Tracey Deer and TallBoyz II Men Talk Diversity at the Sandi Ross Awards

On November 12, 2021, the 2021 Sandi Ross Awards were presented on ACTRA Toronto’s YouTube channel. The Sandi Ross Awards celebrate one individual and one company/organization each year whose work demonstrates a commitment to inclusion on screen.

The individual award went to Beans writer-director Tracey Deer. Deer is a Mohawk writer, director, and showrunner with two decades of experience. Beans has won 14 awards and been nominated for 10 more. You can watch Beans on iTunes. Accepting the award, Deer said, “What we see on our screens is so important in indicating to society who matters and who has a voice….We all deserve space.”

The company award went to multi-award-winning sketch comedy troupe, Tallboyz II Men made up of ACTRA members Vance Banzo, Guled Abdi, Franco Nguyen and Tim Blair. You can watch Tallboyz on CBC Gem. The show has been nominated for five CSA awards and one DGC award. “We want to see more diversity in front and behind the camera…” said the Tallboyz, accepting the award. “We want diversity in post and pre-production, in hair and make-up, in your cereal box as a prize…”

During the one-hour video broadcast of the Sandi Ross awards (watch below), ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs Janet Rose Nguyen and Chattrisse Dolabaille hosted a discussion with the winners about pursuing a creative career, advice they would have given to their younger selves, how to advocate for more diversity and inclusion while integrating activism into art and what’s up next for all of them.