NEW YORK, NY (RHONA FOX, INC.) – The first GRAMMY for reggae was handed out in 1985. Picking up the prize was Black Uhuru for their album Anthem. It was a historical moment for Caribbean musicians and people; a moment the world missed, except for attendees.
Fast-forward 23 years later. This February 10th marks the 50th installment of the prestigious award ceremony, where musicians in every aspect of the industry are honored by their peers and critics alike. 23 years later and still reggae fans will not be able to witness the winning of the GRAMMY Award for Best Reggae Album.
Reggae artists today hail not only from Jamaica. Notable recordings have been reaped from Africans (the late Lucky Dube), Trinidadians (Marlon Asher), Germans (Gentleman), Italians (Alberosie), Guyanese (Natural Black), U.S. Virgin Islanders (Pressure), and too many more to mention. Reggae transcends the borders of its native land of Jamaica, and has infiltrated international perimeters and minds. So why does it still receive no face time, and thus no proper acknowledgement, from the Recording Academy, arguably the world’s largest stage and biggest honor in music?
Sean Paul is the second reggae artist to reach the #1 spot on Billboard Hot 100, and the only reggae artist to do so three times. Shaggy was the first to score with “Boombastic” in 1995.
Dancehall reggae star Sean Paul, whose singles from his two recent albums Trinity (Atlantic/VP, 2005) and Dutty Rock (VP, 2002) have sent him to the very top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, is testimony that reggae is now very much a part of American pop culture. Soundtracks from Hollywood blockbusters such as 50 First Dates featuring Wayne Wonder’s “Hold Me Now” continue to prove that Caribbean artists are indeed a force to be reckoned with in mainstream music.
The 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards is still a disappointment for Caribbean music, with the exception of a performance from Bajan jewel Rihanna. This year, the only place you will be able to find evidence of the reggae nominee winning the Reggae GRAMMY will be on his MySpace page, hopefully.
A petition to force the presentation of the award into the obnoxiously long 3-hours and 30-minute television broadcast was started a few years ago by New York-based publicist Shilo Evans. Click here, www.petitiononline.com/reggae1/petition.html to sign it so perhaps we can all have something to look forward to next year, instead of merely hearing about it.
Congratulations to this year’s nominees; they are all winners for keeping the genre alive.
2008 Grammy Nominees for Best Reggae Album
The Burning Spear Experience
(Burning Music Production)
(Tuff Gong/Ghetto Youths/Universal Republic)
Lee “Scratch” Perry
The End Of An American Dream
Sly & Robbie And The Taxi Gang
Toots & The Maytals
Light Your Light
The ceremony airs on Sunday, February 10th
at 8:00pm (EST) on CBS Television.