Magnolia Pictures and VH1 has teamed up and obtained the United States rights to Academy award-winning director Kevin McDonald's documentary.....Marley.  The film will be executive produced by Island Records' founder Chris Blackwell and Bob's son Ziggy Marley. 


Yesterday in a statement concerning the upcoming movie with, Ziggy said "This documentary is the ultimate revelation of my father's life.  The family is proud to be able to have the world finally experience this emotional journey."

Kevin McDonald, in case you didn't know is the Oscar-winning film-maker behind "The Last King of Scotland", which starred Forest Whitaker in one of the greatest movies of his career.   So, there is now question that "Marley" will be a box office hit.

Kevin says he is making the film, "Marley", because of the star's "continued resonance around the world".  Adding ""He's gone beyond being a famous musician, he's now a philosopher and prophet.  I think that what is important is what he says to people around the world. He manages to be a serious political figure to some, but he can also be an icon of rebellion.""

Kevin has been given unprecedented access to the Marley family's private archives.  This is the first time they have granted a film-maker full authorization.

By the way, the Cape Coast Castle was chosen to feature in "'Marley" because of the historical role it played during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  It is also to show the reggae legend's ancestral slave roots.   Kevin explained, "The opening shot of the film will feature a tour of Cape Coast Castle, a fortification in Ghana that contains the infamous "Door of No Return" through which many Africans passed before being shipped into slavery."

Bob Marley was born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6, 1945, in a rural community of Nine Miles, nestled in the mountainous parish of St. Ann.  His father was a white quartermaster Captain by the name of Norval Marley and was about 50 when Bob was born.  His mother, Cedella Malcolm of Jamaica, was only 18 when she had him.

It should be noted that the residents of Nine Miles have preserved many customs derived from their African ancestry especially the art of storytelling as a means of sharing the past and time-tested traditions that are oftentimes overlooked in official historical sources.  This upbringing can be heard through out his music.




Bob's parents loved one another and were married however, Captain Marley's family strongly disapproved of their union.  Because of this, though he continued to provide financial support, he left  his family.  Sadly, the last time Bob saw his father was when he was 5 years old.

In the late 1950s when Bob, barely into his teens, he left St. Ann.  He eventually settled in the western Kingston vicinity of Trench Town.  Which got it's name because it was built over a sewage trench.  Another wards is was a poor community and Bob Marley would quickly learn to defend himself against Trench Town's tough guys.  In fact, thanks to his fighting skills he earned a pretty cool nickname... Tuff Gong.

By the early 1960s the island's music industry was beginning to take shape, and its development gave birth to a popular Jamaican music form called ska.  Which was some what of a mixture of American soul and R&B.  Ska exerted a widespread influence on poor Jamaican youth while offering a welcomed escape from their otherwise harsh realities.  Speaking of which, kinda like Hip-Hop, Ska became a tangible goal for many Jamaican ghetto youths as a means to become a star.


Uncertain about the prospects of a music career for her son, Cedella encouraged Bob to pursue a trade. When Bob left school at 14, his mom found him a position.  After a short time on the job, Bob had an accident which resulted in a tiny steel splinter becoming embedded in his eye.  That was a rap on the welding and from there he focused solely on music from then on out.

Despite the poverty, Trench Town was also a culturally rich community where Bob's music talents were nurtured and developed.  Trench Town was the inspiration behind several of his songs including "No Woman No Cry" (1974), "Trench Town Rock" (1975) and "Trench Town"(1983).

Bob Marley - No woman no cry - Live 1977


In July 1977, Bob found out he had a form of malignant Melanoma under the nail of one of his toes.  Contrary to popular belief, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football game in that same year, rather a symptom of the already existing cancer.  Unfortunately, Bob turned down doctors' advice to have his toe amputated do to his religious beliefs.

Despite his illness, he continued touring.  The final concert of Bob Marley's career was held September 23, 1980 at the Stanley Theater (now called The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Bob's health deteriorated and he became very ill; the cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and he sought treatment at the Bavarian clinic of Josef Issels.  There, he received a controversial type of cancer therapy known as Issels treatment, which is partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances.

Bob Marley & The Wailers in Dortmund, Germany 1980.



Sadly is was just to late and after fighting the cancer without  for eight months, Bob boarded a plane for home, but would never make it.   While flying home from Germany to Jamaica, his vital functions became critical.  So, the pilot made a emergency landing in Miami and Bob was taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention.  Bob Marley died at Cedar of Lebanon Hospital (now University of Miami Hospital) on May 11, 1981, he was only 36.

Julian Marley, Damian Marley, Bob Marley's widow Rita Marley and her son Stephen Marley

Bob Marley had a number of children: three with his wife Rita, two adopted from Rita's previous relationships, and several others with different women. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children.  Bob Marley was a member of the Rastafari movement, whose culture was a key element in the development of reggae.

Bob Marley was a light to the world, the sound of his country and a voice for the poor.  He will live forever in the music he left us.  Look for the documentary "Marley" to hit select theaters sometime in April.


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