The Jamaican reggae artists Buju Banton, Busy Signal, and Koffee were the top winners at the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) online event program. Organizers of the event decided to “go on with the show” online in in response to the limitations imposed by COVID-19 social-distancing mandates to stop the spread of the disease. In an interview with the Jamaican Observer, IRAWMA’s Ephraim Martin said that while the COVID-19 situation was a setback for the event, “There was a big delegation coming from Africa this year, as the award show is very popular there…we decided that we just had to go ahead given the importance of these awards to the entertainment industry. So we had to do our best.”
Banton took home seven awards, including The Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award; Best R&B/Hip Hop collaboration for Holy Mountain featuring DJ Khaled; Best Dancehall Statgecraft Entertainer; Most Cultural/Educational Entertainer and Best Caribbean Entertainer. Banton tied with Beenie Man for this last award. Banton’s Til Shiloh Band received the Most Outstanding Show Band, and his Long Walk To Freedom concert, his first following a 10-year prison sentence, was named Concert of The Year.
Another big winner at the IRAWMA event was Jamaica’s superstar singer Koffee, who received four awards. The singer also won a Grammy this year for Best Reggae Album. Her IRAWMA wins included Best Female Vocalist, Best Song for Toast, Best Album (Rapture); and Best Music Video for Toast.
Busy Signal, whose given name is Reanno Devon Gordon, received the Dancehall Artiste of the Decade award. The presentation of the award was in recognition of his contributions to the music industry.
Other award winners included veteran Freddie McGregor who was named Most Consistent Entertainer; Stone Love who was voted Best Sound System, and Dig Dong and Ravers Clavers who won for Most Outstanding Dance Group.