Here’s what Gine on!

The talent and skills of some of Barbados’ top creatives were celebrated Sunday night in the 5th Annual Gine On?! People’s Choice Awards held at Frank Collymore Hall.

For more than three hours, scores of nominees, relatives and well-wishers attended the event to hail their work and contribution to this nation’s culture and economy over the last year. This year, for the first time, five people who have made an indelible mark on history’s page were recognised.

The recipients of the inaugural Legacy Awards of Excellence were:

• Tony Thompson, whose grandson Atiba Sealy-Thompson collected his award for his contribution to theatre and broadcasting;

• songwriter, comedian and entertainer Eric Lewis, for music and performance;

• designer Pauline Bellamy for fashion;

• Geraldine Lynch for her contribution to dance and dance education; and

• author G. Addington Forde for his work in national culture, history and conservation.

The ceremony, hosted by personality Chrissy D, saw patrons walking the red carpet before making their way into the foyer of the Hall, with some opting for interviews and photographs to memorialise the moment.

It was a night when sincere “thank yous”, laughter and nervous excitement, along with squeals of delight and applause. People sang along to Best Emerging Artist winner Grateful Co and Sunrokk’s performance of Centre. They also enjoyed the medley of reggae songs sung by Rhesa Garnes and Peach Bless, and the Abed’s-sponsored fashion segments which were curated by Junior Sealy.

It was also a night when the sobering reality of death hit home as images on screen of some well-known entertainers and personalities who passed away over the last year, evoked tears and poignant memories during the performance of Reflections by Coopa Dan and Casheda Dottin.

The event’s co-producer DJ Simmons told the DAILY NATION that the team comprising his wife Keisha Empress Zingha Simmons and Kris Clarke, the music director, “put a lot of time and effort into planning the very touching performance”.

“The performance and the in memoriam were very special to us. The camera that was [in the spotlight on the stage] was the one that took all of the photos for the first four years of the Gine On?! Awards. That was Amery’s (Amery Butcher) camera. It was very interesting and is becoming a thing because the camera has been at a couple events in ceremonious ways. It was used at Mahalia’s Corner,” he said.

Overall, there were more than 55 categories of awards. The first award announced – the Warren Jon Doe Forte Radio Personality Of The Year – was renamed in honour of the well-loved radio announcer and DJ who died in November 2021. Starcom Network’s Carol Toppin won the award which she said “means so much to me”.

Ignite, a cultural performing group, won the Damien “Dappa” Taylor Cultural Stage Performer Of The Year. This award was renamed after Taylor, who died in December 2017.

Other awards announced or presented included:

• Alison Browne-Ellis, Motivational Speaker Of The Year;

• Sapphire Senpai, Cosplayer Of The Year;

Chiief Diin the Dancehall Artist Of The Year;

• Rhea Layne, Bashment Artist Of The Year;

• Pastor John Yarde’s My Everything won Album/EP Of The Year;

• Shane Eastmond, Visual Artist Of The Year;

• Laff-it-Off Productions copped the Theatre Production Of The Year for its 2023 show Where You Get That From?; and

By Krishtun won Fashion Designer Of The Year.

Following the announcement of the final award, the Soca Song Of The Year which was Brain Freeze by Leadpipe and Jus-Jay, Spinny and Nandi Yard, who won the Dancer Of The Year award, got the audience up and active.

As they headed to the reception immediately after, some of the nominees were perplexed that their categories were neither presented on stage nor announced during the ceremony. Some had left before hearing the announcements during the reception.

Simmons apologised to the nominees who were affected by what he called “poor execution”. He, however, said their website was updated “about an hour after the show” and the full list of winners announced there.

He also said he spoke to the nominees who were at the reception and those who were present received their awards. (GBM)

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