Tony Matterhorn has complained that the Ministry of Entertainment, through the National Honors and Awards committee, has been constantly slighting him by not conferring him with the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s fifth-highest national honour.
According to Matterhorn, based on his contribution to Dancehall, and the fact that he has been the selector who has popularized the genre in Continental Europe and countries far-flung from Jamaica for more than two decades, he should have already been given the O.D. accolade.
“Throughout my history a Dancehall – and I am one of the ambassador fi Dancehall – even though Ministry of Entertainment, when dem a gi out dem award every year, dem always go roun Matterhorn,” the selector said.
“Mi si dem gi some people award weh – mi nuh vex bout oonu award but dem nuh do weh me do fi Dancehall. Shaggy and Sean Paul did a lot fi Dancehall. But weh Matterhorn do fi Dancehall mi a do long before Shaggy and Sean Paul even buss…,” he added during an interview on the Let’s be Honest podcast with hosts Jai Frais and Chevi.
“Suh mi look pon dem as hypocrite. But guess wha? No matta who dem big up an a hype up, mi a di livin legend inna di Dancehall. Das why dat award from di people, is bigger than even my Government givin me an award.”
Like his compatriot Ricky Trooper, who raised hell over last year’s announcement of the conferring of the Order of Distinction to British broadcaster David Rodigan, the Dutty Wine singer said the awards committee was giving accolades to persons who were not as deserving as him.
“Suh mi si every Emancipation, like every August dem give a portion a people our award weh dem people deh nuh even guh 90 percent of the places that I have been to,” he said.
“Oonu name nuh bigga dan my name inna any place weh oonu guh,worldwide, suh how oonu get dat an me nuh get dat?” he demanded to know.
Matterhorn said that he singlehandedly took on the mission to push Dancehall in countries in Europe where only Reggae music was appreciated, and Dancehall was a nonentity.
“One a di biggest ting inna Dancehall, mi naw talk Reggae, caw mi a nuh Reggae player, mi play Reggae but mi nuh business bout di Reggae department. A me, an mi can seh dat widout any apology; a mi meck Dancehall big inna Europe. Nuhbaddy, no European, nobaddy inna Europe neva like Dancehall. They didn’t play Dancehall; they didn’t like Dancehall. Dem woulda play Lee Scratch Perry – may his soul Rest in Peace – Bunny Wailer, Bunny Ruggs, Bob Marley, Heptones – a dem ting deh dem play inna Europe,’’ he explained.
“A mi a di first person guh a Europe an seh: ‘Mi nuh know bout all a dat enuh – a dis (Dancehall music) mi a play enuh. Suh di Beenie, di Buju, di Bounty, Capleton – all a dem – Sizzla Elephant Man, mi a response fi dem inna Europe. Every millions weh dem meck inna Europe, a because a Matterhorn, cause nobaddy neva did a play oonu music ova deh suh. Oonu music was like fall on deaf ears ova deh suh until me guh deh,” the 49-year-old added.
Last year August, veteran music selector Ricky Trooper had expressed outrage that the Jamaica Order of Distinction (Officer Class) national award was to be presented to British radio disc jockey and sound system selector David Rodigan, as he was a non-national.
The Jamaican Government had announced on Independence Day, August 6, that Rodigan would be presented with the honour “for outstanding service to the promotion of Jamaican music across the world” on National Heroes Day last October.
Rodigan, has been internationally acclaimed for pushing and promoting Jamaican Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, and Dancehall music, during his decades-long broadcasting career which spanned radio stations such as Radio London, Capital 95.8, Kiss 100, BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Radio 2.
However, Trooper and his colleagues had erroneously believed that Rodigan was being awarded for being a sound system selector and in addition claimed, also inaccurately, that no other Jamaican sound system selector had received the honour and, according to him, “our own people honour a German man over all of us”.
Contrary to Trooper’s claims, founder of the Stone Love sound system, the legendary Winston’ Wee Pow’ Powell, had received the Order of Distinction for “Outstanding Contribution to Jamaican Music”, during the National Honours and Awards ceremony at King’s House seven years ago. Powell had started the internationally-acclaimed sound system in the Molynes Road area of Kingston in 1972.
The complaints about Rodigan’s award had not ended with Trooper, as some other dissidents, who too seemed to have had also misunderstood the nature of the award, started a petition on change.org, demanding that Government reverse its decision.
The petition had claimed that, “this behaviour is all the more insulting”, as among other things, there were Jamaicans who were more deserving of the award than Rodigan, among them singer-songwriter and musician Owen Gray, Duke Vin the first Sound System man in Britain in 1955, Lloyd Coxsone and Tony Williams.
“We the concerned supporters of Reggae demand that the JLP Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness and Olivia Grange the Culture Minister in Jamaica must withdraw the Jamaican government’s wrong cultural move in announcing their decision to award David Rodigan a British citizen the Order of Distinction, O.D. for our Reggae music,” the petition had read.
The proponents of the petition had also accused the Jamaican Government of refusing to post the petition on its official website and “does not want a petition against their unpatriotic act of awarding an undeserving non-Jamaican” the award.