Woman time now?
Will Koffee break glass ceiling?Thursday, January 23, 2020
BY KEDIESHA PERRY
JUDY Mowatt, first Jamaican female to be nominated (individually) in the Best Reggae Album category at the Grammy Awards, believes it is only fair a woman should finally cop the coveted prize.
“I don't see why a female can't win. The music industry is male and female. If we're all in this together, I don't see why a sister can't win; just as how a brother can win. We work just as hard and we should be able to be given the recognition we deserve,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
Her statement comes ahead of Sunday's 62nd Grammy Awards to be held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Nineteen-year-old Koffee (given name Mickayla Simpson) is a strong favourite to become the first woman to win the Best Reggae Album category with Rapture.
Koffee has created history as the youngest Jamaican to be nominated in the category. Rapture is a joint release by Promised Land Recordings and Columbia Records.
Other nominations for Best Reggae Album are Mass Manipulation by Steel Pulse, As I Am by Julian Marley, The Final Battle: Sly & Robbie vs Roots Radics by Sly and Robbie and Roots Radics, and More Work to be Done by Third World.
When Mowatt was nominated in 1986 for Working Wonders, she said it was a groundbreaking moment for women in the music industry. To her, that meant much more than winning.
“Back then, women didn't get much recognition so when I saw that I was nominated I was really excited. It wasn't a selection made by Jamaican people; it was the Americans who recognised my talent and hard work. That nomination was for all the sisters in the business. It didn't really matter that I didn't win but had I won it would have been dedicated to all the hard-working women in the industry. I felt really elated and proud to have been the first woman from Jamaica in that category,” she said.
That year, Jimmy Cliff won with Cliff Hanger. Rita Marley, and Sister Carol have also been nominated for Best Reggae Grammy Awards, while Puma Jones and Cedella and Sharon Marley won as members of Black Uhuru and Melody Makers, respectively.
Mowatt was a member of the I-Three, the most influential female group in Jamaican music. The trio also comprised Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley, who provided harmonies for Bob Marley's performances and recordings from 1974 until 1980 when cancer ended his career. He died in May 1981.
Last year, the group received an Icon Award for outstanding contribution to reggae music at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Awards.
From Mowatt's perspective, Koffee will continue to make strides.
“I listen to her sometimes and I see where she has been making big waves. I am a stickler for original, creative music; and she is an excellent writer. I commend her greatly for that. She's a really talented girl who is going places,” she said.
Koffee is scheduled to perform April 10 and 17 at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California.
Later this year, she will be the opening act for label-mate and former One Direction member Harry Styles' tour.
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