After making an international outing to Trinidad & Tobago this year, the annual International Reggae & World Music Awards will return to the mid-west where it first started in 1982.
Since its debut in Chicago, the event which initially solely honored the reggae genre -- attracted some of the best achievers to now laud a variety of music forms and their contributors.
Five years after its launch, the reputed awards ventured to other cities staging ceremonies in Miami, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana, Atlanta, Georgia, New York, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Hosted in the capital city of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad last May, the 30th annual ceremony marked 15 staged outside of Chicago and the first held in a Caribbean island other than Jamaica.
According to Chicago resident Ephraim Martin, the idea of an award ceremony was inspired, encouraged and influenced by the achievements of Robert Nesta Marley and Jacob Miller. Neither Jamaicans lived to see a salute to reggae music, however, their dream spawned the all- inclusive honor which now lauds salsa, creole, hip-hop, world beat, calypso, soca and reggae.
Martin said next year’s event will be held on July 5 and will coincide with his annual independence weekend calendar of Chicago festivities.
Jamaica’s Mount Vernon “Heavy” Passes
The entire music industry is now grieving the sudden passing of Dwight Arrington Meyers.
Better known as Heavy D and by his own identification -- affectionately regarded as “the overweight lover” the hip-hop legend died in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 8 at age 44.
Born in Mandeville, Jamaica, he moved to Mount Vernon at age 8. From there teamed with a trio to form a group called Heavy D & The Boyz.
Those in rap circles identified with his positive and inspiring lyrics. He added humor to his lyrical rhymes and amplified inspiration with beats that made him bigger than his frame.
Reggae music lovers claimed him for hailing his roots. He created a bridge by combining the two revolutionary, poetic genres.
He prominently displayed the black, gold and green banner of his birth island in many of his videos and vowed to “big up” the island music.
His remake of Third World’s hit “Now That We Found Love” practically crowned him Jamaica’s rap ambassador.
He collaborated with dancehall’s Super Cat on “Dem Nuh Worry We” and scored another hybrid hit with “Big & Ready” by teaming with Frankie Paul. His career in the music industry soared past performing and rapping onstage.
He emerged one of the first executives to head a major record label by becoming the president of Uptown Records.
Heavy moved from New York to live on the west coast. He made a big screen appearance in the Oscar-winning film, “Cider House Blues.”
From there he launched an acting career that brought him back to New York co-starring onstage with Laurence Fishburne in “Riff Raff.”
Last month, he joined Ice-T for segment of the television drama “Law & Order” and was last seen making a cameo appearance in the Eddie Murphy starred “Tower Heist.”
His musical collaborations also included bluesman B. B. King; Notorious B.I.G. , Kriss Kross, the punk group Sugar Ray and Michael Jackson.
Ironically, he recently performed “Jam” the song he recorded with the pop icon at a benefit tribute held in Cardiff, Wales.
Our condolence to the entire family, yours truly takes the liberty to parody the sentiments of a song “he’s Heavy, he’s my brother.”
Caribbean Cultural Theater Finds
The Caribbean Cultural Theater will now be headquartered at Medgar Evers College. Formerly based at a South Oxford Road location, the cultural group recently solidified a partnership with the Caribbean Research Center at MEC and will stage productions there.
The new relationship will not only enable CCT to rehearse, stage productions and host events in the tradition they are accustomed but according to the artistic director will also place them in the “heart of New York’s Caribbean-American community.”
To mark the new alliance, an information session and a reception was held in the Academic Building 1 at MEC recently.
Catch You On The Inside!