Monday, August 15, 2016


IMC Group Inc., in conjunction with Upscale Productions Inc and the Sickle Cell Trust Inc., hosted the first so-called Jambassador Awards show at The Rochdale Community Center in Queens.  So named in recognition of those Jamaicans making a mark in their community; who in doing so, also honor their Jamaican heritage.

The venue was beautifully decorated in the easily recognizable Black Green & Gold, the national colors of Jamaica which not only recently celebrated her 54th year of independence, but who is also being represented at the 2016 Rio Olympics by the best and brightest athletes.
The Jambassador Awards was the hot ticket in town on Saturday August 6, the actual Jamaican Independence day and Jamaicans and supporters filled the grand ballroom to celebrate in style.  Tickets reasonably priced at $100 made it a much more viable option to celebrate Jamaica – especially being an all inclusive price!

As one awardee after another graced the stage to receive their Jambassador recognition, I could not help but reflect on all the good works that the Diaspora accomplishes which doesn’t seem to be recognized – thank goodness another organization has stepped in to fill that void.

Five  special community service awards were given to the new 2016 Jambassadors – Keyana Tennant (Manager Women in Engineering), Lorice Rodney (Medger Evers College Proparatory School), Mrs. Ambrozine Smith Dhu (Friends of Percy Jr. Hospitala, Jamaica), Beverly Nichols (President Push Start Foundataion), Dr. Norris Weir (Minister, fmr member of  the Jamaicans), with the Business award going to Andrew “Sam’s Caribbean” Morris, the Jambassador Award in Medicine was given to Marcia M. Edmond-Bucknor (Clinical Asst & Medical Director SI/NY Downstate Medical Center), MD, Bishop R.C. Hugh Nelson (Senior Pastor Church of God of East Flatbush) was given the Award for Religion, Andrew “Braata” Clarke (Founder/Principal Braata Productions Inc), got his Award for The Arts, the Health & Nutrition Award went to Gloria Bent (Associate Director NYC Health & Hospitals,  North Central Bronx) and the Education Jambassador Award was presented to Dr. Michael A. Wiltshire, (Principal of Medgar Evers Preparatory School and the Boys & Girls HS Brooklyn).

Long on speeches, particularly manifesting itself in the tag team MC efforts of brothers Patrick and Ian Buddington, feet were itching to get onto the dance floor, once key note speaker Congresswoman Yvette Clarke had wrapped up her greetings, congratulations and exhortation to vote in the upcoming Presidential elections. The Platinum One Band provided a wonderful diversion and gave revelers a chance to change positions and dance off their dinner selections.  Headed by front man Ray and accompanied by former 2015 Jamaican Rising Star winner Marcia, they definitely raised the temperature in the ballroom by several degrees singing contemporary music followed by songs from yesteryear before introducing one of the awardees – Mr. Norris Weir from the Jamaicans who sang the popular Festival Song “Baba Boom” and “Things You Say you Love” followed by Land of my Birth.  He certainly took those on the dance floor back to the heady days of Jamaican Rock Steady music.

Disco music was provided by Oxtail Jackson from Road International, who was just warming up when he was interrupted for more talk from the hosts who were announcing the raffle – that was it for me as I then decided it was time to beat a hasty retreat back to the Bronx.  Word of advice to the organizers – you have the makings of what could be an annual success story, but don’t go overboard on speeches – the people really want to jump up and dance to celebrate Jamaica’s Independence.