Beenie Man deserves National Award, say industry insiders
Last month, the iconic “King of the Dancehall,” Beenie Man, celebrated the release of his 17th studio album, marking a significant milestone in his four-decade-long musical journey. However, in a recent interview, the multi-talented entertainer, who recently turned 50, revealed a surprising fact: despite his global acclaim and numerous accolades, he has never received a national honour in Jamaica, apart from a Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in music.
This revelation left many fans and supporters shocked, as they wholeheartedly believe that the artiste deserves national recognition. Those who tuned in to the interview on YouTube passionately filled the comment section with compelling reasons why the beloved “Sim Simma” artiste should be bestowed with a prestigious national award.
Some emphasised that Beenie Man has dedicated the majority of his life to building Jamaica’s musical legacy, while others asserted that his invaluable contributions make him an undisputed musical ambassador deserving of the highest honour.
“When you think about it, Beenie Man is one of our greatest artistes, bar none. He has carried the music a far way worldwide and represented well for Jamaica – as much as any of the Marleys dem,” said artiste manager Heavy D.
“Beenie Man is to dancehall, what the Marleys are to reggae. Beenie Man reach every corner of the world with the music and still going. Only when him do something extraordinary people remember fi talk about him (like the Verzuz battle with him and Bounty) but really and truly Beenie deserve it,” Heavy D told OBSERVER ONLINE
Positing that less deserving people have been bestowed national accolades, Heavy D shared that while he isn’t making comparisons, Beenie Man has created a musical legacy that is enviable and could only be accomplished by a distinct few.
“Mi see dem gi whole heap a people weh mi not even know weh dem do, trust me. Everybody have dem value and everybody do dem thing but fi dancehall music and our culture worldwide, Beenie Man is so great and deserves it. He’s one of the best and always will be. The country needs to recognise it before it is too late, honestly.”
Popular producer Breadback shed light on Beenie Man’s remarkable journey, emphasising that the “Girls Dem Sugar” entertainer has been a prominent figure on the local music scene since the tender age of seven. Breadback pointed out that there are very few child prodigies, both locally and internationally, who have managed to sustain their careers for as long as Beenie Man has.
“Beenie Man a do dis from him a seven. The man just turn 50, so a 43 years dat di man a do music,” he said. “The government needs to pay attention to dem thing yah because its the artistes who go out and a put Jamaica on the map. Like how yuh have Usain Bolt dem who go out and win and di government glorify dem, dem need fi glorify the artiste dem too. Honour dem too. Don’t wait till a man gone yah go honour him. Give him his flowers now. Beenie Man is a great performer. Beenie loves music and him have a different passion. Where there’s dancehall, yuh affi say Beenie. Check the crossover hits dem,” Breadback said.
Veteran producer Gussie Clarke shared similar sentiments, asserting that Beenie Man is indeed deserving of a national honour. He believes, however, that the award might not have been bestowed upon the artiste due to a specific nomination and selection process rather than any oversight by the government.
“A lot of times, these awards are given based on a particular process. It’s similar to the Grammy Awards in that you must first be nominated to even be considered. I agree that Beenie Man is more than deserving of a national honour based on his immense contribution to music, more deserving than many. The man is a cultural ambassador,” Clarke told OBSERVER ONLINE.
“Beenie Man is an icon and he has carried the Jamaican flag. He’s loved and respected all over the world for the work that he has done. But, I personally would not blame the Government (for him not being honoured). We have to understand that this is a process and so he has to be nominated for consideration. Someone from his team can recognise that he’s deserving and nominate him. It needs to first be brought to the attention of the selection committee for consideration. It is not a right or entitlement, it is a consideration when put to the correct bodies or entities.”
The Jamaican Honours and Awards System – The National Honours and Awards Act -was promulgated on the 18th of July 1969 to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service. Its decorations and Awards recognise bravery, meritorious, long and/or valuable service, and/or good conduct.
Nominations usually open in January and are closed by the end of March. Said nominations are submitted to a committee along with a biography or profile of the individual being offered for consideration with all the reasons why they deserve a national honour.
The Civil Honours and Awards are conferred by The Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Thirteen individuals are nominated in the fields of music, arts and culture for 2023. In entertainment, the honourees are Marcia Griffiths, Owen Gray, Tarrus Riley and Wayne Marshall.