Friday April 20th was a big day for the Marleys. Aside from the official debut of the Gongzilla’s music video for “Set Up Shop” the Marley camp also welcomed the release of Marley the movie (Magnolia Pictures). I happened to be in New York that day and my sister and I were lucky enough to be one of the first people to see it upon its national premier. After a little speculation on whether or not we were going to see a string of clips previously seen throughout the years of Bob, we wondered if we’d be privy to never before seen footage of the star. We were pleasantly surprised. It was really good, even better than we were expecting.
Along with interviews with family members we’ve come to know and love, the film also brought us some new names and faces of former band members, family members and friends we hadn’t previously heard from. The story highlights when and where then teenager Cedella Booker (Bob’s mom) met her white beau Norval Sinclair Marley, known to the community as Captain Marley, a quartermaster who patrolled the back bushes of St. Ann, Jamaica. The relationship eventually led to a marriage and the birth of Robert Nesta Marley who was born in Nine Mile in February 1945.
The documentary, directed by Kevin Macdonald, discussed in depth Bob’s relationship to his island Jamaica and its people and revealed how dependent they were on his message and music, especially when it came to providing a message of peace amidst the political turmoil that took place during election time between PNP and JLP rivals. Some footage included pictures and clips of the now infamous One Love Peace Concert and discussed Bob’s goals for putting on the show. While the concert provided some enlightenment and an alternative to the violence then, it hasn’t done much over the years to quell the ongoing strife between the two opposing parties. As it turns out we could still use a dose of Bob’s message of love and unity again in most communities around the globe.
Overall, I feel like I got to see another side of Bob Marley and learn more of his life and legacy through conversations with his wife Rita, girlfriend Cindy Breakspeare, his chuckling cousin “Sledgo”, his half-sister, lawyer, band mates, and children. One really gets to overstand who “Robbie” was as a person, not just the world-renown prophet we all know and have embraced. The film is like a journey through the ups and downs he went through from his childhood and teenage years until his untimely death in 1981. This movie is well worth the two hour and twenty-four minutes as it offers a view of Bob’s far-reaching impact on the world. I highly recommend you not miss this one. Marley is available now in most theaters, on iTunes, Facebook and is also available On Demand. There is a double-disc soundtrack that is also available in vinyl. For more information check out the official Bob Marley movie site and their fan page on Facebook.
Watch more clips from the movie on YouTube