Third World recognises the committed
Commitment has long been part of Third World's musical agenda, and four reggae entertainers collected Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Third World and Family Committed 45 Years concert on Saturday at the Liguanea Club Golf Academy. Reggae veterans Toots Hibbert, Big Youth and Freddie McGregor were all honoured, as was the 'Prince of Dancehall' Yellowman.
"I feel great about receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Third World, even more so because I never expected to collect anything like this tonight," Toots Hibbert told The Gleaner. "I became committed to music since the 1960s, and it means a great deal to me to be rewarded for that." Toots was recognised for being a consistent reggae entertainer and advocate of the genre for more than five decades.
Third World's lead vocalist, A. J. Brown, said, "All the recipients of the award were deserving for their contribution to the music industry." He added, "Staying committed, or the word 'commitment', to me means discipline in every aspect of your life, and many of our veterans have managed to do so despite the challenges faced."
Third World and Family Committed 45 Years was also a fundraiser for the Alligator Head Foundation and REAP Initiative through the LASCO Chin Foundation.
One of the entertainers who had a lot to get off his chest was Yellowman, who removed his camouflage-print shirt to show a black merino, exposing his arms and chest. He spoke about his struggles, from health-related ones to those faced throughout his musical career. "It had to be done," Yellowman said. "Not only do I know the ladies love to see my body, it was a way for me to show them what it means to be comfortable in the skin you are in. Similarly to a career in music, you have to love what you are doing and know that it is your life. You have to take charge of that, no matter what age."
The Zungguzungguguzungguzeng dancehall deejay was handed the Third World Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lasco Group of Companies chairman and chief executive officer, Lascelles Chin, who said, "With all the problems and obstacles he came face to face with, Yellowman is one of those entertainers that always manages to do a fantastic job."
He was the first performer on the line-up to bring the audience to its feet the moment he arrived on stage. Yellowman touched topics from the return of Buju Banton to accepting that everyone is human and mistakes are natural. He also emphasised the importance of a crime-free Jamaica.
"When it comes on to a career, I am committed to nothing else other than music. It is the reason I have done well to produce good, compelling and lasting music for generations past, present and future," he said. "It is an honour to receive an award like this from one of the greatest talents Jamaica has seen and a legendary band like Third World." In addition to the awards, there were other surprises before what many of the patrons considered the curtain closer, a mind-blowing cover of Andrea Bocelli's Time To Say Goodbye/Con Te Partiro by A. J. Brown. He received a standing ovation and even had some members of the audience teary-eyed at his vocal control and range.
Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, who is the executive producer of Third World's upcoming album, joined the band to perform Welcome to Jamrock, Affairs of the Heart and Medication, as well as to share a few songs from the upcoming production. Jr Gong said that he was honoured to be on a stage "where all my heroes are present". He invited Shaggy to deliver an energetic performance of Boombastic, Angel and It Wasn't Me.
Other memorable acts for the night were reggae newcomers Naomi Cowan and Sevana, as well as Billy Mystic, Big Youth, Queen Ifrica, and Tessanne Chin, later joined by Wayne Marshall, who performed Glory to God, with Chin providing backing vocals and evoking a sense of reflection through prayer.