Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, JA – In recognition of a body of work that has been captivating music lovers since the early 1970s, beer brand Red Stripe recently honoured veteran deejay Manley “Big Youth” Buchanan with a Stand Up Award.
“Big Youth has done so much for Jamaican culture, and we want to show our appreciation to one of Jamaica’s top reggae icons for providing us with exceptional music over the years. We recognise Big Youth’s craft and the way he positively uses it to represent Jamaica’s culture.
Red Stripe strongly believes in standing up for true Jamaican excellence and we believe Big Youth has greatly demonstrated this throughout his career,” said Nomonde Donsa, Red Stripe’s head of marketing and innovation.
In a year when Buchanan received the Order of Distinction in the rank of officer, the reggae artiste said he always believed that his hard work would pay off.
“I was looking forward to this for a very long time because I put so much into the music. The Red Stripe award, to me, is also a testament to the work I’ve been doing for the past few years. I give thanks to Red Stripe for always being one of the backbones in support of reggae music,” said Big Youth.
He recognised his love for music since age 18. He recalled frequent visits to the Sheraton Hotel in New Kingston, where he enjoyed hearing his voice in the elevator shaft.
“I used to hear my voice echo when I went into the elevator shaft while I sang all of Dionne Warwick’s songs and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by The Paragons. After going into the elevator shaft, I started to develop a strong passion for singing. When I lived downtown on Princess Street,
“I began to perform at dances as a deejay for Tippertone’s Sound System. It was then I began to attract the attention of many of Kingston’s record producers. I was so into my Jamaican culture and sticking to the Rasta roots, and that’s how I made [ S90 Skank]: ‘If you ride like lightning, you’re gonna crash like thunder’, which was a new vibe at the time,” said Big Youth.
Big Youth’s other songs include Every Nigger Is A Star, Keep Your Natty, I Pray Thee, and African Daughter.
He firmly embraces his belief in music as a form of therapy, which creates great energy and a positive force among people. He encourages young up-and-coming artistes to stand up for morals and spread uplifting messages as he believes this is the only way to drive positive change in our country.
“Keep on doing the right thing and never change from telling the truth because the truth will set you free,” he said.
Big Youth’s other awards over the years include a US Congressional Honours Award by the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) at the Reggae Cultural Salute in 2010; and a Pinnacle Award for Excellence, which was also issued by CPR in Brooklyn, New York.
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