Awards: What Do They Mean To You?

By Ray Martinez

Many of us as DJs have had the opportunity to do corporate events where they gave out awards to outstanding employees for extraordinary work in their field. We have also witnessed the Academy Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Awards, The People’s Choice Awards, The Emmys, The Grammys, and the list goes on and on.

What is it with the fascination we have watching these award shows when we know, what the winners will do when they get up there? They will thank the producers, the directors, and the countless people that have helped them achieve that moment of glory.

The night will continue with people being disappointed when their name is not called or they may be simply happy to be nominated for a highly coveted award.

What are awards truly about?

What goes through the minds of people who are being nominated and/or recognized for their accomplishments?

Put yourself in the place of someone who won any prestigious award? How would you feel? Would you be thankful? If you won an award that maybe was honorable mention instead of the top prize or the monetary value was not as great as say a Grammy or Oscar, would you consider the award as a meaningless piece of hardware? Or would you truly be honored and thankful to be recognized by your peers?

When these award shows are put on a worldwide stage or even by just a small company, it really is a special occasion. Myself personally, I don’t need a special occasion to be thankful. I should be thankful every day. I believe everyone should be thankful every day.

Winning any award is an honor

but I believe that to being in the entertainment industry as a DJ/Entertainer is a feat in and of itself and that whatever level we are on, we should be thankful where we are as artists, and what part we have in making a difference in the lives of people, and you know something, although we may not have a platform as big the Oscars, we must realize that we are living the dream that so many aspire to achieve.

I think of a man in our industry, Sean “Big Daddy” McKee, who wakes up every day thanking God he is an entertainer. And I can bet his mind is forever thinking how he can make the lives of others better through his performances as a DJ/Entertainer. This is a man who has passion and is sincerely thankful to be entertaining. It is men like “Big Daddy” who continue to inspire DJs young and old who don’t get recognition but truly deserve to.

The daily grind of our jobs seems to put a hamper on the gratitude we should be having in our industry. We as an industry don’t get the headlines or recognition that maybe we think we deserve. We at one time had a platform that was starting to gain momentum with the American Disc Jockey Awards, which was produced by Hall of Fame DJ Ken Knotts, and was eventually produced one final time in 2006 by fellow Hall of Famer, John Rozz.

The Late Dick Clark

I remember having the privilege to present the late Dick Clark with a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the American Disc Jockey Association which was founded by the late Bruce Keslar. Yes, the award was not an Emmy, or American Music Award, (which Dick Clark produced) but he was truly honored to be recognized by his peers in which he laid the foundation for many of us to enjoy the benefits of being Professional DJ/Entertainers.

We are truly blessed to have jobs in an industry we always wanted to be in. We should never let any politics, or personal feelings or petty jealousies get in the way of being at the top of our game and eventually being recognized for the great accomplishments we have achieved.

The spirit in which any award show that is produced is to recognize those who are worthy to receive such recognition. There are many deserving people who may need the recognition to feel validated, and there are those who are humbled to receive any award for simply doing their job.

How would you feel if you got a call from the White House and regardless of your political affiliation and received an award from the President of the United States, let’s say you disagree with his politics, would you put a high value on it or would you consider it a meaningless award?

Everyone has an ego

And it needs to be stroked at least every once in a while. As a matter of fact, it is nice to be recognized for good work or even exceptional work. Sometimes, awards may not be necessary when a simple “Thank You” would suffice.

But, then there are exceptions when exemplary work and contributions should be recognized by more than a “Thank You” and for that, an award should not be considered meaningless regardless if the monetary value does not exceed our expectations. When the recognition is sincere even if it is only a piece of paper and not a trophy, that is something that you can not put a price tag on.

In closing

I would like for you to think about the questions I asked at the beginning of this article, and then imagine yourself on a stage and think about what your acceptance speech would be and what thoughts may go through your mind. I know that when I received my Hall of Fame Award, I was humbled and thanked my family and peers for helping me get to where I am today.

As in most award shows, somehow we always seem to forget someone, there are those in who have contributed leaps and bounds to our industry.

I want to thank those who taught seminars, who wrote articles in our trade magazines, bloggers, those who produced regional and national trade shows, manufacturers, security people, and most of all, the people behind the scenes who don’t get the recognition but are deserving.

In the spirit of which I am sincere with my words, although there may not be a trophy or certificate, I hope there is value to you as these are words from my heart. All of you gave me a nudge, an extra push and for that, I will always be grateful.

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