Deborah Cox will be the first African-American woman inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2022 JUNO Awards. (AP Photo)

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D.,

The internet is buzzing with news that Canadian songstress Deborah Cox will become the first Black woman inducted into Canada’s Music Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) announced award-winning recording artists and world-renowned Broadway, television, film and fashion icon, Deborah Cox will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2022 JUNO Awards. 

Cox will be the first Black woman to receive the national honor.

With a career spanning almost three decades, Cox has released six critically-acclaimed albums and has scaled the R&B and pop charts with six Top 20 Billboard Magazine R&B singles and thirteen number one hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Chart. To celebrate her induction during the 51st Annual JUNO Awards on May 15,  Cox will perform live from Toronto’s Budweiser Stage. The induction and performance are presented by longtime JUNO sponsor, TD Bank Group.

“I feel incredibly grateful to experience this true milestone moment,” the Soul Train award winner said. “Music has always been about community for me, and I am so thankful to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and CARAS for not only recognizing myself but my family, friends and loving fans who have supported me and helped make my dream possible for the past 25+ years.”

“As the first Black woman to become an inductee, I am honored to have the chance to show our younger generations that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to with hard work, dedication and passion,” said Cox. “I hope that my music can continue to bring peace, happiness and comfort to anyone who might need it, and empower people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves.”

Cox will join the ranks of Canadian music icons including Alanis Morisette, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Barenaked Ladies, Jann Arden, Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young, Oscar Peterson, RUSH, The Guess Who, The Tragically Hip, Sarah McLachlan and Shania Twain.

“Deborah is a multi-dimensional artist who has been entertaining and captivating audiences around the world for over 25 years,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO of the CARAS and the JUNO Awards. “Her resounding voice and powerful performances have made her an international icon; we are so privileged to celebrate her talent and can’t wait to see her inspire audiences this spring in her hometown of Toronto.”

Born in Toronto, Cox grew up in a musical household and showed an early interest in music with influences including Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Whitney Houston, whom she calls her truest inspiration. She began performing professionally and recorded television commercials at the age of 12, and entered various talent shows in her teenage years before becoming a professional backup vocalist for Céline Dion.

In 1994, Cox was signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis, releasing her self-titled debut album the following year. Her second studio album, One Wish, was certified platinum in the United States and had two Number 1 singles “We Can’t Be Friends” and “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which became an instant hit and held the record for the longest-running Number 1 R&B single of all time. 

After 14 weeks at the top of the charts, Cox earned a Billboard Music Award nomination for R&B Single of the Year, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award nomination, and a Soul Train Award, a Lady of Soul Award and three JUNO Awards.

In addition to singing, Cox is known for her commitment to various social justice initiatives, including advocacy for LGBTQ2S+ rights, support for those living with HIV/AIDS and the fight for human rights and equality for all. Cox was honored with the Black Music Honors’ Entertainer Icon Award in 2020, in recognition of her 25 ground-breaking years in the music industry. In 2008, Cox received a star on Toronto’s Walk of Fame at the Scarborough Centre.

The 2022 JUNO Awards will be broadcast and streamed live across Canada, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen, and globally at and CBC Music’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.

This article was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

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