By: Olimatta Taal
"We should control the destiny of Jamaica as creators and managers of the Jamaican music entity," remarked Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller during her keynote address at the historical launching of the Reggae Academy Awards. In support of the awards, she suggested to create a homegrown supermodel international music industry that will service the market and vowed to develop a State of the Art Cultural Performance Center in Jamaica.
Held April 23, 2007 at the Caribbean Business Club in New Kingston, the launch was hosted by eloquent Queen Mother Elise Kelly of Irie Fm. The list of invited guests included many amongst the who's who in Jamaican society. Minister of Tourism, Aloun NDoumbet Assamba, M.P. Babsy Grange and Minister of Entertainment Wicker McNeal were present, as well as many distinguished members of the music and media fraternity.
Dubbed the Grammy's of Reggae Music, the Reggae Academy Awards has been described by founder, Lloyd Stanbury as "An international Reggae recording industry project that will recognize and celebrate the artistic achievements of talented musicians and singers. It will also recognize important, behind-the-scenes contributors such as producers, songwriters, engineers, and music video directors."
The Reggae Academy Awards grew out of the Reggae Industry Academy Jamaica (RIAJam), that was founded in 2003 with the view of providing a vehicle for promotion as well as facilitating music business practitioners' upgrading of recorded music and music video products. RIAJam has a mission to raise the level of professionalism in the recording industry and return financial and other benefits to the Jamaican economy from music products released by locally based artists and music professionals in the global market.
Slated to take place in February 2008, The Reggae Academy Awards will feature the granting of over 30 awards determined by votes of Reggae Academy members and two “Peoples Choice Awards" There will also be inductions of outstanding personalities into the Reggae Hall of Fame. A three day series of activities will take place which will include seminars, workshops, and business networking.
The Reggae Academy Awards will be the first awards project to be based on nominations and voting, without regard to popularity, music sales or chart position. Voting will be made by members of an industry body, comprised of persons involved in the making and promotion of sound recordings. Membership to the Academy is open to all Reggae music industry practitioners around the world through an annual membership fee at www.reggaeacademy.com