Entertainers get their applause
Members of the entertainment fraternity receive national awardsTuesday, October 22, 2019
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Sustained cheers and applause rang out inside the presentation pavilion on the lawns of King's House yesterday, for members of the entertainment fraternity who were being recognised with national honours and awards.
The annual event attracted its fair share of awardees from the arts and their presence certainly helped to lift the entertainment value of the occasion, as the audience congratulated their favourites from the world of music, theatre, and dance, who were numbered among the more than 200 recipients.
The cheers grew significantly louder by the time the fifth award of the morning was being presented. Recording artiste, member of the vocal trio The I-Three, and widow of reggae king Bob Marley, Rita Marley set off a round of applause and whistles when she was presented with the Order of Jamaica for her contribution to the popularisation of Jamaican music and, by extension Brand Jamaica on the world stage, and for humanitarian work through the foundation she established.
Marley, who was wheelchair-bound, waved as she acknowledged the audience after receiving her award.
The cheers continued for noted music producer Gussie Clarke; Grammy-winning artiste Sean Paul; and curator of the Jamaica Music Museum and historian Herbie Miller who all received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander.
Clarke was humbled by the gesture.
“I feel wonderful. It's a big deal...a really big deal. This is something I knew was coming, it was just a question of when. In all honesty these things I don't really live for, but while living I am glad to have gotten it. There are only two things left in my life. One is to make sure Jamaica is the most copyright compliant country in the word; and then win the lotto in America then retire.”
Miller too was humbled at receiving a national award.
“It is humbling... it feels as though I received this on behalf of all of the little people who made big contributions. I just seem to have been a mouth piece for them,”
It was more of the same for Sean Paul.
“I am definitely so proud and honoured. One day in the future I will share a video of this with my children and I will definitely let them know how much this day meant to me. My little niece who is six years old today told me congratulations because she heard I'm getting a prize, but I have a few years to go before my kids recognise what this day truly meant to me,” said Sean Paul.
Perhaps the loudest cheer of the morning went to stage, television and film actor Glen “Titus” Campbell. He added a comical moment to the proceedings when he shuffled towards Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to receive the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD). Once he was invested, Campbell made a smart, almost military turn to exit the stage, much to the amusement and cheers of the audience.
“It's an awesome feeling. I mean the award is one thing, but when I went on stage and heard the place erupt with the love of the Jamaican people, I really couldn't ask for more,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Among the others who received the OD were renowned musician Desi Jones; founding members of Inner Circle band brothers Roger and Ian Lewis; music producer and promoter Patrick Roberts; and dancer and choreographer Tony Wilson.
“The feeling is always great when you are honoured in your own country, especially when you are honoured when you are still alive. From ever since we have done this for the love and not for the likes or the rewards, but at the same time we have to just continue doing the work. And to the youths out there have to understand that hard work is the key,” Roberts shared.
A posthumous award was also presented to former lead singer of the Inner Circle Band and solo artiste Jacob Miller. His popular tracks include Tenement Yard and Chapter a Day. The promising musician's life was cut short in a motor vehicle accident in March of 1980. Miller was only 27 years old. His award was accepted by his son Taki.
“I want to say this is the closing chapter. It's a recognition that I believe is well deserved and overdue. But also special as it is coming from the Government and people of Jamaica. I was five years old when my father passed away, but my personal memory of him is hanging out with him on his motorcycles,” Miller noted.
Stephen Marley was one of the performers at the ceremony and offered one of the special touches to the morning when he delivered an acoustic version of his mother's hit Harambe. She was clearly moved by the gesture and despite health challenges she nodded and mouthed the lyrics. Saxophonist Dean Frazer also entertained with a stirring rendition of Jimmy Cliff's Many Rivers to Cross.