Entertainment fraternity members collect Nat'l Honours

Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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Cheers rang out at King's House on Monday as members of the entertainment fraternity made their way to the presentation dais to receive their National Awards. The loudest were for veteran deejay Winston “Yellowman” Foster.

The artiste, who rose to prominence during the early 1980s, was dapper in shades of red and oxblood as he made his way across the lawns of the official residence of the Governor General to be invested with the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer (OD) for his contribution to the music industry.

“Mi feel honoured and just want to give thanks to the Government and people of Jamaica... to everybody who make this whole thing possible. Mi was in New York when I hear that I was getting this award and it just give me a vibes to do a good show,” Yellowman told the Jamaica Observer following the investiture.

Another recipient who created a stir was model, singer, author and actress Grace Jones.

The elegant, statuesque Jones — who was born in Spanish Town — was among four persons to receive the Order of Jamaica for her exceptional contribution to the field of entertainment.

“This feels fantastic. In fact, I'm a little bit too excited,” Jones told journalists in a post-event interview.

“Persons have said to me 'It's kind of like how you sow the seeds and they grow' and now we are picking the fruit. So I feel like a tree that has grown and these are the fruits that are bearing and it's all really worth it to have everyone honour me like this,” she added.

In true Grace Jones fashion, the style icon wore an oversized hat by British milliner Philip Treacy from his Andy Warhol, Marilyn Munroe collection; a black jacket and shoes from Azzedine Alaa of Tunisia, and skirt by the Japanese Issey Miyake. Her jewellery included a necklace from Sweden, earrings from Dubai and Jamaican bracelets.

Other recipients included film-maker/author Barbara Blake-Hannah, who accepted an OD.

“It's truly an honour. I am just really, really honoured. It's wonderful to be recognised by your country. I just want to say follow your own path, do what you want to do, be ambitious,” she said.

“It's a wonderful feeling to be honoured by your country. It's not beyond anybody's reach, you just have to do what you have to do and do it well,” IRIE FM's Bob Clarke told the Jamaica Observer after he received the Order of Distinction.

Poet and author Joan Andrea Hutchinson's hair was styled in her trademark bumpy head Nubian/Bantu Knots to receive her OD.

“I'm elated, I'm beyond words, I'm really excited. I feel as though I am totally appreciated by my people... thank you so very much, Jamaica, for this absolute honour. Wearing the knots was intentional, yes. I don't do it very often anymore, and in fact, one of the reasons I did it is that very often the young people don't understand this concept. So I joked about wearing the bumpy head style to collect my OD and a young lady in my office said 'You woulda really wear that young girl style mek the people dem think you a follow the young people dem?'... so this is deliberate.”

Hutchinson had mixed feelings about the award as her parents and younger sister passed away in the past two months.

“I wish they were here today. Mommy, Daddy and my sister. But I feel as if they are here...so this one is for Mommy, Daddy and Camille,” said Hutchinson.

Other recipients of the Order of Distinction were veteran broadcasters Winston Barnes and Dermot Hussey, as well as former Reggae Sumfest executive producer Johnny Gourzong.

For music educator and the conductor of the Kingston College Chapel Choir Audley Davidson, who received the Badge of Honour, for Meritorious Service, the moment was not missed.

“It's a wonderful gesture. I feel very honoured, elated and humbled at the same time. I share this token with my colleagues in the music fraternity. For me this means more work; you never stop working as a music educator and it all begins with the youngsters,” said Davidson.

Broadcaster Donovan Dacres also received the Badge of Honour.

A notable absentee from this year's event was singer, actor and human rights activist Harry Belafonte, who was to have been presented with the Order of Merit. He is said to be recovering from a recent illness and will be presented with the insignia at a later date.

Music and dance educator Sheila Rickards, who was slated to be bestowed with an OD, also did not make it to Monday's ceremony.

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