'Trinity unbroken'

In harmony with the I-Three

Observer senior reporter

Thursday, March 07, 2019

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If there was a Jamaica Music Industry Association (JaRIA) Honour Award for best moment of Tuesday's ceremony, it would go to members of iconic reggae group the I-Three: Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley.

The audience inside Little Theatre in St Andrew rose to its feet in spontaneous applause when the show's co-hosts Coleen Douglas and Owen “Blacka” Ellis announced that the members would appear to accept the Icon Award. Then, one by one, they appeared; Mowatt leading, followed by Griffiths and the wheelchair-bound Marley.

They accepted framed citations and trophies from culture and entertainment minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange amidst a flurry of camera flashes. Mowatt remarked that it was the first time in many years that all three were sharing a stage and gave thanks for the moment.

“It has been a hard journey for us; we worked tirelessly. Pregnant, coming off tour and just going into hospital to have the baby. But here we are. We want to just thank JaRIA for presenting us with this award. It has been over 30-odd years but indeed today, in 2019, we are still being recognised and still being awarded. We give God thanks,” she said.

“This is a trinity unbroken,” Griffiths chimed in.

For Griffiths, it was a special moment, one which has not happened in over 15 years.

“It was so emotional for me. I wanted to say more on-stage but time would not have allowed for it. But I wish this moment was frozen in time so it is something I could cherish forever. There is such a special connection with Sister Rita, Sister Judy, and myself. It was no accident that we were brought together as the I-Three. It was ordained by the Almighty, [and] I am so grateful for that moment,” she told the Jamaica Observer following the ceremony.

Marley, whose speech is affected by the effects of a stroke, told the audience, “Thank you. I love you.”

During the ceremony, Koffee's Toast was named Song of The Year, while Naomi Cowan was named Breakthrough Artiste of The Year.

Principals of Saxon Sound System, based in England, made the trip to Jamaica for the event and were the night's first honorees. Along with Delano Thomas of Renaissance Disco, they were recognised in the area of sound systems.

Posthumous awards went to producers Harry “Harry J” Johnson, Lloyd Charmers and Winston Riley. They were collected by their children, Tara Johnson, Tricia Tyrell and Andre Riley, respectively, who thanked JaRIA and vowed to live up to the legacy of their fathers.

Studio engineers Delroy “Fatta” Pottinger and Noel Hearne were recognised in their field. Deejay Capleton and his manager Claudette Kemp received the Promoter Award for the annual charity event, A St Mary Mi Come From. Gospel act Sandra Brooks belted the refrain of the standard To God Be The Glory as she accepted her award. George Nooks was also recognised in this category.

The Gregory Isaacs Foundation Award went to Selector Jah Screw. Ruff Kutt received this year's Band Award while Donovan Germain was recognised for mentorship.

“Let writers write.” That was the declaration by songwriting honouree Tanya Stephens.

“I don't usually do awards shows, but I had to make an exception for this one because it is for songwriting. I am a slave to writing. I, therefore, invite the powers that be to allow writers to write. Let us writ. Can we just be allowed to do that?” she said.

This year's Lifetime Achievement Award went to ska legend Derrick Morgan. In a message through his granddaughter, Morgan used titles of his popular songs to communicate thanks and gratitude.

Veteran singer/producer Derrick Harriott offered a veritable history lesson on his years in the music business, while multiple Festival Song Contest winner Eric Donaldson was pleased that he is being remembered.

There were some no-shows. Journalist Anthony Miller, producer Dave Kelly, musician Lester Sterling and actress/singer Grace Jones.

The evening also saw performances from One Third, Warrior King, dBurnz and Mark Barton.

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