By Basil Walters

SINGER Ken Boothe, whose career started in the mid-1960s, is this year’s recipient of the Marcus Garvey Award in the field of music.

He received the award Saturday evening from Festival Queen Krystal Tomlinson, during a ceremony produced by the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s UNIA’s chapter.

Festival Queen Krystal Tomlinson (right) presents reggae singer Ken Boothe (right) with his Marcus Garvey Award for his contribution to music from at Devon House in St Andrew on Saturday. (PHOTOS: NAPHTALI JUNIOR)

The fifth staging of the event was held at Devon House in St Andrew to celebrate the national hero’s 126th birthday.

“You see this award, I accept it on behalf of my mother and father. They were Marcus Garveyites. They always talking about Marcus Garvey,” said Boothe in his acceptance speech.

He later performed Is It Because I’m Black as well as Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend Marcus.

Jamaica’s UNIA president Steven Golding spoke of Garvey’s relevance, 63 years after his death.

“Long before Vybz Kartel and Jah Cure, Marcus Garvey was writing music from behind prison bars,” said Golding.

There were other delightful presentations including the UNIA’s ritual and prayer by the Hydel Prep Garvey Club.

Also of note were singer Kelissa with Afrika, the Kingston Drummers, Nichelous who performed Teachings of Marcus Garvey (accompanied by the Hydel Prep School Garvey Club).

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey

The ceremony got even more animated with the appearance of singer Jah Bouks, who performed his hit song, Call Angola.

Winners of the Arts Award, El Grupo Cativeiro Capoeira, executed their self-defence routine well.

Singer Romain Virgo lived up to his growing reputation with I Cry Tears For You. The music segment closed with Portland mento band The Jolly Boys performing folk standards like Emmanuel Road and Shillin’ With Di Lion Pon Ye.

Also honoured posthumously was Beverly Hamilton with the Journalism Award. Hamilton, who died July 17, wrote profusely on Garvey’s contribution to the Jamaican arts. Her sister, Mama Farika, accepted the award.

Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero, was born in St Ann. Considered father of the Pan African movement, he has inspired numerous reggae artistes including Burning Spear, Culture and Bob Marley. Garvey died in London in 1940 at age 53.