The Jamaica International Independence Festival Song Competition (JIIFSC) came to an exciting conclusion on July 31, when the grand winners were crowned at the finals. Hosted by Queen Adessa, the festivities went underway at the Caribbean Life TV Studios (CLTV Studios) in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Lavie Lujah from Pickering, Canada took the top spot, with his appropriately titled entry, “Certified Yardie.” Second place went to Ras Fraser from Texas, USA, with “Nuh Weh Like Yard” while third place went to Ragga Lox from New York, USA with “Reggae Island.”
“We had a very international group of entrants; we had people from England, Germany, Canada and the United States of America,” president and founder of the USA-based competition, Garfield McCook, revealed at the event.
From a crop of seven finalists, the field was narrowed down to the three winners, who were rewarded with US $8,000, $4,000 and $1,000 for first, second and third place respectively.
“My dream was to create a platform for us as artistes in the diaspora to showcase our talents that have been hidden for years,” McCook expressed in his opening speech, adding, “this competition was not just about me. With a collective effort, we can move mountains in this country.”
With this being the first staging of the event, McCook is pleased with the outcome and stated that next year’s event is already being prepared for, with plans being put in place for additional categories.
“Next year, we’re planning to add a gospel section, which we unfortunately weren’t able to do this year. With 2022 being Jamaica’s 60th anniversary, we want to do something special and get the Gospel artistes in the competition as well,” McCook said.