Jamaican reggae artist Etana to be honored

Etana.

The Washington-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) says Jamaican Reggae singer Etana will be honored with the Excellence in the Arts Award at the 24th annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) on Friday, Nov. 17.

ICS said on Monday that CARAH celebrates the achievements of outstanding individuals of Caribbean descent who have made extraordinary contributions to their fields of expertise.

ICS will present “these prestigious awards” at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“Etana’s music represents and reflects the indomitable spirit of the Caribbean, and we are truly honored that she can join us at the 24th annual CARAH Awards,” said Dr. Claire Nelson, the Jamaican-born founder and president of ICS, the CARAH Awards, and White House Champion of Change.

“Her music has reached millions, and her positive messages of self-love and resilience make her a perfect role model for all women – both the young and the ripe,” Dr. Nelson added.

She said Etana has been singing since she was eight years old, “when her family discovered her powerful voice while she was singing a hit song by Air Supply.”

Not long after she moved to the United States, Nelson said, adding that, during college, Etana joined the female vocal group Gift.

“Despite Universal Records’ interest in Gift, Etana could not conform to negative stereotypes being forced on the group,” Nelson said. “So, she quit and returned to Jamaica, where she could focus on music that reflected her Rastafarian ideals.”

Etana released her debut album “The Stronger One in 2008,” receiving international acclaim with her hit “Wrong Address,” and two other number one singles.

Nelson said Etana was nominated for the 2008 MOBO Awards in the “Best Reggae” category.

Etana’s subsequent albums, “Free Expressions” and “Better Tomorrow,” were released in 2011 and 2013, and followed with tours of Europe and the United States, respectively.

Most recently, she released the album, “I Rise,” which peaked at number one on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums in 2014, where it remained for four weeks.

Etana remains the first female to top the reggae billboard chart in more than 15 years, Nelson said.

In addition to Etana, this year, Nelson said ICS will be honoring, among others, mining engineer and entrepreneur Dr. Glendon Archer; world-renowned transplant surgeon Dr. Clive Callender; medicinal chemist, research scientist and serial entrepreneur Dr. Henry Lowe; Karl Racine, Attorney General of Washington, D.C.; Jennifer Carroll, first Caribbean woman to serve as lt. governor of a US state; Nneka Norville, BET Corporate Leader; Bevil Wooding, internet technology strategist; and “friend of the Caribbean,” New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel.

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