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American Friends of Jamaica 25th Anniversary Benefit Gala to honor Chris Blackwell

New York, NY – The American Friends of Jamaica announced today that Chris Blackwell, Founder Island Records, Island Outpost and Palm Pictures is to receive its prestigious International Humanitarian Award later this year.

The award is to be presented at the organization’s Silver Anniversary Celebratory Benefit Gala and Auction. The silver-themed black-tie event will be held at Cipriani 23rd St. on Thursday October 19, 2006 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in New York.

For the last half-century the course of the recording industry has been profoundly influenced, if not entirely guided, by a few uniquely driven businessmen and entrepreneurs who mostly keep themselves to themselves and who prefer to keep their faces out of the media.

Some, like John Hammond and Clive Davis controlled the destinies of existing record labels. Amongst this elite group must also be included Chris Blackwell, who not only founded and managed Island Records that released hit records over four decades – many of which he produced, but who has also branched out successfully into film production with Palm Pictures, hotel management with Island Outpost.

AFJ Chairman Glen Holden adds, ‘Chris has been a visionary in all the diverse industries he has served, his contributions have been significant and played a critical role in increasing access to Jamaican music worldwide’.

Mr. Blackwell joins a distinguished list of individuals and corporations who have received the award to date including Ralph Lauren, Canadian billionaire and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin, President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel and Oliver Clarke, Chairman and Managing Director of the Gleaner Company Limited. Bob Marley also received this award posthumously in 2001.

The AFJ gala, known for its elegance attracts American and Jamaican businesspersons, philanthropists, social sector leaders and members of the diplomatic corps worldwide.

The American Friends of Jamaica provides aid to Jamaican non-profits in education, healthcare and economic development. Keisha Phipps, AFJ Executive Director adds, the event is more than a gala; it is an opportunity for networking with those interested in and committed to the development of Jamaica. We have a responsibility to assist the most vulnerable in society and know our contributions over the years have made a lasting impact’.

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