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First female wins Reggae Grammy: First Black First Lady takes one too

Thirty-five years after the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences introduced a reggae category to their roster of outstanding Grammy-worthy music achievers, Jamaican Koffee broke the glass ceiling to emerge the first female to win the genre’s best album gramophone.

The teenaged, deejay won the coveted prize for her debut EP title “Rapture.”

“Koffee’s achievement is inspirational for us all, especially emerging artists and women artists who continue to beat against the glass ceiling as they build lasting careers,” Olivia Grange, the nation’s minister of culture said after the announcement was made at the 62nd annual awards held at the Staples Center in California.

Mikayla Simpson better known as Koffee made history for her gender beating out veteran male reggae musicians Third World, Julian Marley, Sly & Robbie & Roots Radics, Steel Pulse with the infectious recordings and probably endeared more than a few with the single “Toast.”

President Barack Obama even added the track to his summer playlist.

And while she is being lauded for her gender-achieving feat, a generation is adding her to the list of accomplished youths for being the youngest reggae talent to win the coveted prize.

Her single dominated last summer’s radio playlists gaining appeal throughout international circles to quickly establish Koffee the hottest commodity.

“Blessings all pon mi life and me thanks God for di journey, di earnings a jus fi di plus...Gratitude is a must, me see blessings fall by mi right hand...buss a toast fi di friends weh tek off heavy load...”

Teenaged deejay, Koffee penned those lyrics and with her guitar strummed a song Columbia Records embraced with a signed deal in 2019.

“Koffee is an outstanding ambassador of the reggae music of Jamaica, despite her young age, and is thoroughly deserving of the reggae Grammy for her well produced album, Rapture,” Grange added.

In her acceptance speech she acknowledged the male colleagues in the category thanking the producers that contributed to making the EP. “Blessings, everyone I want to thank everyone for the input they have made to reggae and the music industry.”

“I want to pay respect” to the other contenders “for all the input they have made to reggae...I have learnt a lot from them.”

“This one is for reggae...this one is for Jamaica.”

February, Reggae Month in Jamaica Koffee will celebrate her 20th birthday anniversary, perform in Miami during Super Bowl weekend and later will take the big stage during Coachella.


The first Black firstlady of the United States can add another trophy to her collection of collectibles. Michelle Obama won the best spoken word album category for her much=talked about audio-book titled “Becoming.”

The book traces her journey from the southside of Chicago to the White House where she lived for eight years.

She did not attend this year’s ceremonies but last year made a memorable appearance with hostess Alicia Keyes, Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett, and Jennifer Lopez.

At that time she echoed sentiments expressed about music adding that she had worn out Motown records when she was growing up. She lauded the effects music has on individuals and the world.

Her husband former President Barack Obama won a Grammy in the same category in 2008 for his audio book “The Audacity of Hope.”

That year he beat two former presidents -- Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.


The week leading to Sunday’s Grammy celebration featured performances and nightly celebrations honoring the legacy of Robert Nesta Marley.

Presented by the Marley family and Island Records along with Primary Wave Music Publishing, commemorative concerts marking the reggae legend’s 75th birthday anniversary were held in California and featured his music, a pop up shop offering Marley merchandise, and tributes from his grandson Skip and son Julian.

An all-star roster of Island Records’ talents kept the music constant at the One Love Hotel in Hollywood.

Named for a hit song by the acclaimed king of reggae, the residency at the hotel honored “the life and music of Bob Marley, whose spirit carries on every day as one of the foundation of the company,” Darcus Beese, President of Island Records said.

Marley was signed to the label in 1972 by its founder Chris Blackwell.

“Some almost 40 years later Bob Marley is still a symbol of hope and freedom,” Blackwell said. “”Important to so many because he spoke to people in all walks of life and in all corners of the earth. He felt their struggle and fought their fight.”

Marley died May 11, 1981 at age 36.

His 75th birthday anniversary will be commemorated here on Feb. 6 with tribute concerts at SONY Hall. Jamaica will honor his legacy all month and the Marley family plans tributes throughout the year for an all year world-wide celebration.

Catch You On The Inside!

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