Ephraim Martin celebrates 50
At the start of the year Martin’s International Founder and President Dr Ephraim Martin, a celebrated Jamaican-born photojournalist and show promoter, marked 50 years in media and entertainment.
St Thomas-born Martin decided to celebrate the event as his 50th anniversary show, supported by his friends and close associates who helped his spirited entrance into the American lifestyle concerts series like the Chicago Music Awards, the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life (IFOL), and the Jerk, Seafood and Vegan Fest (JSVFest).
He recalls that there are many achievements down the years he wishes to celebrate.
Martin told the Jamaica Observer that he intends to celebrate his golden anniversary at all of his 2024 events, starting with the 41-year-old International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) to be held on March 22, 2024 at Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida, which will be live @IRAWMA.COM.
Festivities will continue at the 31st African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, July 4 – 7, 2024, US Independence weekend, at Washington Park, Chicago, Illinois, @internationalfestivaloflife.com, where the 42nd Chicago Music Awards, will be combined on July 5 with the Festival of Life, @Chicagomusicawards.org.
The final golden anniversary celebration will be at the 8th annual JSVFest, September 7-8 @JSVFest.com.
Martin has had a storied career as a photojournalist starting on January 2, 1974 at the Gleaner Company. In August 1980, while covering the Democratic National Convention in New York, he was invited to a seminar in Chicago by the Black Media Inc where he received an award and met chicago daily defender publisher John Sengstacke and was asked to join the newspaper.
In 1981, bothered by the apartheid system in South Africa, as well as Nelson Mandela behind bars, he wanted to do something to help. He recalled that the late Bob Marley and Jacob Miller, on March 21, 1980, asked him to travel with them and to do more for the music and the struggle.
In late 1981, while performing at the Park West in Chicago, the late Peter Tosh requested Martin — who had never been on stage before — to introduce him. Martin bravely faced an excited crowd. Following the show, after outlining Martin’s plans for a reggae awards, Peter Tosh said: “I am in, and we will get others to support your objectives.”
Months later he received support from the R&B/gospel legend Pops Staples and the Staples singers, along with Dennis Brown, Yellowman, Freddie McGregor, Mutabaruka, G T Taylor, Judy Mowatt, and others. On May 1, 1982 (May Day) IRAWMA and the Chicago Music Awards were born with the aim to honour reggae and world music entertainers.
Some 11 years later, Martin established the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, and much later on JSVFest.