Shel-K and Orishaof Orisha Sound inperformance at the2019 staging of theInternational Reggaeand World MusicAwards (IRAWMA) atthe Jamaica PegasusHotel in Kingston.(Photos: Observer file)

THERE will be no International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) this year.

The directors of the popular award show, which would have celebrated its 40th staging, have taken the decision to defer this year's staging until next year due to the current uncertainty in the local events arena due to the pandemic.

Dr Ephraim Martin, head of the Martin's International, which organises IRAWMA, told a press conference on Tuesday that that current state of the novel coronavirus in Jamaica forced his organisation to take a decision and postpone the event.

“We had things planned for May 1 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of IRAWMA in Kingston. Our directors and advisors have decided to advance it to May 7, 2023. All reservations will be honoured. Right now, in Jamaica, the virus is not looking any better so we saw it best to postpone until 2023. This event usually attracts a number of overseas guests and we want to make sure that it is safe for everyone to enjoy. We want to make sure that travelling is safe and that there is no chance of contracting the virus,” said Martin.

He further noted that as a result of the postponement of this year's awards, special accommodations will be made during next year's event.

“Regarding the nominations, since there will be no awards this year, the event in 2023 will award the best of two years — 2021 and 2022. So the works released from January 2021 to December 2022 will be eligible based on the criteria. So we are looking forward to a grand event next year as we celebrate the 40th staging of IRAWMA,” Martin added.

Meanwhile, marketing and sponsorship executive with responsibility for IRAWMA in the Caribbean, Marcia McDonnough, told the press conference that the postponement of the event should not be seen as a disappointment but rather an opportunity to get everything in place for the 2023 staging.

“This added time gives us a chance to do a lot more. The 40th anniversary of this event is significant and so to have been planning it for this year in an atmosphere of uncertainty was just not feasible. It was, therefore, a lot more sensible to postpone and plan for a 40th anniversary event when we can be sure that we can stage a live and virtual event, doing it right and paying tribute to our entertainers in a proper way.

“We will be using the time to explore a lot more opportunities, including our revamped website, which will be launched shortly, social media promotions and giveaways and a lot more,” McDonough continued.

Last year's presentation was staged virtually and saw winners including Buju Banton, Koffee, and Popcaan with three wins each. Chronixx and Tarrus Riley tied for the Jacob Miller Best Male Vocalist award. Gramps Morgan received the award for Best Gospel Song. Best Female Deejay went to Shenseea; while the award for Best Dancehall Stage Craft Entertainer was shared by veteran deejays Beenie Man and Bounty Killer in recognition for their May 2020 appearance on the virtual performance series Verzuz.

Rita Marley (right), widow of Bob Marley, collecting the Emperorof Music Award for her late husband from Ephraim Martin,conceptualiser of the International Reggae and World MusicAwards. Looking on is Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia“Babsy” Grange.
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

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