By: Joseph Cunningham
Photography By: Milton Raynor
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), is admired worldwide for its organization, stability and for the fairness it has brought to the American music industry for decades. The RIAA made the American music industry one with songs and album chart rankings that are appreciated generally as credible and lead to the annual staging of the Grammy Awards.
In contrast, the Reggae industry has been one of Jamaica's most effective sources of income, however this most revered genre of music throughout the world has benefited foreign territories more than its headquarters.
Thankfully, the Recording Industry Association of Jamaica (RIAJ) has created the Reggae Academy Awards to counteract this trend.
The first annual Reggae Academy Awards ceremony is slated to be held on Sunday, February 24, at the National Indoor Sports Centre. According to organizers, activities leading up to the ceremony will include a road tour that will stop at six locations around the island, namely, Montego Bay, St. Thomas, Ocho Rios, Savanna- La- Mar, Clarendon and Kingston. Its objective is to promote interest in the awards and encourage the public to vote in the two popular award categories, "Most Popular Artist" and "Most Popular Song."
Speaking at the launch of the RIAJ's activities for 2008, chairman of RIAJ, Lloyd Stanbury revealed that, "These awards will be presented based on music which is released from December 1 through to November of the incoming year." The chairman added that the awards would present an official and well organized process for the recognition of contributors within the different genres of Reggae music.
Prior to February 24 there will be three days of activities from the 21 through to the 23.
Thursday, February 21 - Reception and showcase- Hilton Hotel (7:00 pm)
Friday, February 22 - Panel Discussion- Hilton Hotel (9:00 pm- 6:00pm)
Friday, February 22 - Artist showcase – Venue TBD (9:00 pm)
Saturday, February 23 - Panel Discussion- Hilton Hotel (9:00 pm- 1:00 pm)
Saturday, February 23 - Artist showcase - Venue TBD (9:00 pm)
The awards ceremony on Sunday, February 24 will be characterized by a
number of artists who are contracted to perform. According to Lloyd
Stanbury, the performances will be viewed by international television
networks and so contracts stipulate instructions governing performances.
Contracted performers include, Bounty Killer (Performer and Presenter) Shaggy (Performer and Presenter), Sean Paul (Presenter), Morgan Heritage (Performer and Presenter), Ky-Mani Marley, (Performer and Presenter), Diana King (Performer and Presenter) and others.