Ephraim M. Martin, entrepreneur, publisher and TV personality is the founder and chairman of four prestigious annual events: The Chicago Music Awards (CMA); The International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA), The International Festival of Life (IFOL) and The Caribbean Festival/Jamaica Independence Celebration (CAF/JIC). In 1989, Martin established Martin’s International Culture a not for profit arts organization to promote African/Caribbean music arts and culture.
Martin was the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Black Heritage Image Award: he was named among the top ten “People Who Rock Chicago” by New City, a weekly newspaper; and was honored among the top fifteen African-American “Men Who Lead” at the Afrique Magazine Awards.
Since it’s inception in 1982, the Chicago Music Awards (CMA), the Chicago Music Awards celebrates and recognizes the quality and diversity of music and artistry. Each year the CMA recognizes Chicago’s best and brightest homgrown talent such as Kanye West, Smashing Pumpkins, Lou Rawis, Chacha Khan, Robert Townsend, R Kelly, Curtis Mayfield, Buddy Guy, The Mightly Dells, Jerry Butler, Oscar Brown Jr., Albertina Walker, Ramsey Lewis, Dick Buckley, Sir George Solti, The Chi-Lites, Pop Staples, Patty Jo Timmons, Von Freeman among others.
The mission of the International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA), established in 1982 acknowledges and honors the accomplishments and contributions of reggae and world music artists, including: songwriters, performers, promoters and musicians. Produced by Martin’s International & Associates, the IRAWMA has been staged in many major cities including: Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans, New York as well as both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Jamaica. The impetus behind the IRAWMA is it’s commitment to promoting greater participation and acceptance of Reggae, Caribbean and World Music, Internationally.
The International Festival of Life (IFOL) was created in 1993. The IFOL festival is dedicated to celebrating the humanity of all people. The event allows cultural, educational and spiritual exchange through innovative programming and a marketplace format that highlights the global spectrum of entertainment, food, fine arts, crafts, small business and corporate communities. Two themes have been adapted to the International Festival of Life: “Bringing Nations Together” and “Living Together as One”.
In September 2003, Martin decided to create the “Chicago West” Caribbean Festival (CAF). He decided that the Caribbean Festival would become the most recent addition to his annual calendar of special events. Since it’s inception the CAF has traveled to various neighborhoods throughout Chicago and Waukegan. This year the festival will also be a celebration of Jamaican Independence day. The CAF/JIC also features a “Chi-Town-Idol” talent contest for kids and young adults. The Festival’s objective continues “Bringing Together People of all Nationalities”.