David McFadden of the Associated Press is reporting that the Jamaican government honored late reggae star Peter Tosh with an order-of-merit award, the nation’s third-highest honor. Tosh’s daughter Niombe accepted the posthumous award for her father who was murdered 25 years ago. Tosh, considered one of reggae’s most controversial figures, was a founding member of the Wailers, along with Bob Marley and Bunny “Wailer” Livingston. With the Wailers, Tosh co-wrote the black power anthem “Get Up, Stand Up” and penned songs like “400 Years,” a critical song about slavery.
“The always outspoken, defiant Tosh was known for forcefully denouncing apartheid, government corruption and calling for the legalization of marijuana. Musical colleagues and fans say the lanky, baritone singer and guitarist was a mesmerizing performer with a charismatic, larger-than-life personality.
Tosh is perhaps reggae’s most controversial figure. During the government-organized One Love Peace Concert of 1978, Tosh publicly accused Jamaica’s political leaders and the middle class of backing police brutality and politically charged gang warfare amid a legendary 20-minute diatribe. The Jamaican media severely criticized Tosh for the speech, delivered to an audience that included 200 foreign journalists and the prime minister.”
The award was given during an annual national awards ceremony on the lawns of King’s House, the residence of Jamaica’s governor general. Tosh’s son Andrew, a veteran reggae musician, was also present for the awards ceremony.
Peter Tosh was killed by robbers in his home when he was just 42 years-old.
Read more at the Associated Press.