Deborah Cox said her recognition at this year’s Canada’s Walk of Fame gala event underscored the importance of representation, adding she hoped it would help inspire other Black musicians.
The Juno award-winning R&B singer was among the group of Canadians recognized at Saturday’s event for excellence in their respective fields, which include humanitarianism, entrepreneurship, sports, entertainment, and philanthropy. They will each receive stars in Toronto’s entertainment district.
“For me, growing up, it was really tough to find people that looked like me on the radio and on television,” the 48-year-old singer-songwriter said on the red carpet before she received her star on Saturday night.
“It’s a huge milestone, I couldn’t have dreamt for my journey to end in a better way.”
Songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis said they were touched to present Cox with her star in her hometown of Toronto.
“We were excited about accepting the privilege of presenting her star,” Jam said. “We’re inspired to write songs for her, she delivers the songs in a beautiful way.”
Eleven other influential names were inducted into the Walk of Fame at the gala, including Indigo founder Heather Reisman, comedy content creator Just for Laughs, and rock band The Tragically Hip.
The band was inducted Saturday in recognition of their humanitarian efforts.
“We’re happy to get noticed for taking those chances and opportunities,” said guitarist Paul Langlois. “It’s a bit humbling, it’s not something we look to celebrate.”
The gala also recognized the 2021 inductees R&B singer Jully Black, actor Graham Greene, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Ajay Virmani.
This year’s inductee Tatiana Maslany, whose work on “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” and “Orphan Black” has ushered her into esteemed company, said she’s honoured to be recognized at this point in her career. But it’s too early, the 37-year-old actor said, to think about her legacy.
“It’s surreal to be recognized,” she said. “I’m so young. It seems nuts to think about my legacy.”
Maslany is currently working on a TV series for AMC titled “Invitation to a Bonfire. She described the project as a “dark and sexy” piece set in the 1930s.
Director Julien Christian Lutz, known as Director X, said it came as unexpected praise to be recognized with a star for his work behind the camera.
“It’s an honour,” said the 47-year-old filmmaker. “It makes me feel hopeful that our industry is going to recognize some of us that have always been on the outskirts of the game.”
Posthumous honours went to Canadian journalist Barbara Frum, acclaimed for her interviews for CBC, as well as Lionel Conacher, a Canadian athlete and politician.
Andre De Grasse, who presented Conacher’s family with the induction, said Conacher inspired him to become a better athlete.
“He’s definitely motivated me now to try to just keep going and keep striving for greatness,” the 28-year-old Olympic medalist said.
Canada’s Walk of Fame will air on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. on CTV.
Christian Collington, The Canadian Press