Icon award presented to Freddie McGregor
Reggae icon Freddie McGregor is still basking in the honour of being the very first recipient of the ‘Black History Month meets Reggae Icon Award,’ which was presented to him recently at a glitzy, red-carpet event in the city of Miramar in Florida. Held under the patronage of Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, the free event was hosted at the Miramar Cultural Centre, and, once announced, the tickets went in hours.
“They were even considering moving to a bigger venue, but there were concerns about the weather,” a still very surprised McGregor told The Gleaner. For him, the evening, which he dubbed “a serious red-carpet affair” was awesome.
“I feel really honoured to be the recipient of this award. People came out in droves and I ran into this red-carpet situation, where everyone wanted to take pictures. It was a really special evening,” he said.
Singing group One Third flew to Florida to perform at the event, and a poet named Dr Sue impressed. “Bwoy, I don’t know where that lady got those words from, but it was awesome. I just sat there soaking it all up, and it hit me that if I were dead I wouldn’t get to experience this moment. The vice-mayor of Miramar, Alexandra P. Davis, presented the award and Minister Grange presented me with a Reggae Month shirt,” McGregor said, going into details.
He shared that in her address, Minister Grange declared that Black History Month meeting reggae was “a wonderful link-up;” he expressed his own pleasure that Reggae Month is “going global”. At last December’s launch of Reggae Month 2020, the Government’s plans to collaborate with the city of Miramar to stage activities were revealed. Miramar, home to nearly two million residents, has a significant population of Jamaican nationals, and is deemed central to the diaspora in Southern Florida. Vice-Mayor Davis is a Wolmer’s Girls’ School and University of the West Indies (UWI) alumnus, and was also special guest at the Reggae Month launch.
Enhancement of reggae
Minister Grange, in her address at the award function, noted, “At a time when the United Nations is commemorating the International Decade for people of African Descent, it is important for all of us to play our part in the enhancement of reggae. Here in the diaspora, it is about engaging with those who are responsible for the promotion of shows and events so that reggae music will continue to provide opportunities for income generation, wealth creation, and also to promote Black pride.”
She revealed plans to expand to New York, Washington, Los Angeles, the UK and Toronto for Reggae Month 2021.
As the very first chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, an umbrella organisation for the music industry, McGregor said he was happy that persons are finally understanding the mandate and are supporting the combined efforts of the Ministry of Culture and other stakeholders.
“I came back last night, and when I looked and saw the amount of things happening for Reggae Month, all I could say is, bwoy, this year mek the ting look like Jamaica really have something going on in the month of February,” McGregor stated. He added, “This is a good look and this tells me that Reggae Month next year a go tun upside down.”