The nominees for the 39th International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) have been announced, and seasoned artist Buju Banton leads the way with 11 nominations.
On March 23, at a press conference hosted by reggae artist Gramps Morgan, the nominees for the event’s second virtual staging were announced. The theme for this year’s show is “Reggae & World Music Still Rise,” a subtle homage to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges experienced in the previous year.
Buju Banton was heavily featured among the nominee categories, which came as no surprise to many. He improved on his performance last year, when he received 10 nominations. He took home seven of the awards.
Buju Banton will contend for many musical awards this year, including the Peter Tosh Award for Recording Artiste of the Year, the Emperor of Reggae and World Music – Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year, the Gregory Isaacs Award for Best Song (Blessed), and the Toots Hibbert Award for Best Album/CD (for his album Upside Down).
The entertainer has also been nominated for the Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award in appreciation of his philanthropic work. Buju has made a difference in the lives of children in state care and other institutions through his foundation.
In addition to offering scholarships, he has donated laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices to give needy students access to classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Buju will compete for the Humanitarian award against Bounty Killer, Sharon Wiles, and Sonia Patterson.
Bounty Killer, who earned six nominations for the IRAWMA this year, is one of the artists who received multiple nominations. Six nominations were given to young performers Koffee and Popcaan.
Multiple IRAWMA winners Gramps Morgan and Tarrus Riley each received four nominations, while veteran Beenie Man and newcomer Skip Marley each received five nominations.
Vybz Kartel Was Not Nominated
Vybz Kartel, the Gaza boss, was not among the nominees, which was a surprise. Many were surprised by the omission, as Vybz Kartel has been a candidate and winner almost every year since the early 2000s.
He has consistently put in the Best Male Dancehall Artiste list, but Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Govana, and Popcaan will be his opponents this year.
Meanwhile, D’Angel was a late addition to the list of nominees, and she will compete for the Best Female Dancehall/Rap Artiste award against Spice and Shenseea.