Canadian recording artist and actor Drake is the recipient of the second Allan Slaight Award presented to a young Canadian making a positive impact in music, film, literature, visual or performing arts, sports, innovation or philanthropy.
The award and a $10,000 honorarium will be presented to the 2010 double Juno-Award winner at Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards later this year.
“At 24 years of age, Drake has already achieved what has taken others a lifetime to do,” said Canada’s Walk of Fame founding director Peter Soumalias. “He is kind, smart, talented, philanthropic and driven. He’s an inspiring example to all and we are proud to recognize him this year as our young Canadian making a positive impact.”
Slaight, who was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1997, has been a leading figure in the national broadcasting industry for the past five decades.
“Drake is a true Canadian ambassador who continues to prove that with hard work, dreams can become reality,” said Gary Slaight who, a decade ago, succeeded his father as president and chief executive officer of Slaight Communications.
The six-time Grammy Award nominee said he’s proud to be Canadian and grateful to Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Slaight Foundation for the award.
He’s donating his honorarium to Dixon Hall, an east downtown Toronto multi-agency that offers a wide range of supportive programs and services to its diverse community members in Regent Park, West Donlands and Moss Park.
The 2010 Best New Artist and Rap Recording of the Year Juno winner plans to release his second album, Take Care, on October 24. His debut album, Thank Me Later, released in June 2010, received rave reviews. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 447,000 copies in the United States in the first week.
Ten years ago, Drake made his acting debut, playing the role of Jimmy Brooks in DeGrassi: The Next Generation. He appeared in 138 episodes before his role in the show concluded two years ago.
He released his first mixed tape in 2006 and a year later became the first unsigned Canadian rapper to have his music video featured on Black Entertainment Television (BET) when his first single, Replacement Girl, was featured as the “New Joint of the Day” on April 30, 2007.
Drake is only the second artist to have his first two top 10 hits in the same week, following fellow Canadian Nelly Furtado who entered the top 10 in 2001 with I’m Like a Bird the same week as Missy Elliott’s Get Ur Freak On, a remix of which included a credited contribution from Furtado.
Established in 1998, Canada’s Walk of Fame has 131 members including the late Harry Jerome, the only athlete to hold the 100-yard and 100-metre world records simultaneously, and retired baseball pitcher Ferguson Jenkins who led the National League with 24 wins and 30 complete games in 325 innings in 1971 when he became the first Chicago Cub to win a Cy Young award.
They both entered Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001.