South Florida honours for Reggae Month

February 20, 2024

article reposted by Chelsea


Among the activities for Reggae Month in South Florida is the presentation of awards to people who have served Jamaican music in various capacities.

On February 10 and 13, six stalwarts were acknowledged.

The Reggae Icon Awards took place at Miramar Cultural Center last Tuesday with Tony Rebel, Mutabaruka and Judy Mowatt receiving accolades from the city of Miramar.

Tony Rebel, a leader of the roots-reggae renaissance of the early 1990s, was cited for the positive messages in his songs, among the Teach The Children, Sweet Jamaica and If Jah is Standing by My Side. He is also founder/promoter of the annual Rebel Salute stage show.

“Recognising excellence, especially in the black community, is very important. We have a lot of excellence but when you recognise it, it’s good. As they say, give me di flowers before mi pass,” he said in his acceptance speech.

Mutabaruka took the stage with his classic poem, Everytime A Ear de Sound, playing in the background. Fellow poet Malachi Smith introduced him, declaring the feisty Rastafarian as “the conscience of Jamaica”.

After accepting his award, Mutabaruka spoke about the strides Rastafarians have made since he accepted the faith over 45 years ago.

“Wi give thanks because there was a time when Rasta couldn’t come a di door. Nobody wouldn’t even think ‘bout gi Rasta supn,” he said.

Mowatt was unable to attend the event, but her award was accepted by her son O’Neil Gray and Sharon Marley, daughter of Rita Marley, her colleague in The I Three, Bob Marley’s harmony group.

Gray and Marley praised her work with that group as well as a solo act which produced the outstanding album Black Woman. Mowatt’s daughter Yashemabeth also saluted her mother in a video recording.

Mowatt also addressed the audience via that medium. She said: “I was not just writing for my sisters over there, and there; it also reflects my life.”

Three days earlier, Pat Chin, co-founder of VP Records; singer Marcia Griffiths, another member of The I Three; and Cedella Marley, CEO of the Marley Group of Companies, were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards during the Reggae Genealogy forum at Broward Mall in the city of Plantation.

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