Opa wrote the article below back in 2008 after attending the ceremony. We must say that along the years the festival have shown a bit of improvement especially in the Haitian category.
The International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) show was held on Sunday, May 4, 2008, at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The history making 27th anniversary of the award show; the longest running Caribbean music awards show, featured every kind of world music but mainly focused on the reggae music genre.
The night started on the red carpet with lots of statuette like ladies (which I later learned were there to present the awards to the winners), began to walk up and down the Red Carpet in their beautiful evening gowns. The weather was very beautiful, so you know the ladies, even the gentlemen did no such thing “holding back” on their attires. As the artists strolled down the carpet you can see who’s appreciated more and who’s just tolerated. Shaggy, and Junior Reid got screams while others had their PRs working overtime trying to get any reporter to talk to them.
Things soon changed inside of the theatre when Shaggy who’s internationally known was snubbed for best song of the year losing to the very talented, Tarrus Riley for his hit song entitled “She’s Royal.” However, it did stopped soon after; he lost for Best Album to Stephen Marley for his album “Mind Control” and Best DJ to Beenie Man. Don’t feel bad for Shaggy because he did win for best video for his song “Church Heathen.” When the nominees where announced based on fans reaction you automatically knew who the winner was before hand and the rest of the evening was just that predictable.
The show’s line of performances kicked off with the first award recipient of the night for the Martin’s International & Associates Award of Honor, Dwight Pickney, and continued on with Etana, Junior Reid, D’Angel, Macka, Cecile, Shaggy, Tarrus Riley and more. There were a few no shows, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, and Doug E Fresh.
Speaking of no shows, not only were the Compas Direct nominees no shows, the award wasn’t even acknowledge during the ceremony and a mere mention was made toward the closing statements when they went out of time. Regardless, it wouldn’t make a difference since the only reflection of Haitian music was King Kino making a low profile appearance. I don’t know who’s in their committee or how hard the effort was to reach the Haitian artists that were nominated this year, but I think they need to work on this for next year.
For 27 years in the making this show should have been able to pack the Apollo theatre like a can of sardines. This could have easily been accomplished had they not only reached to the Reggae artists but the world music artists as well. The word World Music really comes across as an after thought not only in the title of their name but at the award ceremony itself.