Alton Ellis, one of Jamaica’s pioneering reggae recording artistes, along with Caribbean counterpart Eddie Grant, will be inducted into the International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA) Hall of Fame this year.
Ellis and Grant, considered icons of the pop music industry, will be honoured during ceremonies for the 25th annual staging of the IRAWMA at the world famous Apollo Theatre, in Harlem, New York, on May 6. Ellis is celebrating 50 years in the field of popular entertainment this year.
Jamaican Ephraim Martin, President of the Chicago-based Martin’s Inter-culture, Inc., producers of the awards show said, “the main objective of the annual awards show and celebration is to give due respect and recognition to the thousands of outstanding entertainers who have and continue to labour tirelessly in the (music) industry vineyards”.
Mr. Martin, who was speaking at a press conference held at the Jamaican Consulate in New York City on Wednesday (Feb. 22), informed that for the first time in its 25 year history, the star-studded event will be produced and shown live to audiences in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean region through collaboration with KHMETCOM Entertainment, which specializes in the production and marketing of events for syndication.
Michelle Thomas, CEO of KHMETCOM, said that her company was exploring the possibility of having live satellite links in key locations such as Jamaica, London and Ghana, West Africa.
Over 200 nominations in 41 categories will be voted on by the general public and fans in various music genres, through an online balloting system. The nominees were chosen by a worldwide panel of music industry experts and professionals.
Among the leading vote-getters for 2005 were: Elephant Man, Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Jah Cure, and I-Wayne, TOK, Luciano and Gyptian. The Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award – a non-voting category – will be presented to actor Danny Glover; rock singer Bono of the band U2; and civil rights activist/entertainer Harry Belafonte.
The IRAWMA honours the best in reggae, hip-hop, rap, calypso/soca, compas/racine, raggaeton, gospel and soukous.