Krista Anderson, Gleaner Writer
A small-but-intimate crowd came alive at the press launch of BEFFTA Caribbean on Saturday, February 9, at South Beach Café in Kingston. Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts Award (BEFFTA) Caribbean, set to take place in Jamaica on July 28, began in the United Kingdom and has spread its wings to acknowledge and award African and Caribbean personalities who work on and behind the scenes within the USA, Canada, Australia, Africa, and now the Caribbean region.
Pauline Long, Kenya-born and UK-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, started BEFFTA in 2009 to celebrate the arts within the community. Individuals can now be recognised for their hard work, dedication and passion for their specific art forms.
Verona White, the international marketing manager of BEFFTA, was the host for the evening's proceedings. White, a trained celebrity hairstylist who is of Jamaican parentage, is very passionate about entertainment and understands the importance of rewarding talent, which is why she insisted to the committee that there be a BEFFTA Caribbean, and that it be held here in Jamaica. She explained that BEFFTA will be providing a platform for exposing new and experienced talent to the world. Nominees and awardees will have the support of an international company on its belt, and will have links to the United States and the UK. They are currently looking to expand to Kenya and connect all the cultural communities.
The current Miss Jamaica UK Gemma Feare, who was co-host for the evening, declared that she is proud to be a BEFFTA ambassador.
Among the many categories, there will be 12 honourees this year who will be awarded for their long-standing service in their areas of expertise; this includes the famous Jamaican sound system Stone Love, and reggae veteran, Freddie McGregor. Other categories will be open to the public for nomination via the association's website.