William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clark, leader singer of 10-time Grammy nominee Third World, was among a ‘who’s who’ of political leaders, entertainment pioneers, business entrepreneurs and education innovators honored at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC last Friday November 16th. The Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) , an annual black-tie affair put on by The Institute of Caribbean Studies, celebrates the contributions that Caribbean people make in the United States of America. Bunny Rugs received an award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Reggae Music’.
Music, dance and dinner warmed the body and soul in preparation for the awards ceremony co-hosted by Neiki Mohan of CBS Miami. Among those receiving awards were Jamaican Jazz musician Monty Alexander, Miss Trinidad 2009 and the 2011 winner of Project Runway, Anya Ayoung Chee, Constance White, Chief Editor of Essence Magazine, Jamaican Dean Garfield President and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Panmaster Robert Greenidge and footballer Skaka Hilslop. Collin Channer, founder of the Calabash Literary Festival, also received an award in absentia.
But they saved the best for last in more ways than one. Indeed, last to take the stage was Congresswoman Yvette Clarke who presented William “Bunny Rugs” Clark with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Reggae Music’ award as a member of Third World and as a solo artist. Congresswoman Clarke joked that she and Bunny Rugs, who happen to share the same last name, may even be related. Rugs took the bait and ended the show with an energetic musical finale. With the entire ballroom on their feet, Rugs performed “Now That We’ve Found Love” and “Reggae Ambassador” all backed by DC’s #1 backing group, the Image Band. Click here to watch the performance. Despite many political ambassadors in attendance, Bunny Rugs struck a chord with everyone, many of whom waited patiently for a photograph alongside the ‘reggae ambassador’.
“The CARAH awards will forever stay with me as one of the high points of my career,” said Bunny Rugs. “To be honored in this way, in a ceremony created by and for Caribbean people is really the ultimate award. For the same reason, I dedicate this award to the Caribbean people to whom I am forever indebted.”
After Washington DC, Bunny Rugs performs with Third World at NJPAC on November 30 in Newark, New Jersey for Jamaica 50 celebrations with Kymani Marley and Maxi Priest also on the bill and then the group heads to the Hennessy Artistry Series in Barbados December 1 before Bunny starts two weeks of Europe solo performances in support of his new album, Time. The album is now available in stores and features the roots reggae anthem, “Land We Love”. For more information about Bunny Rugs or his new album visit facebook.com/bunnyrugsthirdworld.
Founded by Dr Claire Nelson in 1993, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact on Caribbean Americans. Produced by Dr Nelson and Karema Daley, the CARAH Awards part of the Institute’s mission to ensure that the conversation on the future of America and immigration includes a recognition of the indivisible historical linkages between the US and the Caribbean. The ICS is online at www.icsdc.org. And visit caribbeanheritageawards.org for more information about the CARAH awards.