Tony award winner picks up Princess Grace statue

Leslie Odom Jr won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role Aaron Burr in “Hamilton”. Photo: Facebook Leslie Odom Jr
Leslie Odom Jr won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role Aaron Burr in “Hamilton”. Photo: Facebook Leslie Odom Jr.

In the presence of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., actress Queen Latifah and choreographer Camille Brown were honoured at the annual Princess Grace Awards ceremony in New York City on Monday night for their work in the arts. The Princess Grace Foundation-USA regularly awards grants and scholarships to emerging talents in theatre, dance and film.

Mr Odom Jr., who won a Tony Award in June for his role in the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton”, and Brown, a choreographer and dance educator, received the 2016 Princess Grace Statue Award, named after the late American actress Grace Kelly who later became Princess Grace of Monaco.

Singer and actress Queen Latifah received the Prince Rainier III Award, named after the awards’ founder and late husband of Princess Grace.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Odom Jr. recalled the significance of standing alongside three other African-American artists who also won in the musical category at the Tony Awards a few months ago.

“So, if some little kid sees that image of us holding our Tony awards or holding our Princess Grace awards, it gives them the willingness to dream for themselves, then that is a beautiful thing,” he said.

In a recent interview with People magazine, Mr Odom Jr. said he had received a $25,000 grant from the Princess Grace Foundation in 2002 that allowed him to pay his college tuition bills. The programme for aiding emerging artists “was a huge help to my family and it changed my life”, he said.

The foundation has awarded over $11 million (€10 million) to more than 800 recipients since it started in 1982, after the death of Princess Grace.

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