International and World Reggae Music Awards (IRAWMA) PDF Print E-mail

It all started as a challenge thrown out by the late King of Reggae Bob Marley to have Jamaicans find meaningful ways to recognise their own for their contribution to world music. 

left to right) Miss Jamaica World Yendi Phillips, IRAWMA CEO Ephraim Martin, Cecile and D'Angel at IRAWMA

Today, twenty six years after his passing, the International Reggae and World Music Awards  is as popular as ever with a fan base that numbers in the millions world wide. The annual red carpet gala event will once again turn  the spotlight on whose hot and happening in the genre of reggae and dancehall.   

It will be a never ending talent parade at the place where many artistes and entertainers got their first big break. The Apollo Theatre in New York will be the venue of the 27th annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) on Sunday May 4, 2008.  Deejays, managers, promoters and media personnel came out to the Jonkanoo Lounge on Wednesday March 5 to hear this year’s list of IRAWMA nominees, based on fans selection of music released between December 2006 and November 2007. 

The brain child of IRAWMA President Ephraim Martin, the awards were spawned out of an idea he said was planted by the late reggae superstar Bob Marley who told him that Jamaicans need to have avenues wherein we recognise our own as being world class.  “Up until 1982 there was no international recognition for reggae music. 

In 1980 I was at the Gleaner covering an assignment and Bob Marley had just returned from Brazil and was showing off an award he had received there.  At the time he was challenging the Jamaican media to highlight the fact that we had no awards for our artistes.  The following day Jacob Miller died and the next year Bob also died. 

Some time later Copeland Forbes came to Chicago with Peter Tosh and we talked about it and I eventually started the Chicago International Music Awards. I am very pleased that today the award is known around the world.  We have over 1,000 judges who select the nominees but you the voting public have the last say in who is awarded. I therefore urge you to go online and cast your votes.  If you think an artiste deserves to win in a particular category cast your vote,  that is how it works.


Over 1,000 music industry experts were polled for the nominations, which were then verified by an accounting firm before the list was officially released. Votes are now being accepted at, up to April 20 and only one vote will be allowed per person.  Those who cannot make the live star-studded red carpet event at the Apollo Theatre, can see the show through a webcast. Clips will also be shown in 21 Caribbean countries.


Set to rock the house at the Apollo are Kymani Marley, Winsome Benjamin, Doug E. Fresh, Beenie Man and Taurus Riley. This year’s show is dedicated to health awareness and will bring into focus the lack of health and medical attention in the entertainment industry.

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