the brothers said handing the reins off to Chanté means even they are in the dark about how it will exactly shape up. 

"You can only imagine that with Keshia Chanté hosting this show that there's going to be some surprises and she's going to pull some tricks out of her sleeves," James said. 

Honourees will be revealed in the coming weeks, alongside yet-to-be-announced performers, they said.

Chanté said she was excited for the opportunity of "encouraging other women, and adding some glitz, glamour, some humour — maybe harassing the boys."

"We'll see," she said, laughing. "But I'm excited to take it up a notch as much as I can."

The 90-minute special will be broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m ET, once again taking place at the music venue History in Toronto's east end.

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.

A banner of upturned fists, with the words 'Being Black in Canada'.


Jackson Weaver is a senior writer for CBC Entertainment News. You can reach him at jackson.weaver@cbc.ca, or follow him on Twitter at @jacksonwweaver