Sierra Leone Association of Artists & Musicians Honors The Legends of Their Industry
There were feelings of awe, sorrow, and joy on Saturday December 8, as Sierra Leonean entertainment icons received honorary lifetime and recognition awards. The event which was hosted by the Sierra Leone Association Of Artists and Musicians (SLAAM), a newly formed professional organization for the recognition and empowerment of the Sierra Leonean entertainment industry, encompassing all aspects of entertainment ranging from Producers, DJ’s, Promoters, Filmmakers, Comedians, Theatre, and more. Their first annual honorary black Tie event – was described by many as classy and well organized, giving a new face to Sierra Leone entertainment.
It began with an arts exhibition showcasing the fine art of renowned Sierra Leonean Artist Professor Richmond Garrick whose collection could only be described as a rarity in society, with award winning portraits of H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma(Sierra Leone) alongside H.E. President Barack Obama(USA). The exhibition being the first of its kind with an interested Sierra Leone audience. With all thanks going to his teacher and mentor Ms Lousie Metzger who was awarded the Lifetime achievement award winner for Fine Art.
The evening continued unlike any other with an opening of the Sierra Leone national anthem by 14yr old Janet Lagah-Bonah in English, and in Creole by Mr Busairu Savage with performances from new and talented musicians such as Red Wyne, gospel singer Lady Dija, and Irexx. The honors were awarded to Mr Bunny Mack, as lifetime achievement award winner for music received by his brother Archie McCormack, alongside, Freddie ‘Shabaka’ Cole, and Abu White who touched all hearts with his words of thanks to SLAAM for such an award the first in his 30 year music career, commending those who had passed away without ever being recognized. Theatre groups such as Ronko Theatre and Tabule Tiata with Nasiru Tejan, Mohamed Mansaray (MOBB), Akmid Bakarr Mansaray, Busairu Savage, just to name a few were in attendance to receive recognition awards along with the Professionals, as Danald Nat-george (Dan Dogo) and Joseph Betts (Pa Bangura) gave the audience a hilarious moment. Pickett Jones of the Afro National Dance Band was in attendance to accept the lifetime achievement award for Afro National which was presented by his wife Linda Jones. Sully Hamid (Pas Ar Die) received the lifetime achievement award for DJ’s, alongside Gibril Sesay (DJ Songo Train), and DJ Tregson, all very seasoned Disc Jockeys who had started playing since back home in Sierra Leone and now in the diaspora. The liftetime Achievement award for film was presented to TJ Cole received by Former Ms Sierra Leone/World Natasha Beckley. Jimmy Bangura also received an award for his contribution to Sierra Leone’s film industry which was presented by Ms Wendy Bangura one of Sierra Leone’s young movie producers in the United States. Mr Collins Pratt received the lifetime achievement award for gospel music, Vicky Fornah was also recognized for her accomplishments in the gospel music industry, her award was presented by Giileh who is also a gospel singer, appreciating her for the path she has laid not only for gospel singers but for female gospel singers. Vicky Fornah gave a song from her upcoming album soon to be released, for mothers that had everyone gyrating. This was followed by a recognition award to Johnny Wisdom who also gave a song showing his new reggae compilation “Cut of My nose” which rocked the dance floor.
The night came to a crescendo when Founder Giileh Kebbie Scholz asked all in the entertainment industry on the stage, a unique sight of old and new entertainers, musicians, actors, DJ’s as they all sang “Salone Man Unite” led by song writer Edward Kargbo (Bizo The Mayor) in a show of unity. With a surprise show of appreciation to David Vandy who received an award for his versatility in the entertainment industry and his ability to inspire others presented in a hilarious skit by Mohamed Mansaray (MOBB) and Lucy Odoi. The tables were turned in a show of appreciation to Giileh who received an award for the vision of SLAAM and the hard work it took to put together the event, but most of all to bring everyone together in recognition of the past accomplishments of the industry. The young and upcoming group TRIBE ENT gave a tribute song to all the deceased Legends, a unique and awesome moment.
In recognition of World Aids Day, a scene from his new play; ‘AIDS’ was performed by David Vandy and other actors depicting the importance of safe sex. The full play will be premiered in the United States in the first quarter of 2013.
On Saturday December 22, all paths will lead to the Canterbury Hall for the Movie Premier SECRET PAST producer Sierra Leonean born Mohamed Bah and also starring is the beautiful Sierra Leonean Actress Rosaline Sesay another aspiring and upcoming rising star in the film industry teaming up with the Nollywood star Pascal Atuma (My American Nurse). As the newly launched Sierra Leone Association of Artist and Musicians – SLAAM gets set to show their support for the Sierra Leone Movie Industry, emphasizing the importance of all aspects of the entertainment industry and the need to come together as Sierra Leoneans to support one another. The premier is promoted by one of Sierra Leone’s most celebrated entertainers David Buakei Vandy.