Legendary Jamaican artistes James Chambers—popularly known as Jimmy Cliff—and the late Frederick “Toots” Hibbert will be honoured at the second annual Jamaica Music Experience (JAME) and True Tribute Awards on Saturday, September 10 in New York.
Lloyd “Judge Diamond” Ferguson of The Mighty Diamonds is also lined up for honours at the event, which will take place at the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center in Garden City.
The other honourees in the entertainment category are Derrick Morgan and Johnny Osborne—all of whom will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards—as well as Beverly Kelso, the only female member of the original Wailers band and Doreen Schafer, a pioneering female vocalist with the Skatalites.
This year’s list of honorees includes some of the most popular and recognizable names associated with the Jamaican music industry over many decades. It is divided into three categories – entertainers, radio personalities and posthumous awards.
A fourth category, the Organization Leadership Awards, will honour Jamaicans from the Diaspora who are actively working to document and promote Jamaica’s music and culture.
Among the radio personalities to be honoured are Ken Williams and Conroy Allison, while the Posthumous Music Award honorees alongside Toots Hibbert include Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, Cecil “Sonny” Bradshaw and veteran record producer, Sonia Pottinger. This year’s roll of honour for the Organization Leadership Awards includes Faye and Karl Rodney- founders and editors of Carib News.
Lesleyann Samuel, president of the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations, and Michael R Duncan, president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Africa Communities League, will also be honoured. The event is arranged by the True Tribute Organization, founded and headed by popular musician and educator, LeRoy Graham Jr.
Graham Jr. believes that this year’s list of honorees is an excellent representation of the calibre of individuals and entities adding that the True Tribute Awards is a unique celebration of Jamaica’s culture, history and development within the music industry and beyond. It commemorates the achievements of Jamaicans past and present, highlighting their commitment and pioneering efforts to share Jamaica’s cultural heritage and musical legacy with the world.
Recognition of musical giants
The event also raises funds and awareness for several education projects in Jamaica and the USA developed through the TTO Foundation.
Referring to the awardees, Graham Jr. remarks that, “these individuals have exhibited an indomitable spirit and fortitude to overcome tremendous obstacles in pursuit of sustainable progress and have positively influenced society through their dedication, character and principles during their lives.”
He believes it is especially important that the organisation tries to honour individuals during their lifetime, while they are still around to appreciate the accolades noting that just in April the world lost two members of the incredible Mighty Diamonds- Donald ‘Tabby’ Shaw and Fitzroy ‘Bunny’ Simpson. “It is therefore most fitting that we honour the last surviving member Lloyd Ferguson in person at this year’s ceremony, Graham Jr. explains.
Regarding Toots, he was slated to be honoured at the inaugural event in 2018 but couldn’t make it. So it was decided to do so the following year but COVID-19 intervened and sadly, he passed.
Graham is promising a glittering and exciting musical presentation on awards night in September, which is why the show is being launched so well in advance.
Two sponsors have been confirmed, VP Records, original sponsors from the inaugural event in 2018, and IMC Media. As for the evening itself, it will be one to remember as you might expect, especially on the 60th-anniversary year of Jamaica’s independence.