In its first Tribute to Hollywood and the Arts, the Caribbean Heritage Organization (CHO), commemorating Caribbean-American Heritage Month, honored legendary television and film producer, Suzanne de Passe, Saturday, June 23, at the Museum of History in Los Angeles.
CHO presented de Passe the Legacy Award. In her speech to a crowd of approximately 200 friends, family, and special invited guests, she explained her Caribbean roots, second generation Jamaican, and Hollywood’s first perceptions.
She began by giving thanks to Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, and her mother for their inspiration. During her acknowledgements of special guests, veteran director and actor Tim Reid received heart-felt words of appreciation for his work and dedication to the popular television show Sister, Sister. Likewise, Tracey Edmonds, president and chief operating officer of Our Stories Films, was blessed with a verbal “passing of the baton” for her success in film and television.
de Passe also expressed sheer surprise and delight in receiving congratulations from longtime friend Sidney Poitier and Vanessa L. Williams, who played de Passe in The Jacksons: An American Dream television movie, in a pre-taped video message. Before closing her acceptance speech, she gave friend and event host Debbie Allen a special, hilarious thank you.
Currently, de Passe is the executive producer of the nationally syndicated weekly television program, It’s Showtime at the Apollo. She is also the executive producer of the critically acclaimed Black Movie Awards, a ninety-minute television special which first aired nationally on TNT in 2005 and was hosted by Tyler Perry in 2006.
Presently, chief executive officer of de Passe Entertainment, she began her career in entertainment at Motown Records as creative assistant to Gordy. Under his tutelage, she introduced the not-yet-famous Jackson 5 to Gordy and later executive produced the memorable television show Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever. The show featured an outstanding reunion performance of the group and Michael Jackson’s first televised moonwalk. Among her long list of awards and accomplishments are an Academy Award nomination for co-writing Lady Sings the Blues and two Emmy Awards for shows Motown 25 and Motown Returns to the Apollo, which also earned a NAACP Image Award. de Passe also earned 5 Emmy Award nominations for television mini-series Lonesome Dove, Small Sacrifices, “The Jacksons: An American Dream, Buffalo Girls and The Temptations.
As executive producer of the benchmark NBC mini-series, The Temptations, she also won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Mini-Series and was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award for Best Mini-Series.
Photo Credit: Super producer Tracey Edmonds poses on the blue carpet for Caribbean Heritage Organization Salute to Hollywood and the Arts gala honoring Suzanne de Passe.