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Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, was among a distinguished group of special honourees at the 28th International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) held in New York recently.
Minister Grange, who has had a successful career in the arts, primarily as a record producer and manager, was recognised for her contribution to music, arts and culture.
Also receiving special honours were: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games triple gold medalist and world record holder Usain Bolt, who received the Producer’s Respect Award; while Owen Dalhouse-Ryddim Kings, Brigadier Jerry, Dwight “Heavy D” Myers and Road International Sound with DJ Roy, were recognised for contribution to the music industry in Jamaica and the United States (US).
Dr. Slinger ‘Mighty Sparrow’ Francisco of Trinidad and Tobago received the special Master of the Caribbean Award, while the Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award went to Clive Hunt (Jamaica), McLean ‘Short Shirt’ Emmanuel (Antigua), and Sweet Honey in the Rock Ensemble (US).
Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell received the Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award; and Vincentian Producer, Granville Straker was presented with the Award of Honour.
In his welcome to the capacity audience, President/Executive Producer of IRAWMA, Ephraim Martin said that this year’s show is in honour of the first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama.
“The 28th IRAWMA takes pride in celebrating this history making phenomenon. He (President Barack Obama) has demonstrated to the United States and the world that he is the right person for the job at the right time,” Mr. Martin said.
The annual event, produced by Martin’s Inter-culture, Inc. serves to recognise the top performances in reggae, soca and world music.
The night’s big winners were: Beres Hammond for Entertainer of the Year; Etana, Best Album for Strong One; Queen Ifrica, Best Female DJ/Rapper; Machel Montano (Trinidad), Outstanding Stage Personality; Lutan Fyah, Most Promising Entertainer; and Mavado, Recording Artiste of the Year.
Veteran reggae recording artiste Coco Tea picked up the award for ‘best song tribute to Barack Obama’, beating out Glen Adams, Lushy Banton, Mighty Sparrow and Steel Pulse.
The event, held at the York College Performing Arts Centre, also sought to increase awareness of diabetes, including the millions of persons from the Caribbean and other third world countries, who suffer from the disease.
The IRAWMA is the oldest and longest running show honouring reggae and world music.

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