In what many consider a thankless industry, local creatives received accolades for the tremendous job that they have been doing to push the sector forward through the inaugural Gine On?! People’s Choice Awards ceremony.
The inaugural event, the brainchild of husband and wife team Dempstu DJ Simmons and Empress Zingha, founders of the Gine On digital magazine, took place on Sunday evening at the Frank Collymore Hall.
Though the importance of the occasion can not be undervalued, the light-hearted feel of the event ensured it was enjoyable. The organisers made a concerted effort to pair their presenters strategically with their categories and allowed them to give their own non-scripted introductions, adding their own essence. This gave the ceremony an even more personal touch and fostered the feeling of being from one community, even though recipients were drawn from every sphere of the cultural industries.
The presenter-awardee pairings made room for some hilarious moments. Photographer Reco Moore, known for his effervescent personality, was a ball of energy as he handed over the Designer of the Year Award to Christian Gibbs. Afterwards, he joined the host for the evening Belle Holder to show their best catwalk strut.
Previously, the awards were done through a digital format. In this edition, participants had the opportunity to step out in their finest and be recognised in a public way among their peers. It was apparent from many of the acceptance speeches that this element heightened the significance of being awarded.
Mahalia and 2 Mile Hill captured several categories. Among them were Best Open Mic of the Year and Event of the Year for Mahalia’s Corner. They also won Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year with Run It and R&B Artiste of the Year. Lead Pipe was also in winner’s row, taking home Soca Artiste of the Year and Soca Song of the Year.
Unfortunately, due to work commitments soca singer Walkes had not yet arrived when he was announced as winner of the Best Upcoming Artiste. However, just before presenting Reggae Artiste of the Year to Buggy Nakhente, he used the opportunity to express what his win meant to him. Overcome with emotion, he recounted how his grandmother, who recently passed away, had always been steadfast in her support of him and his music.
In attendance was Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King. His address was filled with praises for the cultural practitioners.
“I can tell you from my own experience there are no people anywhere in the world more or less talented than we are,” King told the gathering.
The Minister said he believes that there is a lack of confidence because artistes continue to measure themselves against the standards of others rather than choose to create their own.
“The Ministry of Creative Economy and Sports, as long as I am in charge, will continue to do whatever we can to support the arts,” he stressed.
An impassioned Empress Zingha explained that the journey to make the event a reality was an arduous one.
“We have to get to a point that when we see ourselves as Bajans, we are not ashamed of who we are, we don’t have to leave here to get validation,” she declared.
At the conclusion of the event, in the spirit of merriment, patrons moved from the hall to the foyer behind the Pompasetters Tuk Band to continue the Mix and Mingle, which started before the official commencement of the ceremony. (STT)