In addition to entertainer of the year, Damian, the youngest son of Bob Marley, took home the trophies for music video and recording artist of the year. He and his older brother Stephen shared the songwriter of the year award for co-writing “Welcome to Jamrock,” their study of the poverty and violence-riddled side of Jamaica.
Rocksteady star Alton Ellis and reggae vet Eddy Grant were bestowed with with hall of fame honors, while Africa Unite, the concert held in Ethiopia last year marking what would have been Bob Marley’s 60th birthday, was named best concert.
Other winners included Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu for best new entertainer, Marcia Griffiths for best female vocalist, Jah Cure for best male vocalist, Daddy Yankee for best reggaeton entertainer and Gyptian for most promising entertainer.
Tuff Gong chief Cristy Barber and booking agent Peter Schwartz of the Agency Group were given special awards of appreciation, as was producer and artist Glen Adams, a member of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s pioneering reggae group the Upsetters.
On stage, Ellis dipped ever so slightly into his “I’m Still in Love With You Girl,” which Sean Paul famously covered. Gyptian delivered his Caribbean hit “Serious Times” and Griffiths led audience members in the “Electric Slide.” Performing “Road to Zion” and “Welcome to Jamrock,” Marley was joined onstage by rapper Nas, who guests on the album, before welcoming all of the artists back onstage for a finale of “One Love.”
– Story and photo: Wes Orshoski, N.Y. Billboard