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Speaker: Wes "Maestro" Williams

Barry KennedyAuthor / Actor / Speaker / Godfather of Canadian Hip Hop,

As one of Canada’s most successful and influential Hip Hop artists, Wes “Maestro” Williams was selected to be the guest speaker for the former Governor General of Canada’s Summit on Urban Arts when Her Excellency visited Vancouver, BC. Wes has received two Juno Awards and his albums have reached gold and platinum status. His signature song “Let Your Backbone Slide” remains the only Canadian Hip Hop single to ever go gold.

After establishing himself as one of Canada’s top musical artists, Wes decided to expand his resumé, took acting classes and pursued another artistic career. With each role his reputation grew stronger and stronger. 

He is one of Canada’s premier multi-media personalities. Already a Juno Award-winning recording artist and Gemini Award nominated actor, Wes is also the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Stick To Your Vision. Endorsed by the former Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, as a “plan for action”, the book shows individuals how to define their vision, how to achieve it, and what to do once they are there.

Wes has always been community-oriented and has made a serious impact on the country in many different capacities. He continues to support several charitable organizations such as War Child, Save The Children, Covenant House, Special Olympics, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), and The African AIDS Society.

Honours: Include, the Award of Merit by the Black Business Professionals Association (BBPA) for continuing contributions in the Black Community in Canada as well as the Canadian Music Industry (2010); induction into the Scarborough Walk of Fame (2006); inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (1st & 2nd editions, 2002 & 2006); UMAC Pioneer Award (1998 & 2002); Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Arts (Canada – NAACP); recipient of the Reel World Film Festival ‘Trailblazer Award’ (2003); UMAC Special Achievement Award winner (2002). Wes has also won two Juno Awards, four MuchMusic Video Awards (including People’s Choice) and has 12 Juno nominations. He is the first Canadian rap artist to go gold (album & single), recorded the first Canadian Hip Hop single to go gold, has a platinum selling album (Symphony in Effect), and was the first hip hop artist to perform at the Juno Awards (1991).

Favourite quote? “Re-examine all that you learned in school and church and dismiss everything that insults your soul.” – Walt Whitman


Topics: Diversity; Motivation and Inspiration; Personalities, Hosts and MCs; Teamwork and Leadership

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