Seaga to be inducted to Reggae Hall of Fame

Former Jamaica Prime Minister Edward Seaga will receive two superlative honors on May 4 when the 32nd annual International Reggae & World Music Awards rewards him with a lifetime achievement award and also inducts him to the Hall of Fame during their gala celebration in Florida.

Although four administrations removed from leadership of his country, the nations’ fifth leader is acclaimed for his early embrace and support for reggae music during its infancy. In the early 1950’s established West India Records Limited (WIRL) a company which promoted local talents. The label emerged the most successful record company in the West Indies. Seaga is also credited with establishing most of the institutions that build cultural awareness and national identity, as well as develop arts, crafts and national heritage on the island. A chronology of his accomplishments include:

1963 — Jamaica Festival

1964 — Promotion to launch Jamaican music (ska) abroad

1964 — Return and interment of Marcus Garvey’s body to Jamaica

1964 — Order of National Heroes – Garvey first named hero

1964 — National Heroes Park

1965 to 1969 – Museums – Arawak, Port Royal

1967 – The Institute of Jamaica’s publication, Jamaica Journal

1967 — Research and recording of folk culture

1967 — Refurbished Devon House – home of Jamaica’s first millionaire

1968 — National Heritage Week

1971 — Design of the Cultural Training Centre (Arts, Drama, Music, Painting & Sculpture)

1972 — Jamaica Racing Commission and Jockey School

1986 — Establishment of the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC)

1988 — Planned development of heritage sites (Port Royal, Spanish Town, Seville)

1988 — Media Divestment Program, to establish several small private radio stations and church television

Prior to winning a seat in parliament, Seaga sought out and invested in talent in western Kingston by promoting local talent shows. When he ran for political office the region became his constituency. There he helped launch the talents of many singers and musicians. He has been credited with launching the careers of Ken Boothe and others. He also is regarded as the champion to mentor the political career of Olivia “Babsy” Grange who was elected to parliament and also served as the island’s minister of sports, culture and entertainment.

Retired from politics, Seaga is now steeped in research at the University of the West Indies.

Last year, he released a four-disc collection of Jamaican music titled “Reggae Golden Jubilee — Origins of Jamaican Music” which he compiled over 16 years. The recording spans music from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s.

Seaga is credited with having built more institutions and initiated more far reaching policies than any other political leader in the growth and development of Jamaica.

Also named to receive similar acknowledgement are: original Black Uhuru member Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, radio personality, Denver “Jamusa” Silvera, and Lloyd Campbell of Joe Frasier Records.

Another segment of the program will distinguish three state residents with the South Florida Special Award for Extra-Ordinary Contribution to the music industry. Producer Willie Lindo, artist manager Vonnie McGowan and radio personality and Caribbean music promoter, Winsome “Lady C” Charlton are the recipients.

Slated for May 4 at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts in Florida — the gala promises live performances from top Caribbean names who have distinguished themselves in numerous categories of the recording industry. Nominated in six categories dancehall deejay Vegas is slated to perform. Double nominees Calypso Rose and Romain Virgo are also billed to deliver musical treats along with Half Pint, Macka Diamond, Richie Stephens, Haitian compass group J-Beatz and poet Mutabaruka. Fifteen more talents are also booked to deliver their diverse variety of African and Caribbean brand to the crowds.

Nominees of the music awards include Damian Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Sean Paul, Romain Virgo, Third World, Marcia Griffith, Taurus Riley, Konshens, Busy Signal, Machel Montano, Allison Hinds and Snoop Lion.

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