Music industry on pause — No IRAWMA 2022; Grammy delayed

Jamaican national Ephraim Martin.  Ephraim Martin & BHM
Jamaican national Ephraim Martin.
Ephraim Martin & BHM

Two major music awards will not proceed with plans to stage their annual ceremony as planned.

Citing uncertainties related to evolution of the Omicron variant, the Grammy Awards and the IRAWMA will not proceed as scheduled.

“We had things planned for May 1 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of IRAWMA in Kingston,” Ephraim Martin, CEO and founder of the oldest honors to reggae and soca music said.
“Our directors and advisors have decided to advance it to May 7, 2023.”

The Chicago-based promoter said “Right now, in Jamaica, the virus is not looking any better so we saw it best to postpone until 2023.”
During a virtual press conference from his Illinois headquarters, Martin explained “This event usually attracts a number of overseas guests and we want to make sure that it is safe for everyone to enjoy. We want to make sure that travelling is safe and that there is no chance of contracting the virus.”

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences also informed their global, Grammy Awards audiences that the Jan. 31 presentation would not be held.

“After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th Annual Grammy Awards Show.”

Disappointed nominees were forced to the decision that “the health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience, and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority.”

The brief announcement detailed the primary reason for the postponement was reached “given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant.”

“Holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks,” a press release stated.

Since making the initial announcement, declining infection rates in some regions of the country, enabled NARAS to decide April 3 an appropriate date for celebration of last year’s biggest achievers in music.

According to reports the music industry has been heavily impacted by the national surge in casualties of the Omicron variant. Described as more infectious than the deadly delta variant that forced a global shutdown in 2020, the milder mutation has all but crippled live performances because of its ability to easily infect and spread.
Reportedly, the variant accounts for 90 percent of new infections in New York, Southeast, Midwest and Pacific south west.

Live music makes up more than 50 percent of total revenues and is derived mainly from sales of tickets to live performances.

With a reduction in tourists, Broadway has also been impacted by the variant. Live presentations already affected include “MJ The Musical,” “Moulin Rouge,” “The Lion King,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, “Tina,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Hamilton” and “Aladdin.”

Until the Omicron variant loosens its grip on the nation, the entertainment industry will continue to pause some of the major events annually staged here, overseas and throughout the world.