Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dare to dream!!!

Thank you. 

My name is Ralph Leroy and I am an immigrant from Haiti. 
I feel so fortunate to accept this award tonight because it represents the strength of a passionate journey. A journey that reinforces the motto, Dare to Dream. As a black immigrant in the fashion industry, I quickly learned the importance of keeping your eye on the prize. The rejection, the criticism, the self-doubt are all part of the journey. Despite these challenges, I continue to push on as I recognize how many people have inspired me and depend on me in their own lives. 

Ralph Leroy
Black History Month is an important celebration. It is an opportunity for black people to serve as role models, take action and educate others about our culture on a global level. From Genesis until today, we are history, we have made history, and will always be a part of history. One of our many messages during this time is to dream and dream big for the sky is the limit. 

Ralph Leroy and Ms. Tré Armstrong
Dr. Martin Luther King, & Rosa Parks promoted equality and access for all. We need not take the back door, but use the front door. We have dignity, respect, and the opportunity to carve out a better path for the future. Embrace this path and live your best, fullest life.

To my fellow award recipients, we have a mission. A mission to inspire, create, and empower others to reach their dreams. We are all recipients of past support from our role models, we need to pay it forward and continue to do the same for others. We know that we can achieve whatever we set our mind to do, we have a black president in the United States, which we never thought would be possible, we had a black governor general in Canada, which we thought equally impossible. We are all equals in this society, I am doing my part to impact our society and I want you to believe that you can do the same and act on this belief. 
Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean and RL
 This award is bittersweet, I wish my mother were here to see me receive this honor but unfortunately, she passed away two months ago. I dedicate this to her, to my father, to my brothers and someone special in my life who’ve never given up on me, to my aunt for traveling from the states just to show me that she supports me in whatever I do. 

I dedicate this award to you as well, for believing in me and acknowledging my efforts. I am blessed to have such great people in my life and thankful to be able to share my life with all of you here as well. Thank you to the committee at the University of Ottawa and to all of you. 

Remember: keep your dreams high.

Ralph Leroy,
Ottawa, February 4th, 2012

Ralph Leroy and his aunt

Ralph Leroy and Natalie Théodore

Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, Mr. Jean Daniel Lafond and Ralph Leroy

Ms. Jessica Bowden and Ralph Leroy

Ralph Leroy and Actress/choreographer Ms. Tré Armstrong

credit photos: Terrence Manoo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family values within the glitter

Ralph Leroy
I’ve recently went to Ottawa for the weekend where I had the most wonderful experience with Ralph Leroy.  On one of the evenings we attended a lovely dinner in honor of his achievements. Once there, I met the designer’s family as well as Michaëlle Jean, the previous governor general, which turned out to be quite the event. 

Firstly, I must mention how deeply impressed I am by Leroy’s family values. Throughout the evening we sat at a table with his relatives where I saw the most heartfelt scene of a family so supportive of one another (and quite happy to celebrate this event with Leroy) that it rekindled and strengthened my love and gratitude for my own family. 

I could tell straight away that this guy was a family man which may have very well helped drive him to where he is today. Secondly, I am astounded by all of his accomplishments and fulfillment at such a young age as he is rapidly becoming one of Canada’s top designers. He inspires hope for all those who are struggling with their businesses or other ventures and makes you believe you can do the impossible. 

This weekend trip has had quite the impression on me and has left me mentally refreshed and invigorated as well as leaving me with the feeling that I myself can accomplish anything.

by Terrence Manoo

Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean and Ralph Leroy

Her Excellency the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, Mr. Jean Daniel Lafond and Ralph Leroy

Ralph Leroy and Actress/choreographer Ms. Tré Armstrong

Ralph Leroy and Gwennaelle Madiba

Terrence Manoo and Ralph Leroy
Terrence Manoo

credit photos: Terrence Manoo