After two and a half months of distributing fliers, pitching fundraisers, gathering sponsors (such as Red Stripe beer, RAS Records, and the West Indian Record Mart), and collecting ballots, promoter Cleveland “Tony Java” Wedemire has finally settled on a location and date for his first annual Metropolitan Reggae Music Awards and Dance. Java has cajoled Crossroads in Bladensburg into hosting his reggae pep rally March 1. Though the show was originally slated for a venue in the District, Java decided to make the switch because Crossroads has actual tables and chairs. He is definitely thinking classy.
“The place we were looking at first wasn’t as large as Crossroads and it was a [standing only] place,” Java explains. “This is a place where you can sit down, have your drinks, and relax.”
With the club issue settled and a strong lineup of DJs and bands scheduled to perform, Java’s only concerns now are the show and the awards themselveswhich range from “Best Sound System” and “Best Record Store” to “Best Caterer” and “Most Improved Selector.” “My greatest ambition is to deliver these trophies,” Java proclaims. He adds that the task isn’t so easy: He has started to feel pressure from scenesters to divulge the award-winners a few weeks early. “I have people coming up to me on the street, asking me, ‘Should I wear a suit? Am I going to get an award?’ We’re asking everyone to dress up, put your suit on,” Java says. “We’re showing that reggae people can dress up and have a good time. But my lips are sealed.” Jason Cherkis