Rita Marley, widow of the great Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley and the first lady of Reggae will be among eight icons to be honored at the 31st annual International Reggae and World Music Awards returning to Chicago July 5th after 15 years on the road. In addition, for the first time ever the Awards will be held in conjunction with Chicago’s 4th of July weekend celebration — the 20th anniversary of the International Festival of Life. The festival takes place from July 4-8 in Washington Park with July 5th set aside for the Red Carpet IRAWMA Awards ceremony.
Ephraim Martin, IRAWMA and IFOL producer, said that after fifteen consecutive years on the road, the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) ceremony has come home. “It’s going to be a grand celebration,” he said. “Since The Taste of Chicago, one of America’s biggest July 4th Independence celebrations begins later in the month the Festival of Life will serve as the main event for residents and visitors from around the world. The Chicago Office of Tourism will join IFOL in its effort to maximize tourists to Chicago for the July 4th holiday.”
He added, “We’re going to roll out the red carpet in Washington Park on the 5th of July right in the middle of the festival and just steps from President Barack Obama’s home.”
Eight Icons who are living legends were named for the Reggae 50 Honors. Two honorees will receive the Martin’s International Award of Honor in Media. The 2012 Hall of Fame Inductee(s) will be named at a later date.
The REGGAE 50 HONOREES ARE:
• RITA MARLEY- FOR HER WORK IN THE PERSERVATION AND PROMOTION OF REGGAE’S LEGACY.
• MARCIA GRIFFITHS- EMPRESS OF REGGAE AND WORLD MUSIC AND AS THE MOST INDOMITABLE ENTERTAINER IN ALLTHE DECADES SINCE EARLY 1960.
• JUDY MOWATT- FOR SPIRITUAL SERVICE THROUGH MUSIC.
• FREDDIE MCGREGOR – FOR 50 YEARS OF DEDICATED & UNTIRING SERVICE TO JAMAICA AND THE WORLD THROUGH MUSIC.
• KEN BOOTHE- FOR BEING MOST CONSISTENT IN THE PRESERVATION OF JAMAICA’S ROCKSTEADY MUSIC.
• ERIC DONALDSON – THE KING OF JAMAICAN SONG CONTEST IN PAST 50 YEARS
• CHARLES CAMERON- FOR SIXTY YEARS OF UNTIRING CONTRIBUTION TO JAMAICAN MUSIC.
• COPELAND FORBES- FOR 50 YEARS OF VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
THE MARTIN’S INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AWARDEES ARE:
• BERKO AKOTO OWUSU, AFRICAN SPECTRUM- FOR OUTSTANDING JOURNALISTIC CONTRIBUTION TO AFRICAN AND WORLD MUSIC
• ONSTAGE TV- WINFORD WILLIAMS FOR MOST VALUABLE MEDIA CONTRIBUTIONS TO REGGAE IN THE LAST DECADE
Others Special Awardees will be announced later.
Dedicated to “Jamaica’s 50th Year of Independence,” the Festival of Life will feature a pavilion showcasing “All Things Jamaican,” and serving as a road to Jamaica’s Golden Jubilee in August. Importers/exporters, hoteliers, shipping services, travel–oriented entrepreneurs and businesses that market Jamaica or Jamaican brand products