Brooklyn’s Kings Theater hosts historic, inaugural Caribbean Music Awards

Elite Icon Award Honoree – Beres Hammond.
Elite Icon Award Honoree – Beres Hammond.
Photo courtesy Caribbean Music Awards

Brooklyn’s Kings Theater was the site of the historic, inaugural Caribbean Music Awards was held on Thursday, Aug. 31 with Haitian-born GRAMMY-winning artist Wyclef Jean hosting the event.

According to, the show was “a vibrant and spirited celebration of all music, people and culture with roots in the West Indies.”

“I’ve been to the GRAMMYS, MTV Awards, all kinds of awards around the world. This is the only award show I feel so comfortable, I can wear my blood-sandals,” Clef told the audience at show’s start.

“Tonight is a very, very important night, as we celebrate the Caribbean region.,” he added. “Tonight is history,” he added. “They steal our culture, and they change the name of it. They call it ‘pop.’ Tonight, we’re taking everything back to the Caribbean.”

DancehallMag said unlike other major music awards, like the GRAMMYS or Billboard Music Awards, the Caribbean Music Awards recognized artists from Caribbean music genres, including Soca, Dancehall and Kompa, among others.

“Award recipients were chosen by fans, who had opportunities to vote for their favorite songs, artists, and music videos online, months before the event,” it said.

“It’s much more special when it’s from your own people,” Jamaican reggae artist Kabaka Pyramid, who was awarded the 2022 Impact Award, told DancehallMag, “The vibe in here is crazy. Real Caribbean culture inna di place. It’s just a lovely vibe, and I’m glad to be here.”

DancehallMag said opening with a performance by Karnival Bounce Crew, with appearances from R&B singer Mya, Majah Hype, DJs Jabba and Bobby Konders, and more throughout the night, “the energy in King’s Theatre was infectious.”

“Dancehall artist Ding Dong amped up the crowd along with an entourage of dancers who joined him in performing some of his most popular songs, including Genna Bounce, Fling, and Happiness,” DancehallMag said. “Later on, he was awarded Dance Song of the Year for his 2022 song, Bounce.

“From Best New Artist winner Tempa to veterans like Wayne Wonder and Machel Montano, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, to Barbados-born rapper Doug E. Fresh, the Caribbean Music Awards accounted for decades of Caribbean music, and music influenced by the Caribbean, that has not received recognition from larger, mainstream music organizations,” it added.

“As generations of artists and fans sang and danced together, the evolution of Caribbean music and its need to be celebrated was undeniable,” DancehallMag continued.

CBS News said the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards brought “some of the biggest names in reggae, dancehall, kompa, zouk and soca music under the same roof.”

“I’m glad that everybody could really come together and unite ’cause that’s really all it’s about at the end of the day — unity,” it quoted reggae artist Jada Kingdom as saying.

“I been to a lot of awards, but this belongs to us,” said Jamaican Dancehall Queen Spice.

“The energy is beautiful. The energy is real,” singer Mya said.

CBS said “fans got a glimpse of the stars before they entered the building for a night of glamour, excitement and Caribbean pride.”

In addition to numerous awards, reggae legend Beres Hammond was honored with the Elite Icon Award for his decades-long contributions to enhancing reggae music, CBS said.

“A lot of people are really excited to see this develop and grow into something even crazy and bigger,” it quoted Trinidadian artist Kes as saying, as well as Trinidadian soca start Machel Montano.

“No better time to celebrate the culture that we all have from all the different islands, but what we have brought to these shores and how effective we’ve been as a people, it reverts back home, and it sets dreams and goals to all the people,” Montano said.

CBS said the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards was “the perfect precursor to kick off the Labor Day weekend and ahead of the West Indian American Day Parade on Monday.

“One thing we found at the event — all the folks there were excited to celebrate fellow artists,” it said.

The list of the winners and nominees are: Artist Of The Decade: Winner: Vybz Kartel. Other nominees: Machel Montano, Kes The Band, Beenie Man, Chronixx, Mavado and Bounty Killer.

2022 Impact Award – Reggae; Winner: Kabaka Pyramid. Other nominees: Royal Blu, Sevana, Mortimer and Jaz Elise.

Humanitarian Award Honoree – Buju Banton Foundation.

People’s Choice Award (Fan Favorite): Winner: Kes. Other nominees: Dexta Daps, Shenseea, Teejay, Patrice Roberts, Vybz Kartel and Skeng.

2022 Impact Award – Soca; Winner: Viking Ding Dong. Other nominees: Rae, DJ Cheem, Jadel and Adam O.

Video of the Year – Reggae/Dancehall; Winner: Next to Me – Popcaan (feat. Toni-Ann Singh). Other nominees: Bounce – Ding Dong; History – Masicka; Born Fighter – Jahshii; and Dolly – Shenseea.

Elite Calypso Music Award Honoree – David Rudder.

Female Artist of the Year (Dancehall): Winner: Spice. Other nominees: Shenseea, Shaneil Muir, Jada Kingdom, Tina (HoodCelebrity) and Stefflon Don.

Best New Artist – Reggae; Winner: Samora. Other nominees: Aiesha, Joby Jay, Irie Souljah and Aza Lineage.

Best New Artist – Soca; Winner: Tempa. Other nominees: Melly Rose, Anika Berry, Shireen B, Faith Callender and Leonce.

Collaboration of the Year – Reggae/Dancehall; Winner: Skeng (feat. Nicki Minaj) – Little Miss. Other nominees: Masicka (feat. Steflon Don) – Moments; Popcaan (feat. Imeru Tafari) – Elevate; Sean Paul (feat. Shenseea, Gwen Stefani) – Light My Fire; Skeng, Stalk Ashley – Talibhan; Proteje (feat. Jorja Smith) – Ten Cane Row; and Baby Cham, Bounty Killer – Bloodclxxt.

Collaboration of the Year – Soca; Winner: GBM Nutron (feat. DJ Spider) – Down Dey. Other nominees: Skinny Fabulous, Problem Child – Danger; Kes (feat. J Perry) – Liki Tiki; Nailah Blackman, Mical Teja – Dingolay; and Kes (feat. Dwala) – Jolene.

Kompa Music Award Honoree – Mikaben .

Dance Song of the Year: Winner: Bounce – Ding Dong. Other nominees: Leggo Di Bird – Laa lee. Other nominees: Bing Bong – DJ Cheem; In the Water – Suhraw (feat. Chow Minister)

Foot; and Squash Touch Your Head – Elephant Man.

Kompa Band of the Year: Winner: Klass. Other nominees: Kai, T-Vice, Bedjine Kadilac and Nu Look.

Elite Icon Award Honoree – Beres Hammond.

Album of the Year – Dancehall; Winner: 438 – Masicka. Other nominees: Emancipated – Spice; True Religion – Vybz Kartel; Alpha – Shenseea; and Scorcha – Sean Paul.

Machel Montano Lifetime Achievement honoree.
Machel Montano Lifetime Achievement honoree.Photo courtesy Caribbean Music Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree – Machel Montano.

Performer of the Year – Dancehall; Winner: Dexta Daps. Other nominees: Ding Dong, Spice, Shenseea, Elephant Man and Baby Cham.

But, according to CaribbeanLoopNews, there were calls for the organizers of the Caribbean Music Awards to include more music genres from the region in the event.

It said Kompa was the only other genre recognized, “once with a Best Kompa Band category and the other with a posthumous honor to the late Haitian singer Mikaben.”

CaribbeanLoopNews said Jael Joseph, a Dominican who won enough votes to land her a spot as an interviewer for the show, “lamented the fact that her country’s Bouyon music was not honored.”

“I think Bouyon music dominated Carnival,” Joseph said. “I saw Spice shaking her pampalam in Sint Maarten. That was to Bouyon music.

“So, I want to big up all of the Bouyon artists who didn’t make it this year, and I hope they are included next year,” she told host Wyclef Jean, according to CaribbeanLoopNews.

It said Wyclef assured that every year more genres would be included.

But, following the show, CaribbeanLoopNews said Chutney Soca artists from Trinidad and Tobago also criticized the event for leaving out Chutney Soca.

It said that, in a now-deleted Facebook post, former Chutney Soca Monarch KI Persad expressed hurt that his genre was not included.

“Not to sound cocky but for the last 14 years, Ravi B and I kept this genre alive in its weakest dayz,” KI Persad reportedly wrote. “To see them celebrate without us, hurts me. Cause choose your venue, it’s the chutney soca fans that spend the most money on these shows and y’all left us out?”

Ravi B, another former Chutney Soca Monarch posted on Facebook, according to CaribbeanLoopNews: “Dear Carib Music Awards, Chutney Soca Music is also part of the Caribbean.”