Six get Tosh Awards

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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LATE South African President Nelson Mandela was among the winners of the inaugural Peter Tosh Awards held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston last Thursday.

The anti-Apartheid campaigner and prisoner, who became the first democratically elected president in that African state, was honoured with the Equal Rights Award for making an outstanding contribution to the struggle for basic human rights for all.

“The award to Mandela was unanimous, based on the fact that he truly embodied Tosh's call for equal rights and justice. Tosh died before Mandela, but his work was definitely among the lines for which Peter was passionate,” Kingsley Cooper, co-founder of the Peter Tosh Museum, told the Jamaica Observer.

Mandela died in December 2013. He was 95.

The Peter Tosh Awards recognises individuals who have contributed to furthering the goals of Tosh's activism, namely struggles for equal rights and justice, and the legalisation of marijuana.

“This year's list of awardees is definitely a difficult one to top, given the profile of the recipients. But this will be an annual event and we are sure that we can find deserving recipients come next year. The awards are not restricted to Jamaicans given Peter's global influence, so there are more than enough who will qualify,” said Cooper.

Reggae artiste Luciano and long-time campaigner for the legalisation of ganja, Ras Iyah V, both received the Legalize It Award for their sustained efforts in the call for the legalisation of ganja.

Former Tosh manager and confidant Copeland Forbes received the Bush Doctor Award for his outstanding contribution to the development of the Jamaican music industry.

Tosh was a founding member of The Wailers, along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. Both former bandmates were awarded the Steppin' Razor Award, for being influential in the cultivation of the arts and entertainment throughout their careers.

The members of reggae band Word Sound and Power, Tosh's touring aggregations was recognised for their work at Thursday's event. They include guitarist Mikey Chung, guitarist Donald Kinsey, singer Carlton Smith, singer Pam Hall, bassist George “Fully” Fullwood, keyboardist Keith Sterling, drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, keyboardist Robbie Lyn, saxophonist Dean Fraser, and guitarist Steve Golding.

The Peter Tosh Awards formed part of a series of events which centred on the reggae icon's October 19 birthday. Among the events was a symposium at the University of the West Indies, Mona last Friday; the Tribute Concert at the Pulse Complex on Saturday; and a gathering at Tosh's final resting place in Belmont, Westmoreland on Sunday.

Tosh, was killed at his St Andrew home on September 11, 1987. He is known for tracks, including Legalize It, Mama Africa, Johnny B Goode, and Buckingham Palace.

— Richard Johnson




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