On this day in history, November 14, 1997, Jimmy Cliff is awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Cliff is a Jamaican ska & reggae musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and actor. He is the only living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honor that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences.

Cliff is best known among mainstream audiences for songs such as “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”, “Many Rivers to Cross”, “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “The Harder They Come”. Cliff is not a member of the Rastafari movement, although he briefly was before converting to Islam from Christianity. He now describes himself as having a “universal outlook on life”, and does not align himself with any particular movement or religion, saying that “now I believe in science.” He has a daughter and a son, and resides in Jamaica.

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