The Caribbean Music Awards Debut In New York

Culture Music

The historical event, hosted by Grammy winner Wyclef Jean celebrated top talent from across the islands in several genres

The Caribbean has made an indelible mark on the global stage through its rich musical heritage. Spanning a spectrum of genres, from the laid-back vibes of reggae to the infectious rhythms of soca, the high-octane beats of dancehall, and the poignant storytelling and social commentary of calypso, among countless others, the Caribbean has birthed a diverse tapestry of musical styles across generations.

R&B Singer, Mya looking stunning at the 2023 Caribbean Music Awards (credit: instagram)

These Caribbean musical genres have not only enthralled audiences but have also left an incomparable imprint on popular culture, inspiring dance forms and more that have spanned across the four corners of the earth. For the first time ever, there is an event dedicated to honoring these substantial contributions.

Breaking new ground, the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards took place last Thursday night at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, a New York City borough renowned as the epicenter of the Caribbean diaspora. Co-founded by Dane Taylor, Monique Blake, and Prince Forde, the event was proudly presented by the Caribbean Elite Group (CEG), the publisher of Caribbean Elite Magazine, a publication deeply immersed in Caribbean culture.

Spice received top honors as Female Artist of the Year.

The historic awards show made a grand entrance, hosted by three-time Grammy award-winning Haitian-American rapper and musician, Wyclef Jean. A who’s who of international superstars hailing from the Caribbean graced the stage with stellar performances, including Alison Hinds, Jada Kingdom, Dexta Daps, Kranium, Nailah Blackman, Ding Dong, and Rupee. The star-studded affair also featured appearances by Spice, Baby Cham, Toni-Ann Singh, and many others.

Special Tributes to Machel Montano, Beres Hammond

The Montano’s in full force at the 2023 Caribbean Music Awards (credit: instagram)
Machel Montano wearing a stylish suit by French designer brand, Lanvin (credit: instagram)

The event bestowed a handful of prestigious special honors to a few deserving individuals that have made a mark through their artistry. Trinidadian singer, record producer, and songwriter Machel Montano, whose illustrious 40-plus-year career has been instrumental in shaping and globalizing soca music, was celebrated with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Affectionately known as ‘The King Of Soca’, Montano previously graced the stage as a concert headliner at last year’s ESSENCE Festival Of Culture. Meanwhile, the legendary reggae crooner Beres Hammond was also honored with the Elite Icon Award for his profound contributions to the genre spanning several decades. Big winners of the night included Ding Dong, Dexta Paps, and Masicka for Album of the Year for his dancehall record. 

An Event Placing Caribbean Culture at the Forefront

The team orchestrating this groundbreaking show believes that it represents a pivotal moment for Caribbean culture. Armed with decades of experience in the music industry, they have orchestrated a stellar event. Their mission is clear: to recognize and honor Caribbean musicians in a manner commensurate with their immense talent.

The organizers emphasized that the diversity of Caribbean musical genres and the depth of talent among Caribbean artists often go unnoticed by major international award shows. In the past, Caribbean artists are typically confined to a single category, with many merely hoping for mere acknowledgment of their hard work. The Caribbean Music Awards aims to change this status quo and provide a well-deserved spotlight for these exceptional artists on an annual basis. 

The Caribbean Music Awards boasts an impressive 26 categories spanning various Caribbean music genres such as reggae, dancehall, soca, konpa, and zouk. Leading the pack with five nominations, including prestigious titles like Performer of the Year, Video of the Year, and Artist of the Decade, is the Trinidadian sensation Kes The Band, regarded as a favorite at the Essence Festival Of Culture. Close behind with four nominations each are Masicka, Ding Dong, Machel Montano, and Shenseea.

According to the organizers, the awards show serves a dual purpose. The first aim is to educate the world about the significant impact Caribbean artists have had on the global music industry, all on a grand and spectacular scale. Secondly, it seeks to exemplify the incredible results that emerge when a community rallies together for the sake of preserving and celebrating their culture.

The Caribbean Music Awards stands as a culturally significant event, celebrating the immense diversity and talent of the Caribbean music and entertainment industry. By uniting artists, producers, and industry professionals, this awards ceremony acknowledges their invaluable contributions and shines a radiant spotlight on the dynamic and vibrant nature of Caribbean music, sharing it with the world.

For those eager to witness this historic event, the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards was livestreamed on YouTube and Tempo Networks, ensuring that this celebration of Caribbean musical excellence reaches audiences all over the world. The full list of winners for the night are listed below:

Artist Of The Decade 

Vybz Kartel

Album of the Year – Dancehall 

“438” Masicka

Dance Song of the Year 

“Bounce” Ding Dong

Collaboration of the Year (Reggae/Dancehall) 

Skeng feat. Nicki Minaj – “Little Miss”

Collaboration of the Year (Soca) 

GBM Nutron (feat. DJ Spider) – “Down Dey”

Best New Artist (Dancehall)


Best New Artist (Soca) 


Best New Artist (Reggae)


Male Artist of the Year (Dancehall) 

Ding Dong

Female Artist of the Year (Dancehall)


Video of the Year – Reggae/Dancehall 

Popcaan feat. Toni-Ann Singh “Next To Me”

People’s Choice Award (Fan Favorite) 


2022 Impact Award (Reggae) 

Kabaka Pyramid