KINGSTON, Jamaica - Chairman of Martin’s International, the company that hosts the annual International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA), Ephraim Martin, says the late reggae star Peter Tosh (Winston McIntosh) will be honoured for his contribution to the legalisation of ganja (cannabis/marijuana) as a medicine, on Sunday night.
“He was arrested and jailed for his activities, but right now in the United States and many other countries around the world (they) are legalising marijuana, while the true people who are pushing for it are not recognising that Peter was also fighting for its recognition,” Martin told Wednesday’s launch of the IRAWMA event which takes place at the Jamaica Pegasus, New Kingston, on Sunday evening.
“On Sunday there will be a special award for Peter Tosh for his role in the legalisation of marijuana,” Martin confirmed.
He noted that there are some 135 nominees for various awards which will be presented to artistes and promoters/producers and the media for their contribution to the development of world music, including reggae and other forms from developing countries.
In addition to Tosh, special awards will be handed to VP Records’ Pat Chin for nurturing the Jamaican label which was started, along with her late husband, Vincent, in downtown Kingston and has tenaciously grown up under her wings; as well as Downsound Entertainment’s Joseph Bogdonavich and road manager Copeland Forbes, who is regarded as Jamaica's most prolific global tour and artiste manager and reggae historian.
Forbes, who has been rated as the man who single-handedly put Jamaica on more maps than most other Jamaican global music dignitaries since independence from Britain in 1962, will be presenting his new book, “Reggae My Life Is”, which explores his links with the industry over the years.
The book recalls some very interesting developments which followed the evolution of the Wailers as hometown acts, and the birth of Bob Marley and the Wailers which took the place of the original group and went on to become a huge success for another Jamaican music pioneer, Chris Blackwell, as well as the relationship between them.
This year, however, Martin's focus will be on the 32 annual awards which will be handed out on Sunday night at the Jamaica Pegasus, as well as the theme for this year’s IRAWMA “reggae Rise”.
Among the honorees will be Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia “Babsy " Grange, whom he described as an “untiring and devoted servant” with extraordinary contributions to survival of Jamaicans overseas, in the Diaspora and the overall development and growth of Jamaican music and culture.
Others include:Josef Bogdanovich, Head of Downsound Entertainment ; Usain Bolt; Copeland Forbes; Marcia Griffiths; Freddie McGregor; Beres Hammond; and Stone Love.
Martin thinks the event is going to be “a very wonderful one this weekend”. However, because of the size of the venue, there won’t be enough seats for everybody, but tickets will be available from irawma.com. The red carpet event has entertained people in several cities throughout the United States of America, Latin America and the Caribbean. It has been hosted by Martin's International for the past 39 consecutive years, and is one of the longest running award events of its kind.
It is hosted annually in May to acknowledge and honour the accomplishments and contributions of entertainers in various categories of reggae and world music. The star-studded 40th anniversary of IRAWMA aims at “bringing nations together through music and culture”, and the theme of “Reggae Rise”, is set for a grand festivity on Sunday night at the Pegasus in New Kingston.
The voting to select the winners is now over, and some 150 of the reggae and world music industry’s best are patiently waiting to hear the coveted Iawards.
Among some of the active honorees and nominees are: Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Koffee, Spice, Masicka, Popcaan, Sean Paul, Kabaka Pyramid, Alkaline, Skeng, Valiant, Sizzla, Skillibeng, Eddy Kenzo, Shatta Wale, Gramps Morgan, Romain Virgo, Etana, Christopher Martin, Queen Ifrica, Cherry Natural, Ding Dong, Toni Ann Singh, Capleton, Machel Montano, Patricia Roberts, Shenell Muir, Shaggy, Burna Boy, Bad Bunny, Stick Figure, Dexta Daps, Shenseea, Kevin Downswell and Carlene Davis.
– Balford Henry
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