OM to Belafonte, OJ to Yellowman and Grace Jones
Later this year singer, actor and human right activist Harry Belafonte, will join the list of persons who have been bestowed with the Order of Merit (OM) by the Jamaican government for his “outstanding contribution” in the cultural field.
The list of National Honours and Awards was published today — Jamaica’s 56th anniversary of Independence. Last year Neville ‘Bunny Wailer’ Livingstone, founding member of The Wailers, was honoured with an OM, and Dr James ‘Jimmy Cliff’ Chambers received it in 2003.
This year, Belafonte, whose given name is Harold George Bellanfanti Jr., is the sole recipient of the OM — Jamaica’s third highest national honour and the highest category on the 2018 list. Actress and singer Grace Jones will be awarded the Order of Jamaica “for exceptional contribution in the field of entertainment internationally.”
Belafonte is credited with the first million copy selling album — the 1956 release ‘Calypso’ (which includes ‘Day-O’ and ‘Jamaica Farewell’), as the New York Daily News reported on the album’s 60th anniversary in 2016. Among Grace Jones’ movie appearances are ‘Conan the Destroyer’ (1984) and the James Bond film ‘A View to a Kill’ (1985). Her recordings include ‘Pull Up to the Bumper’.
The other persons being honoured this year for their contribution to culture and entertainment include broadcaster Winston Barnes, who will receive the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander “for dedicated service to the Jamaican music industry and media.” Most of the honorees will receive the OD in the rank of Officer. They are Barbara Blake-Hannah; broadcaster Walter ‘Bob’ Clarke; deejay Winston ‘Yellowman’ Foster; John Gourzong of Sumfest; broadcaster Dermot Hussey; writer and performer Joan Andrea Hutchinson and Sheila Rickards “for contribution to the cultural arts, in particular the fields of music and dance.”