Diamond IRAWMA awards for Freddie McGregor, Jacob Miller
Freddie McGregor and Jacob Miller, two of reggae’s most influential singers, will be recipients of Diamond Awards at this year’s International Reggae And World Music Awards (IRAWMA) scheduled for March 22 at Lauderhill Performing Arts Center in Lauderhill, South Florida.
Both artistes started their careers in the 1960s at Studio One as protégés of producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.
McGregor is best known for hits such as Big Ship, Push Come to Shove, Bobby Babylon, and Prophecy.
Miller died in a motor vehicle accident in Kingston, Jamaica, on March 23 1980 at age 27. The former lead singer of the Inner Circle Band, his hit singles include Keep on Knocking; Forward Ever, Backward Never; Standing Firm; and Disciplined Child.
Ephraim Martin, who founded the IRAWMA 42 years ago in Chicago, said he was scheduled to meet Miller on the day of his death.
“We planned to meet at the Zinc Fence Theatre, but he wasn’t there, so I left a message that, because I was going to another assignment, I would be back. Then he came and said he would be back, he was going to buy sugar cane. So I went back to work and [indicated I] would be back shortly thereafter. But while I was at my desk at
The Gleaner my editor called and said I’ve got to rush to Half-Way-Tree because Jacob Miller is dead. I couldn’t move; I thought it was a joke. I said, ‘This can’t be!’ ” Martin recalled.
Martin gave details of this IRAWMA’s 41st staging at the launch event on January 25 at Chateau Mar Golf Resort Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
He disclosed that several notable individuals — including broadcaster Clinton Lindsay, singer Glen Washington, Chris Chin of VP Records, and deejays Papa San and Mr Vegas — will also be acknowledged for outstanding contribution to the reggae industry.
Artiste Teejay, who scored a major hit single in 2023 with Drift, is among three artistes with seven nominations. The others are Sean Paul and Masicka.
Teejay is nominated for the Peter Tosh Award for Recording Artist of the Year, Gregory Isaacs Award for Best Song, Best Crossover Song (with Davido), U-Roy Award for Best Male Dancehall/DJ Rapper, Onstage TV Award for Best Dancehall Stagecraft Entertainer, Dancehall Performer of the Year, and Best Collaborated Song (reggae with R&B, rap, Latin, etc).
Byron Messia, Popcaan, and Burna Boy have five nominations each. His Talibans was another big dancehall hit embraced by major artistes like Drake and Burna Boy.
The IRAWMA judges nominated him in the following categories: Gregory Isaacs Award for Best Song, Best Crossover Song, Best New Entertainer, Best Collaborated Song (reggae with R&B, rap, Latin, etc), and Best Music Video (Talibans II).
This year will see awards handed out in 40 categories with several named for outstanding reggae acts, among them Toots Hibbert Award for Best Album/CD, Mutabaruka Award for Best Poet/Spoken Word Entertainer, Bunny Wailer Award for Most Cultural/Educational Entertainer, and Dennis Brown Award for Most Promising Entertainer.
Five acts have been selected for Florida Entertainer of The Year (Local – reggae/world music). They are Causion, Code Red Band, Sons Of Mystro, Visions Band, and Yosefus.
Voting to determine the 2024 winners will be carried out online.