Cultural Stalwarts Receive National Honours

Several outstanding Jamaicans who have contributed to music, film and cultural development were recognised on Monday (October 16) at the National Honours and Awards ceremony.

The cultural stalwarts are among 257 persons, including members of the uniformed groups, who received their awards from Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the function held on the lawns of King’s House.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, told JIS NEWS that “I am proud that as a nation we were able to recognise and celebrate the contributions of all these outstanding Jamaicans, particularly those in the fields of culture, entertainment and sport”.

“Each of them was selected on merit. Each has made a significant contribution to Jamaica and our reputation as a country with a powerful culture. I’m very happy that, in this year when we commemorate ‘Jamaica 55’ and celebrate Jamaicans at home and abroad… we were able to recognise these outstanding members of our national family,” she added.

Heading the list of cultural award recipients is Jamaican singer and songwriter, Neville O’Reilly “Bunny Wailer” Livingstone, who received the Order of Merit for his outstanding contribution in the field of popular music. In August 2012, he received Jamaica’s fifth highest honour, the Order of Jamaica.

Bunny Wailer was an original member of renowned reggae group “The Wailers”, which he formed in 1963 along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

He has won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album on three occasions – in 1991 for ‘Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley’; in 1995 for ‘Crucial! Roots Classics’; and 1997 for ‘Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th Anniversary.’

Speaking with JIS News, Bunny Wailer said that he is happy to receive the award.

“It is on behalf of the Wailers, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh that I receive these wonderful gifts,” he added.

He said he is working on a 50-track album, which will be out in the month, and which will celebrate Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Meanwhile, the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD), was conferred on Professor Keith Morrison for outstanding contribution in the field of Art locally and internationally; and Robert Russell for outstanding contribution to the Music, Entertainment, Tourism and Film Industries.

The Order of Distinction, Officer Class (OD) was presented to Carl Bradshaw, for outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s Film Industry; Copeland Forbes, for outstanding contribution to the Development of Jamaican Music; Rosina Moder, for contribution to the Development of Jamaican Music and the preservation of its history; Carlos Malcolm, for dedication to producing, preserving and presenting Jamaican Music as a richly diverse musical form; Lloyd Stanbury, for service to the Entertainment, Music and Media Industries in Jamaica.

Other recipients of the OD are Ferdinand “Bobby Little Bra” Gaynair for outstanding contribution as a pioneer in the development of popular Jamaican Music; Patrick Brown, for outstanding contribution to Theatre; Maxine Walters, for distinguished contribution to the promotion and preservation of Jamaican culture; Joseph “Josey Wales” Sterling, for significant contribution to the Jamaican Music Industry and Clyde McKenzie, for service to the Creative Industry, Media and Broadcasting.

Playwright/screenwriter/director Patrick Brown told JIS News that “it is a nice feeling to be recognised”, and he will continue working in theatre as long as he is able.

With a rich and extensive body of work, he is perhaps the country’s most prolific playwright with award-winning stage productions such as ‘Cornflakes’, ‘Yard 89’, ‘Friends’, ‘Yard 99’, ‘Stillborn’, ‘River Bottom’,’‘Cindy-relisha’, ‘December’, ‘Glass Slippaz’, ‘Ladies of the Night’ and ‘If There’s a Will There’s A Wife’.

“I do two shows per year consistently for the past 15 years… as long as the brain functions, I will try to do it. It is what I love to do. It is what I abandoned engineering to do, so it is a kind of labour of love,” Mr. Brown said.

He credited his success to “good luck”.

“I think I have been lucky, and I hope the luck continues. I hope people will come and continue to enjoy the shows, and I hope that I never disappoint them. That is my hope; that is my wish,” he added.

Copeland Forbes, whose career spans more than 50 years in the music industry as a tour manager and reggae historian, was also elated to receive an OD.

“I am very honoured and thrilled, because I have 250 awards in my house and this is the first time I am getting a national one from my own country, so I really feel proud and honoured, and I must thank all those who participated in nominating me,” he said.

Mr. Forbes informed that he has been doing lectures on Jamaica’s music, history and culture to audiences worldwide, particularly in South America, England and Thailand.

“I decided to move to another level, because we need to get our country’s history out there in the international world. So, since I have the knowledge and the knowhow to do it, I just decided to take up that mantel,” he noted.

Over the years, Mr. Forbes has managed artistes such as Jimmy Cliff, Black Uhuru, Sly and Robbie, Third World, Dennis Brown, U-Roy, Marcia Griffiths, Frankie Paul, Morgan Heritage, I-Three and Luciano.

Actor Michael Nicholson received the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

“I’m very excited. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t know it was going to happen. I had no idea that anyone had been tracking the kind of work that I had done with the JCDC,” he told JIS News.

Mr. Nicholson, who has made outstanding contributions to cultural development in Jamaica for more than 26 years, said he enjoys his job at the JCDC.

“You have to really enjoy what you do in order for that to happen, which I do very much,” he said.

Mr. Nicholson has done exceptional work in events management for many national celebratory events and State visits.

“It is good that I have been accredited for what I have done for the JCDC, the government and people of Jamaica. I feel very happy about that. It feels like a sense of achievement that, finally, you have gotten recognition for your work,” he added.

Known to many as “String Bean”, a character he played in the local television Drama ‘Royal Palm Estate’, Mr. Nicholson said he is also pleased that several artistes have been honoured for their work and contribution to culture.

“People are taking notice that the work of culture is being held in high esteem in the Government, and that you can actually do the work in terms of the creative industries and can make it out there and achieve recognition,” he said.

By Elaine Hartman Reckord

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