Janet Silvera (Jamaica Gleaner) writes about the recent recipients of the Sumfest Inspire Awards. Living legend Bob Andy, internationally acclaimed duo Sly and Robbie, the Godfather Chris Blackwell, and promoter Copeland Forbes were inducted into the Reggae Sumfest Hall of Fame while crooner Beres Hammond received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Sumfest Inspire Awards last Thursday, July 19.
The five shared the spotlight with the undisputed King of the Dancehall Moses ‘Beenie Man’ Davis – who was named ‘Sumfest Legend,’ and Jamar ‘Chronixx’ McNaughton, who was recognised with the Reggae Sumfest Rising Star award. Twelve other awards were presented to individuals who have walked alongside the 26- year-old festival founded by Summerfest Productions and now owned by Downsound Entertainment.
Bob Andy, renowned for his Fire Burning lyrics, who placed his hand on his first musical instrument the piano – 60 years ago, said that he had no clue his life would have led to this. Admitting that the road that brought him to Thursday night had been long, rocky, and at some points smooth, the stalwart said that the beauty of his job was the fact that he didn’t leave anyone crying, “Or rip anyone off. All I had to do was give love in my music”.
In accepting his award, Blackwell, one of the most influential figures in the local music industry, said that his first three records went to number one, but his career peaked because Jamaicans could hear themselves in his music.
“After my music came hundreds and thousands more records, which were made in Jamaica more than anywhere else in the world,” revealed the man who brought Jamaica’s King of Reggae, Bob Marley, to world fame.
For Copeland Forbes, Thursday night was one of the greatest moments in his 50 years in the music industry. “There is nothing like being recognised in your own country,” said the man who has received over 250 awards worldwide.
Hammond, who will be performing on Saturday night, and who has dedicated his life to reggae music, was absent from the event, and his award was collected by CEO and founder of Downsound Entertainment, Joe Bogdanovich.
First Artiste Booked
Beenie Man was the first artist to be booked on Reggae Sumfest when the festival started in 1993, and he has performed at the event a total of 23 times. He boasted that no one could beat his track record. “I can’t change a bulb, I can’t patch a tire, this is all I know,” said the artiste while collecting his award.
The evening’s other awardees were ace journalist Pat Meschino, who has been standing in the press pit covering the festival for 24 years and who received the ‘Golden Pen’ award; while On Stage’s Winford Williams, freelance photographer Alan Lewin, and freelancer writer Marlon Tingling were named Special Honourees. Williams’ profession in the entertainment industry grew with the festival, which he has been covering since it began. “My passion has always been to be part of something that would help to expose our music, so it was easy for me to be part of this,” stated Williams.
For Lewin, this award was his Grammy. Hermine Shaw received the ‘Big Up Award’ for putting food into the festival for 25 years.
[Photo of Beres Hammond from http://thehowardtheatre.com/show/2016/06/30/beres-hammond-7/.]