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Three get Observer's Entertainment Award

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Three pioneers of Jamaican music were recognised at Jamaica Observer's inaugural Entertainment Awards commemorating reggae's 50th anniversary this morning. The occasion, attended by government ministers and music insiders, was held at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston.

The three: Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, Sonny Roberts, and Anthony “Chips” Richards were lauded for their role in spreading the music globally.

Hibbert, who recorded his first song in the 1960s, coined the word reggae. He is the best touring artiste in reggae today. Roberts is the first black man to open a recording studio in the United Kingdom and one of the first persons to distribute what became Afro Beat in the 1970s.

Richards was recognised for his tireless promotion of reggae in the United Kingdom, particularly with Trojan Records. He was unable to attend the event, but sent a representative.

Guest speaker Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Entertainment, Culture, Sports and Gender, praised the awardees for laying a solid foundation for the continuous growth of reggae worldwide.

“50 years ago when the great pioneers came together in the Kingston's inner cities, little did they know that the beats, the lyrics and the melodies would years later become a global force. Little did they know that as they answered the call to the ancestors to use rhythm and bass to tell their stories and to earn a living. How could they know that today they would be called pioneers and trailblazers?...Reggae music continues the way forward and upward for us,” she said in her address.

The event's other speakers included Jamaica Observer's Managing Director, Julian Rogers; and Opposition Spokesman on Youth and Entertainment Dwayne Vaz. British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Asif Ahmad sent a video presentation in his absence. 

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