Reggae band awarded by US city
Reggae music got a much-needed shot in the arm with some great news recently.
The Bonafide reggae band, based in Las Vegas in Nevada, received a certificate of special congressional commendation from United States Congresswoman Dina Titus to mark their 19th year anniversary in music.
"It's a great honour for us because it was unexpected, and it means a lot to us that our work in the city of Las Vegas is being recognised by the government and people of the United States of America," band member Junior Rootz said.
The band members hail from Montego Bay and Clarendon. There are five persons in the band, four of whom are brothers, namely, Jr Rootz (vocals/drums), Bass Wayne (bass/vocals), Mikey Gits (guitar) and Ricky Dread (keyboards/vocals). Kerry Ranks (DJ) is a part-time member.
Bonafide band members have been stellar members of the Las Vegas community, lending their name to several social issues and causes.
In 2012, they contributed proceeds of their albums and tracks sold in Nevada to benefit the Help of Southern Nevada Organization, a non-profit entity that serves the poor, homeless and those in crisis.
Titus journeyed to Las Vegas to personally hand the proclamation to the reggae band.
The presentation took place during the annual Taste of the Caribbean festival in downtown Las Vegas, which highlights the music, art, and cuisine of several Latin American and Caribbean countries.
"She (Titus) had seen us play before, but we had never met her. We take this very seriously as we have to be cultural ambassadors, we are not just musicians anymore," he said.
Junior Rootz said that this proclamation is a wonderful development because "there is no established representation of Jamaica in Las Vegas except for the Bonafide band, so this is a unique opportunity to use our role to champion our Jamaican culture".
Rootz also said the mayor told them that going forward, every year in Las Vegas, April 21 will be recognised as Bonafide Reggae Day.