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Bounty Killer and Bennie Man to Get Lifetime Awards from MECA

Beenie Man vs. Bounty Killer Verzuz Results in 216% Increase of their Music Catalog

The Marketplace Entertainment Center for the Arts (MECA) honored Bounty Killer and Bennie Man at its awards show on December 28, 2022. Featured at the awards show will be the presentation of lifetime awards from MECA to Jamaican recording artists Bounty Killer and Beenie Man.

The two reggae artists competed in the first in-person reggae Verzuz battle on Instagram Live on May 23, 2020. This was the first time that two musicians competed in a physical, not virtual, space. At the completion of the two-hour livestream event, Bounty Killer said that this was how they represent the culture. The duo sang “One Love” by Bob Marley at the end of their battle, which drew an audience of over 450,000 fans, including superstar singer Rihanna and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. The battle was described as the best thing to happen in 2020. The battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer was one part of a series produced by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland as a way to entertain fans during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer took home the winning title from the Verzuz battle, and viewers voted the battle between the dancehall reggae legends as their all-time favorite in a Billboard poll published September 1, 2022. Winning 88 percent of the vote for their Verzuz battle, over 44 percent of the total votes came from their fans in Jamaica. The deejays returned to the historic soundclash competitions of the 1950s in Jamaica with their Verzuz battle and introduced a new battle format by being the first two artists to perform in the same room on the IG Live feed.

The awards program had been originally scheduled for August but was delayed as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact travel schedules. Instead, MECA is hosting the award during Christmas Week when many Jamaican entertainers are more likely to be at home. The MECA Awards are meant to provide a real representation of the current entertainment industry since the Marketplace venue in Kingston is a top spot for Jamaican nightlife and is frequented by international celebrities.

The MECA awards are presented in a multitude of categories, including Best Cosmetologist, Best Entertainment Food Spot, Best Entertainment TV show, Artistes of the Year, Dancer of the Year, and Breakout Celebrity. MECA’s strategy has been to include all areas of the entertainment industry.

The Jamaican-based awards show had nominations and voting to the public.

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Stephanie Korney