The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) has announced that Suzanne de Passe, Co-Chair of de Passe Jones Entertainment, will be the first woman to be awarded the prestigious AFUWI Bob Marley Award at the 14th Annual Legacy Awards Gala on January 26, 2011, in New York City. The AFUWI Legacy Awards Gala is a prestigious event held annually to raise funds to support scholarship program at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
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 late reggae legend.
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, de Passe, her business partner, Madison Jones, and Steven Spielberg are producing a DreamWorks motion picture on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
She has received 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; de Passe has won two Emmy Awards and her productions have earned over 30 Emmy nominations. She was executive producer for the sitcoms Sister Sister and Smart Guy for The WB Network.
Gala Chair Janet Rollé of BET Networks and AFUWI Board Chair Michael Flanigan said that they “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.”
In addition to the Bob Marley Award, there are three other award categories: Caribbean Luminary, The Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award and The AFUWI Special Award.
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.” 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.