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Buju Banton, Koffee & Popcaan Win Big At 39th IRAWMA Awards

Buju Banton, Koffee, and Popcaan among the biggest winners at the 39th annual IRAWMA Awards.

Three dancehall heavyweights in the dancehall genre dominated the 36th annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) last night, May 16. Buju Banton, Koffee, and Popcaan walked away with three trophies each.

Veteran dancehall deejay Buju Banton took home the awards for Emperor of Reggae & World Music — Hon Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year; Toots Hibbert Award for Best Album for his project Upside Down 2020; and the Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award. He had the most nominations at the event with 11.

Popcaan won the Best R&B/Hip Hop Collaboration Reggae Song with his track “Twist” featuring Drake; the U-Roy Award for Best Male Deejay; and the Best Crossover Song for “Party Next Door,” also featuring Drake.

Koffee’s three awards included Best Female Vocalist, the Peter Tosh Award for Recording Artist of the Year, and the Gregory Isaacs Award for Best Song for her fan-favorite “Lockdown.”

Other notable names who took home one award each included Chronixx and Tarrus Riley, who tied for the Jacob Miller Best Male Vocalist award. Shenseea copped the Best Female Deejay award. Beenie Man and Bounty Killer shared the award for Best Dancehall Stage Craft Entertainer, and Gramps Morgan received the award for Best Gospel Song. Sevana won the Dennis Brown Award for Most Promising Entertainer, and Sean Paul was named Best Caribbean Entertainer.

There was also a special segment dedicated to honoring the memories of some of the greats who have been lost recently. Bob Andy, U-Roy, Toots Hibbert, and Bunny Wailer were all remembered during a special performance by Daddy Michigan.

The International Reggae And World Music Awards (IRAWMA) was established in 1982 as a way of honoring the accomplishments and contributions of reggae and world music artists. According to their webpage: “The impetus behind the IRAWMA is its commitment to promoting greater participation and acceptance of Reggae, the Caribbean and World Music, Internationally.”