The Ministry of Culture has spearheaded the annual Reggae Month celebrations, since 2008. With this intention, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) powers the execution of the Reggae Month activities. Throughout the month of February each year, it would appear that the world paused from all of her other work, to focus on Jamaica’s musical history and heritage, and the impact that reggae in all of its form has internationally.
Reggae Month is drawing to a close. But, not before executing the highly anticipated 2020 JaRIA Honour Awards. Accordingly, the event was held on February 25th at The Little Theatre. This annual honour award has paid tribute to the multiple players in the creative industry, including the unsung heroes, who typically carry out their craft behind the scene as they support the popularity of artists.
The Little Theatre was buzzing with an air of anticipation for what lay ahead for the evening. There would not be any disappointment, as, under the skilled guidance of the evening’s hosts Coleen Douglas and Debbie Bissoon, the evening took off on a high note (all puns intended).
Awardees & Tributes
As a result, jubilant celebrations were frequent during the presentations. Honours were presented to stalwarts in categories to sound systems, media personality, engineers, dance, fashion, promoter, producers, instrumentalists, songwriter, band, mentorship among other accomplished professionals.
Janice Fyffe, who is better known as Lady G, received the Iconic Artist in the Music Industry (female) award. One of her best-known hit songs is “Nuff Respect” on the Anchor Records label. Lady G’s first hit is “Round Table Talk” with Papa San. Of course, she has amassed many other famous selections over her career. Therefore, when Lady G took the stage, the room rose with resounding cheer and applause. Consequently, Lady G expressed gratitude in her acceptance speech.
Shabba Ranks, born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon and Garnet Silk copped the Iconic Artists in the Music Industry. Unfortunately, Shabba was not in attendance to personally accept the award. However, standing in for their father, Garnet Silk’s daughters expressed gratitude for the posthumous honour.
There were other icons receiving honour during the evening’s gala. Notably, was one of Jamaica’s music sweetheart, Chevelle Franklyn, who won an Icon Award in the Gospel Category. During her response, she emphasised the significance of an honour by her ‘home’. Chevelle has contributed to the reggae music industry for over 30 years.
The Chalice Band, formed in 1980, has maintained global success, even with having several changes in band members over the years. In fact, Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson choreographed a dance ensemble in honour of the band as a compliment to their award.
Tribute to Bunny Wailer
In the same vein, JaRIA honoured veteran singer, songwriter and percussionist the Hon. Neville O’Riley Livingston “Bunny Wailer”, lovingly known as Don Dada. The Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange MP, CD made the presentation to Bunny Wailer. For this reason, a tribute performance followed the presentation, that included the JaRIA Orchestra, Jah Wiz, Kabaka and Asadenaki. The stellar performance raised the audience out of their seats with dancing and singing along to Bunny’s hit after hit tunes over several decades.
Certainly, this staging of the 2020 JaRIA Honor Awards is most likely the only stage that we would experience all of these greats.
Meanwhile, Mortimer, an upcoming artist, captured awards for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Song of the Year “Lightening”.
In conclusion, the 2020 JaRIA Honour Award is over. Consequently, we witnessed the lifework and talent of a few of Jamaica’s greatest artists celebrated in a classy affair. The audience had their fill, and we look toward honouring more of Jamaica’s creative greats next year.