Zimbabwe Reggae Dancehall Merit Awards: A new platform celebrates iconoclastic talents


HARARE — Reggae and Dancehall music in Zimbabwe has created a sound that resonates deeply with many, evolving into a cultural movement that has produced some of the nation's most unique and trailblazing talents. 

These artists have persevered through gruelling conditions to share their immense gifts with the world, helping listeners find meaning in their material lived realities. 

Duly recognising their valiant efforts and artistic contributions is the sole essence of the newly established Zimbabwe Reggae Dancehall Merit Awards (ZRDMA).

The ZRDMA, conceived by prominent blogger and cultural critic Blessing Jena—widely known as Havok—aims to honour artists who have uplifted souls through their relentless artistic endeavors within the ReggaeDancehall genre. 

Jena runs HavokLive, an online platform dedicated to showcasing exceptional artistic talent in Zimbabwe, particularly within ReggaeDancehall.

"Recently, there has been a lack of awards platforms that acknowledge the impeccable lyricism and creativity of our ReggaeDancehall artists in Zimbabwe," Jena told ZimSphere

"The mainstream awards have neglected the exceptional talent within Reggae and Dancehall circles. They have never considered the lyricism and creativity in Zimdancehall as outstanding. We need to write our own history and document every success the culture achieves each year."

Nominations for the ZRDMA will be open from June 20 to August 20, allowing ample time for artists and creatives to submit their entries. 

The nominations will consider works produced between August 1, 2023, and August 20, 2024. 

The awards ceremony will take place in Zimbabwe, with the exact date to be announced as preparations continue.

"A number of awards will be open for public voting, while others will be decided by a rotating adjudication committee composed of industry experts," Jena explained. 

"This rotation promotes transparency and integrity."

The awards organizers are also seeking corporate partners to ensure the event's success. 

"This is an opportunity for businesses to engage with the young population in Zimbabwe and abroad," Jena said, highlighting the potential for corporate involvement.

Jena announced a collaboration with Tapiwa Mushai to incorporate technology into this year's awards, setting high expectations for integrity and honor.

Below are the ZRDMA Awards categories:

  • Best Dancehall Act
  • Best Reggae Act
  • Best Alternative
  • Best Dancehall Verse
  • Song of the Year
  • Outstanding Stage Act
  • Best Riddim Compilation
  • Outstanding Music Video Director
  • Outstanding Music Video - Reggae
  • Outstanding Music Video - Dancehall
  • Best Artist Manager
  • Best Diaspora
  • Best Reggae Band
  • Outstanding MC
  • Outstanding Single
  • Best Upcoming Act
  • Outstanding Global Artist
  • Best Event Organizer
  • Best Collaboration
  • Outstanding Male Act
  • Outstanding Female Act
  • Best Event
  • The Soul Jah Love Best Lyricist Award
  • Best Music Producer
  • Outstanding Album
  • Outstanding Media

Honorary Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Legendary Status Award
  • Best Charity Organization

As the ZRDMA prepares to recognize and celebrate these extraordinary artists, it promises to be a notable event for Zimbabwe's Reggae and Dancehall community. 

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