Finally! Tosh gets first national honor

Jamaican musician Peter Tosh, a founding member of the Wailers, being interviewed in Los Angeles, Ca., Feb. 1979.
AP Photo
AP Photo

Quarter of a century after his death, Peter Tosh will be conferred his first national honor in Jamaica.

Born Winston Hubert McIntosh, the co-founder of Tuff Gong Records and the world’s best-known reggae group — Bob Marley & The Wailers – will be lauded during a ceremony slated for Oct. 12, National Heroes Day.

Tosh with Neville “Bunny” Livingston and Marley were teenagers when they banded to entertain Jamaicans.

Their talent transcended the small Trench Town, Kingston community to reach a global audience that embraces their style and message.

Although the trio disbanded, individually each member left an indelible impression on the world.

Tosh’s posthumous honor will declare the Wailer recipient of the Order of Merit (OM), the nation’s third highest.

“The Order of Merit is the third highest honor and may be conferred upon any citizen of Jamaica who has achieved eminent international distinction in his or her field of endeavor,” a statement from the Jamaica information Service stated.

Tosh died Sept. 11, 1987 at age 42 during a burglary and tragic shooting at his home.

Since his death, he has been awarded numerous accolades including the music industry’s highest honor, a posthumous Grammy award. However, this national acknowledgement marks the first from his birth island.

Announced during the 50th anniversary of independence celebrations last August, Tosh’s belated achievement will be celebrated in concert and a symposium at The University of the West Indies on Oct. 19.

“For the government to identify him with the OM, shows he’s getting there when it comes to respect,” Andrew Tosh said.

The musician said he believes the OM is a sign his father is finally being accepted in his homeland.

Among the entertainers confirmed for the show are: Junior Reid, The Mighty Diamonds, Marley’s son Ky-Mani and Marcia Griffiths, a member of the I-Three, the backup singer for Bob Marley’s group,

Reportedly, a movie about the controversial and very outspoken musician/singer is in the works. Allegedly, it will be directed by longtime associate and reggae music lover Lee Jaffe along with Kevin MacDonald who earlier this year released “Marley” a film which celebrates the Rastafarian icon.

Marley was the first of the trio to receive a national honor. Prior to his death, the singer was conferred with the Order of Merit, April 1981. Neville “Bunny” Livingston was among 10 individuals named to be presented with the nation’s fifth highest award, the Order of Jamaica, (OJ). The only surviving member of the Wailers was previously awarded, the fourth highest honor, the Order of Distinction (OD).

FRIENDS OF JAMAICA UNITE FOR ISLAND BENEFIT

American Friends of Jamaica are again hosting their annual fundraising event to help disfranchised citizens living on the Caribbean island. The organization founded by former U.S. ambassadors to the island and other diplomats has been hosting these special money-raising events for more than three decades. In addition, they have also annually spotlighted the good deeds of a significant individual and presented him/her with a tangible honor they named the Hummingbird Award.

This year, the award will go to Dave Barger, president and chief executive officer, Jet Blue Airways. Barger will be honored for international achievement.

The presentation will be made on Oct. 25 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

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