BDN Interviews Sunshine Awards Founder Gil Figaro

BDN Interviews Sunshine Awards Founder Gil Figaro


The SUNSHINE Awards will usher in its 27th annual event October 3, 2015 at the AXA Equitable Center , NYC. Founded and produced by Gilman Theophilus Figaro (Sr.), this Caribbean institution is endorsed by the (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the organization that produces the Grammy Awards, and the United Nations. The New York Carib News regards the initiative as a “cultural bridge from the Caribbean to the world for the 21st century.” Big Drum Nation sat down with Mr. Figaro on the eve of this weekend’s event.


Gil Figaro and Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Uganda Patrick Edwards at a previous Sunshine Awards

Big Drum Nation (BDN): The Sunshine Award recognizes individuals and groups for ___________?

Gil Figaro (GF): The SUNSHINE Awards was founded 27 years ago to recognize excellence in the performing arts, humanity, education, science and sports of the various Caribbean countries.  Over the years, the program has expanded in depth and breadth with a global view including countries from Africa, Europe, South America, Central America and India.

A special feature of the program is the SUNSHINE Awards Hall of Fame. In addition, “The Friend of the Arts” Award is given to individuals who have made substantial contributions and demonstrated a commitment to the various art forms of the aforementioned regions.  The SUNSHINE Awards “Corporate Award” is presented annually to an organization for its involvement and social commitment to any of the various regions and/or their American communities.

BDN: Are we at all indebted to the so-called “makers of our culture?” 

GF: We should always recognize those who contribute to culture and those who perpetuate cultural heritage. Cultural heritage speaks volumes of a people. Very often we tend to forget those who build highways – with so many lanes – for us. That’s why the SUNSHINE Awards was founded – so we don’t forget those who brought us this far………….

BDN: Are women sufficiently recognized as “culture makers?”

GF: There is no doubt that women are the true culture makers.  Reflect on our grandmothers – can you imagine what our world would be if our grandmothers did not preserve it for us? And they preserved it with it rich culture – spiritual and otherwise. I vote for recognizing women more for their contribution to culture.

BDN: Finally, Can you give us a peek into this year’s event?

GF: This year’s event will be a great one – educational and entertaining. There will be performances from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, India and South America.

Stay Tuned for the List of Awardees, Friday, October 02.

Sunshine Awards

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