33rd IRAWMA Named In Honor Of Trayvon Martin, Return To Florida Feb 22, 2014


After recent meetings and consultations with its IRAWMA Florida team in Fort Lauderdale; along with meetings with the mother and attorneys of Trayvon Martin, Rev Jesse Jackson and others at the recently held National Bar Association (NBA) convention in Miami Beach, Florida; Ephraim Martin, President of Martin’s International’s annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) has decided to go ahead with hosting the 33rd IRAWMA in Florida!

Now, for the sixth time, on Saturday, February, 22, 2014 at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, Coral Springs, IRAWMA will be hosted in South Florida.

Last month, after a Florida Court found Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman not guilty, there were mounting calls from music lovers, activists, sponsors and veteran members of IRAWMA to seriously reconsider taking the 2014 IRAWMA to Florida at least for one year in support of Trayvon Martin and for an end to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

However; while attending the week long 51st Annual NBA convention at the Fountain Blue Hotel in Miami with his wife, Ephraim Martin spoke with Ms. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon, Darryl Parks and Benjamin Crump- Trayvon’s attorneys, Rev. Jesse Jackson and others; followed by meetings with his South Florida team and reached out to some of the people who were calling on IRAWMA to reconsider. With approximately six months to the awards, Mr. Martin in a positive way, has decided to move ahead with the 2014 IRAWMA in Florida and to name one of the Awards categories the “Trayvon Martin Save the Youth Award”.

Special invitations will be extended to the family of Trayvon Martin and their Counsel to attend and participate in the event.

“I am very worried, concerned and troubled at the outcome of Trayvon’s case,” said Ephraim Martin.

“I could have been another Trayvon on June 8th of this year, in the town of Dyer, Indiana. There, I was invited to a Festival (90% white) by a gospel singer who was also a vendor. He treated me to a Philly Steak and walked with me to my car. As the singer walked away, I leaned on my own car eating. In less than ten minutes into my meal, I heard the police sirens and approximately 8 police officers in cars, on bikes and on foot, some with guns drawn, all confronted me. After I presented my license and other documents that they demanded, I was then told that they received a call from a lady, saying that a suspicious person was in the area about to break into cars. The truth is that I was “Eating While Black”. After reviewing and returning my documents, I was sent on my way. (Turns out, the singer/vendor likewise, was later pulled over by the police when leaving the festival).

"This is not just and about us! Every single day across America, not just in Florida, blacks and other minorities are the victims of racism, racial profiling, and discrimination.” Mr. Martin said.

“To IRAWMA’s supporters, sponsors, fans and others who have reminded us of our mission under which we started in 1982; which is, to use reggae music as a vehicle of expression for the voiceless peoples of the world, to end Apartheid and to honor reggae and world music entertainers who are making outstanding contributions to world music and to humanity. I want you to know that our mission is still intact and we will continue to honor that mission. As a result, the February 2014 IRAWMA in South Florida, will also call from an end to the “Stand Your Ground Law” in Florida and across the Country! The IRAWMA in Florida will be a teachable and educational moment for our Florida youth.

You asked us to reconsider hosting next year’s event in Florida, and we did. We made our final decision in the interest of all. We now, ask that you come and join us in Florida on February 22nd, 2014 for a positive celebration, where your presence can contribute to an end to that Law. For those of you who will continue your boycott and will not visit Florida until the law is changed; we fully respect your decision and hope to see you at our other events; such as the July 4th weekend, Festival of Life in Chicago.” Ephraim concluded.

Martin’s International, specially thanks the following sponsors for helping to make the 32nd IRAWMA such a resounding success and looks forward to you and others joining us in the weeks ahead for the 33rd IRAWMA- 2014: VP Records, JAMRUSS Productions, WAVS 1170 AM Station, Sweet Goodness-Gourmet Chocolate, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Double Tree by Hilton-Sawgrass Mills Hotel, Ft Lauderdale Marriott Coral Springs Hotel Golf Club, Riddims Marketing Inc., National Weekly, NMC-Blossom Levy, JAMUSA, Hi Class Promotions, Love Doc- Amazing Sour Sop Drink, Duke of Earle, Reggae and Things, Brawta Caribbean Cuisine, Dawn Marie and the Wiz, Events R' Us Online, Imagine That Event and Entertainment, Insurance Brokers Inc., Danzerz Blvd, One Stop Studio, Princess PM Productions, WLRN FM and Dawn Marie and the Wiz, among others. If you would like to be a sponsor please call 877/9-REGGAE (973-4423), contact Carl Ricketts, 954/668-7832 or e-mail: carickt9@aol.com

In the weeks ahead, IRAWMA nomination ballots will be available for experts to nominate the best artists for the year 2013. For general information call 877/9-REGGAE (973-4423), visit www.irawma.com, www.martinsinternational.com, e-mail: irawma@gmail.com

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