Venerable Jamaican entertainers Glenroy Anthony "Ernie" Smith, 62 and Manley "Big Youth" Buchanan, 61, were awarded Congressional Proclamations for their ongoing contributions to the development of Jamaican music and culture.

The honors were bestowed by Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke in a brief ceremony Oct. 30 at Reggae Culture Salute: Salute to the Foundation, a concert sponsored by the Brooklyn-based Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music, held at Brooklyn's Nazareth High School Performance Center.

Following the brief awards presentation, Smith, a robust-toned baritone, performed his country and western-tinged reggae hits including the evergreen "Life Is Just For Living", which won the Grand Prix International Award for Best Song at Japan's Yahama Music Festival in 1972, a commendation that established the foundation for reggae's subsequent renown in that country.

Big Youth, whose music helped to spread the popularity of the Jamaican rapping style known as deejaying (or toasting) delivered the inimitable scat-styled vocals that trademark his songs including "Screaming Target" and "S.90 Skank"; the latter topped the Jamaican charts for several consecutive weeks back in 1972.

In reggae's early-'70s incipiency, Big Youth's lyrical references to his Rastafarian faith and the uncovering of his dreadlocks onstage were viewed as significant actions in advancing the eventual acceptance of the Rastafarian faith within Jamaica as well as internationally. His dreadlocks are now silver-grey but he nonetheless retains the impudence of his youth. "It is my honor to be honored," he stated, "but what I really want is a reward. Most people call you to work but don't want to pay you, so God Bless the Coalition."

Another veteran Rastafarian performer, Smith was visibly moved to tears when he also received the Coalition's Pinnacle Award (named after Jamaica's first Rastafarian settlement, Pinnacle, which the authorities destroyed in the mid 1950s) for 43 years of contributions to reggae and Rastafari. "I didn't have to struggle in Rastafari," Smith said, "so this is for the brethren who survived the persecution and made Rastafari what it is today, a religion to be respected in any man's language."