Gospel Spotlight : Barnaby-Cuff spearheads Jamaica's first gospel awards

March 10, 2017
Basillia Barnaby-Cuff

Radio broadcaster and media personality, Basillia Barnaby-Cuff, has brought to the fore a three-year-old idea.

On March 25, the inaugural Sterling Gospel Music Awards will take place. According to Barnaby-Cuff, founder and director of the event, it is designed to highlight the creativity, talent and overall contribution of individuals to the gospel industry in Jamaica.

Barnaby-Cuff said that in her seven years as a supporter of the gospel music industry, she has seen the importance of an annual gospel awards show, to encourage gospel artistes in their pursuit of excellence.

"I've emceed a lot of events and seen first-hand how hard gospel musicians and artistes work over the years, but there is no awards show dedicated to exploring the gospel music industry," she told THE WEEKEND STAR.




Taking matters into her own hands, Barnaby-Cuff spent the last year laying the groundwork for the awards ceremony.

"Currently, there is no staple national gospel awards show in the island, nor is there any awards show at all which focuses solely on gospel. It is the only of its kind in Jamaica," she said.

The inaugural staging seeks to shine a spotlight on the industry, from artistes to social media pages and photographers and gospel events, highlighting the contributions of persons across the board.

Barnaby-Cuff told THE WEEKEND STAR that she has been heavily involved in the gospel music industry for many years, and though gospel music is included in awards shows like the Youth View Awards, gospel music representation is often reduced to just one category.

Barnaby-Cuff told THE WEEKEND STAR that a confidential committee convened in September 2016 to decide on the nominees of the awards ceremony.

"The committee is made up of gospel music experts, local and from overseas. It's made up of gospel music industry experts, including producers, radio personalities, songwriters, musicians," she said.

The categories are Male Artiste of the Year, Female Artiste of the Year, Local Hit of the Year, Local Hit Producer of the Year, Most Rated Event of the Year, Most Rated Radio Programme of the Year, Collab of the Year, Group of the Year, the SWIFT (Snapchat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) Social Media Award and the Sterling Award for Excellence (Veteran Award).

Some nominees of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards are Junior Tucker, Minister Marion Hall, Papa San, iWorshipp, Christina Roshay, Kimola Brown-Lowe, Jermaine Edwards, Kevin Downswell, and Rondell Positive.

The event will be held at The Heritage Hall, 2 Bonito Crescent in Mandeville.

"Everything is always being held in Kingston. Some people in the gospel music industry complain that it seems like Kingston is Jamaica," Barnaby-Cuff said.

Aiming for an elegant affair, the Sterling Gospel Music Awards will be a formal, black and white, red-carpet event.

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