Organizers of the recently concluded Excellence in Music & Entertainment Awards (EME), disclosed today that award recipients who were not present at the 7th annual presentation ceremony at Devon House in Kingston on March 12 will not receive the actual trophies this year.
“The executive committee of the EME Awards made the unanimous decision that award recipients who were in Jamaica at the time of the event and who choose not to attend the event or send a representative to collect the award(s) on their behalf, have forfeited their rights to the trophy. We realize this is an unprecedented decision but after careful consideration, we feel this is the right decision and something that must be done to protect the integrity and longevity of the event” founder and CEO Richard ’Richie B’ Burgess said.
“The EME awards was conceived to honor and recognize the accomplishments of our own local reggae/dancehall stars in categories such as DJ of the Year, Best New Artist, Vocalist of the Year, Producer of the Year and the new category Artist of the Decade. If those being honored don't see the need to attend or participate in the process, then they do not deserve to receive the award. Respect goes both ways. It is as simple as that” he reiterated.
Burgess said Shaggy and Wayne Wonder’s appeal to their peers to support the ‘local artistes and local music' points to a bigger problem in the industry.
“It is sad when international acts like Trina or Eve commit to travel to Jamaica, just so they can be here to collect their awards, while our own reggae stars chose to stay home. This is a symptom of a bigger problem in our industry that has to be addressed sooner than later. The industry is on a downward spiral. If corrective actions are not take immediately, we stand to back pedal on some of the significant strides that were made by those who preceded us in the industry” he noted.
On the positive side, Burgess said the EME Awards had many things to celebrate, including the international coverage the event garnered this year.
“A lot of work went in producing and promoting the event not just in Jamaica but to the international community as well. I am happy to report, we received positive pre-coverage in the USA Today, Fuse TV, the NY Daily News, Live News India, On Wax Magazine, Ace Showbiz, MTV, Hip Hop Weekly, Hip Hop Wired and the Star Magazine in England, which all carried editorial content about the 2011 EME Awards. We registered hits from as many as 176 different countries around the world including the USA, UK, Russian Federation, Belgium, Kenya, Poland, India and China. Search engine results on Google for EME Awards 2011 reached nearly 500,000, which demonstrates the international appeal of our music. This speaks to the need for us as a country to seize the opportunities to properly market and promote our music” he said.
Concerning the fate of future presentations, Burgess said the biggest challenge the EME faces is corporate sponsorship.
“The truth is, much more assistance is required from corporate businesses, the JTB and the government if we are to survive“ he said.
Performers at the 2011 EME Awards were rappers Trina and EVE, reggae acts Wayne Wonder, Lady Saw, Etana, Tony Anthony, Leba Hibberts, Toya and Harry Toddler.