Professor of Culture, Gender and Society at the University of the West Indies Professor Donna P. Hope has joined her Dancehall compatriot Patrick Roberts in calling for Bounty Killer and Beenie Man to be bestowed with the Order of Distinction.
“Bounty Killer, with his pedigree and the many artistes he has brought forward, I think he is long deserving of an award. Him and Beenie Man. I think they brought dancehall to the forefront, and they continue to do so,” Hope, also known as the Dancehall Doctor, said in an interview with the Star.
Her comments came on the heels of the furore following Wayne Marshall’s Order of Distinction Award at the National Honours and Awards ceremony on National Heroes Day on Monday.
Prior to, and after receiving the award, many people have been arguing that the ‘Glory to God’ singer had been unfairly given the award, whilst Dancehall elders, including his mentor Bounty Killer, who groomed him via the Alliance Movement, were left out.
But, according to the Dancehall Doctor, fans of the artists who are unhappy that the duo has not been given national accolades, should “put pen to paper” and cast nominations for the men.
“I’ve been seeing this conversation online and everywhere, almost as if people are campaigning against Wayne Marshall. But my question is, who are they campaigning for? If you think someone else should have got the award, then nominate them,” she told The Star tabloid.
“Perhaps for the next round of nominations, persons can put out a call for who they want to see. This means that people will have to make a decision on their teams to put their pens to paper and do the work,” she added.
Each year, between January and March, Jamaicans are invited to submit nominations for the possible selection of persons to be considered for the conferment of National Civil Honours and Awards, in accordance with the provisions of the National Honours and Awards Act and Regulations, for appointments to and promotions within the Orders of the Societies of Honour.
The national awards are determined by the Chancery of the Orders of the Societies of Honour and include The Order of Merit (OM); The Order of Jamaica (OJ); The Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) and in the rank of Officer (OD).
There are also awards of the Badge of Honour for Gallantry, for Meritorious Service and for Long and Faithful Service.
The Civil Honours and Awards are conferred by The Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister and are published in the Jamaica Gazette Extraordinary and announced in the media on Independence Day.
According to The Star, Professor Hope also noted that whilst she was not sure of the criteria for the selection process, “she believes Wayne Marshall’s catalogue must have been fit enough to warrant the award”.
“In all of this, I am just happy that people from that generation (1990s to mid-2000s) are being highlighted… When you hear about these recipients it is always persons from an older generation. So, like the Shabba Ranks, and the Daddy U-Roy’s get already,” she was quoted as saying.
Marshall, along with Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths, and Reggae/Dancehall singer Tarrus Riley, were among 125 Jamaicans who were presented with National Honours at Kings House on National Heroes Day.
Griffiths was presented with the Order of Jamaica for her significant contribution to the Reggae industry locally and internationally. Her O.J. came almost 10 years after she was bestowed with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) back in 2014.
Wayne Marshall was presented with the accolades for his contribution to Reggae Music, while Tarrus Riley received his OD for his “contribution to Reggae Music entertainment locally and internationally”.
In mid-August, Shocking Vibes producer Patrick Roberts had declared that Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, and Capleton had been overlooked for National Awards for their contribution to Jamaican music, and said he would personally nominate them for the 2024 listing.
Roberts, who is also councillor of the Molynes Gardens Division of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, was speaking against the background of what he said were criticisms of the nominees for this year’s awards.
“If we are really celebrating 61 years of Independence this year, these artistes’ names should have come up. They each have more than 30 years of service in the business and all three are still current… that in itself is an achievement,” Roberts had told The Star following the announcement of the 2023 recipients on Independence Day, adding that it would be a travesty if “the little controversies that may have surrounded them would be reason for them to be punished by withholding such an honour”.
The Order of Distinction is awarded to Jamaican citizens who render outstanding and important services to the country, and upon any distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica (an honorary member).
Lieutenant Stitchie, Yellowman, U-Roy, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Agent Sasco and Shabba Ranks are the Dancehall artists who have received the Order of Distinction, the island’s sixth-highest honour, from the Government of Jamaica so far.
Last year Agent Sasco was among 142 Jamaicans who were bestowed with National Honours on National Heroes Day. The Hope River artiste was inducted into the Order of Distinction (OD) in the rank of officer for his “outstanding contribution to music, philanthropy and positive pro-social message to youths”.