BY: KRISTINA RAMCHARRAN
The 10 Inspirational Women and Queens Rising Awards brought together some of the Greater Toronto Area’s most powerful and influential women. Ranging from those who have contributed to the spiritual community, the business community, the education community and more, the women were all widely known for their great work to make way for better.
The event, which took place at the Gospel Café, kicked off with a fine Caribbean-style dinner and was then followed by a lineup of beautiful inspirational speeches. Of those included Minister Jackie Nugent speaking on the importance of keeping the family together.
Nugent said “we have to constantly remind ourselves we are beautiful, we are fearfully and wonderfully made,” in the introduction to her speech.
Held by Soulful Image Magazine, and its founder Tracey-Acadia Thomas, the event recognized women previously and those who will be featured in the future in or on the magazine cover. Thomas also contributed to some of the hosting duties of the night, as well as took to the stage for a singing performance.
The event was organized in part by Lady Di, who also seized the mic to make an important speech and spread the message of women having strength. She outlined her struggles with motherhood and relationships and how she decided to overcome those obstacles and find her purpose in life.
Another inspirational woman who captured the attention of all was Elizabeth Correia. Correia spoke about various life experiences, from foster care to abusive relationships and also self-care. On the topic of self-care, Correia highlighted the point “your body is a temple,” and exemplified this through her own experience with learning to eat healthier.
The fun filled night also included raffle prizes and a professional photo booth for guests to take pictures. The raffle proceeds were collected to support The BeYoutiful Project, a project that was created to help women in socially and economically with their struggles.
Moving towards the end of the night, it was finally time to announce the nominees and winner for the Queens Rising Together awards. Of the list of award winners, Toronto Caribbean’s very own Trish Browning received an award for her outstanding excellence in the community.
Other notable women in the community included Marcia Brown for her work with the Trust 15 program, Leila Springer for her work with the Olive Branch of Hope, and Cheryl Nembhard for her work in bringing together Toronto life and the arts.
Both the nominees and award winners were invited up to the front to collect their certificates or award statues. Soulful Image Magazine also chose ten women from the awards recipients to be cover girls of upcoming issues of the magazine.
The event featured multiple vendors on either side of the room, with women selling items to fellow women in the community, showing the uplifting support the women in the community have for each other.
Of the vendors, there were women selling jewelry, hair accessories, makeup for women with ethnic skin tones, books or memoirs, wax diffusers and event tickets.
The night ended off with a big bang as the attendees were treated to a performance by international award-winning recording artist Simone Denny, of the popular euro dance band Love Inc.
Denny was also the recipient of a Queens Rising Together award at the ceremony. She performed the number one hit “You’re a Superstar” and brought everyone to their feet as they grooved to the music. Denny, a Toronto native, is known for her powerhouse vocals.
Soulful Image magazine plans to hold more events to recognize women this year, including a Mother’s Day event.