JIS News

The American Foundation of the University West Indies (AFUWI) has named Suzanne de Passe, co-chair of de Passe Jones Entertainment, as the first woman to receive its prestigious AFUWI Bob Marley Award.

Ms. de Passe will be bestowed the honour when the American Foundation holds its 14th Annual Legacy Awards Gala on Wednesday, January 26, in New York City.

An annual event to raise funds for scholarship at the University of the West Indies (UWI), the AFUWI Legacy Awards Gala is the Foundation’s premier fundraising event in the United States.

The Bob Marley Award recognises individuals whose contribution to the advancement of arts and culture transcends boundaries of race, colour, creed and geography, and unite people in a spirit that embodies the essence of the music and lyrics of the late Reggae Star, Robert Nesta Marley.

There are three other award categories: Caribbean Luminary, The Vice Chancellor's Achievement Award and The AFUWI Special 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.

Suzanne de Passe began her career with Motown, discovering the Jackson 5, Lionel Richie and the Commodores, among the label’s numerous top artistes.

Along with her business partner, Madison Jones, she teamed up with Steven Spielberg to produce the definitive motion picture on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for DreamWorks.

Her illustrious career has included an Academy Award Nomination for co-writing “Lady Sings the Blues”, 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 shows have included “The NAACP Image Awards”, “The Essence Awards” and six seasons of “Showtime at the Apollo”.

The recipient of numerous trade and civic awards, Ms. de Passe said she is “honoured” to receive the Bob Marley Legacy 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.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Dr. Harry Belafonte will again serve as Honorary Patron, and Paula Madison, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer at NBC Universal serves as 2011 Dinner Chair.