Toronto, ON – The University of the West Indies today announced that Grammy award winning recording artist Shaggy will be honoured with the Luminary Award at the sixth annual University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. Shaggy joins Justice Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré, O.Q. who was announced earlier as a Luminary Award honoree.
The Luminary Award is given to people of Caribbean Heritage who are outstanding achievers on an international scale in their respective fields or people who have brought to prominence issues which affect the Caribbean.
Shaggy AKA Orville Richard Burrell is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. At 18, he and his family moved to the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York where he began performing with a Jamaican-style group. In 1988, in need of a steady income, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and in 1991 he was sent to Kuwait for a five month tour of duty during Operation Desert Storm.
He has 12 studio recordings to his name, in addition to six Grammy and three American Music Award nominations. According to Billboard.com, “he was one of the scant few reggae artists to top the album and pop singles charts in American, not to mention numerous other countries where he’s had even greater success.” He’s renowned as the biggest crossover success in dancehall reggae.
His single Oh Carolina, a cover of the Folkes Brothers’ ska hit, made him a star in Europe, but it was his album Boombastic that helped him conquer the U.S. The title track sold over a million copies, reached number three on the pop charts and number one on the R&B charts, and also became his second U.K. chart topper. The album went platinum, nearly reaching the R&B Top Ten, spent a full year at number one on Billboard’s reggae album chart and in 1996 won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album. His hit singles It Wasn’t Me, and Angel also charted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala will also award and celebrate the following community leaders for 2015: Mr. Charles S. Coffey, O.C., will receive the inaugural G. Raymond Chang Award, honouring the late business leader and philanthropist who embodied great humility and commitment to his fellow persons.
Chang, who passed away in July 2014, was the Gala’s patron for the past five years. The Chancellor’s Award will be awarded to Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival and George Brown College. The Vice Chancellor’s Award will be awarded to Mr. Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the world renowned Toronto International Film Festival and Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, a University of the West Indies alumnus and executive director of the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education (COE).
The University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala benefits the University’s Scholarship Fund, that, to date, has awarded over 200 scholarships. The Patron of the sixth annual Gala will be The Chang Family, with Dr. Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University and Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, Co-founder, Centre for Excellence for Education and Practice as acting Co-chairs.