An annual global reggae awards show for Jamaica

February 22, 2019
AP
Shaggy poses in the press room with the award for Best Reggae Album for ‘44/876’ at the 61st annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 10 in Los Angeles.
AP Shaggy poses in the press room with the award for Best Reggae Album for ‘44/876’ at the 61st annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 10 in Los Angeles.
International recording artistes Sting (left) and Shaggy
International recording artistes Sting (left) and Shaggy
Etana
Etana
Bob Marley
Bob Marley
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Every year, we scream and moan over who wins the reggae Grammy Award. We argue about who should have won and who shouldn't have. Why do the Marleys seem to win every year? Some people are even calling for the introduction of a dancehall Grammy Award.

Before I go on, however, let me congratulate Shaggy and Sting for winning the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. Well-deserved. I also want to congratulate Protoje for his nomination. Great album. Congrats are also in order for Etana, even though I have not heard a single track from her album.

That said, let me get back to my point.

We all know the issues we have about the Grammys, so I will not detail any more than I already have. What I want to know, though, is why we are so reluctant to have our own global reggae awards.

Jamaica is the crucible for both reggae and dancehall, genres that have wielded significant cultural influence across the globe for decades. Bob Marley still rules reggae on global charts, and the Marley name still resonates strongly in every culturally inspired nook and cranny. Protoje, Shaggy, Sean Paul and Chronixx are doing the work out there, captivating the world. So why are we not capitalising on this?

I have had this idea for years now, ask Clyde McKenzie - about a global reggae award hosted in Jamaica, by Jamaicans. In conjunction with local industries and the Ministry of Culture, we would promote it, invite reggae artistes from all over the globe and have one week of festivities leading up to the grand finale, which would be the awards.

VENUE OPTIONS

There are options for venues - the National Indoor Sports Centre and the Montego Bay Convention Centre are two which readily come to mind.

Done right, Jamaica would be the centre of attention for one week each year, and in that period, hotels would get additional business, local support industries would emerge, and there would then be a platform for significant growth in the country's cultural industries.

With the mystique that Jamaica currently enjoys, I can clearly see where these awards would rise to a level of prominence to rival that of the Grammys, and I feel the reggae awards would have much greater credence than any reggae Grammy ever could. Why? Because we are the mother nation of the genre.

Moreover, who knows these genres better than we do?

Send comments to levyl1@hotmail.com.

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