KINGSTON, Jamaica (AFP) — Bob Marley’s musical legacy may be waning 30 years after his death as Jamaica’s youth prefers dancehall to reggae, but the singer remains a cult, if highly commercialised, figure.
Marley has become a merchandiser’s dream, with everything from shoes to snowboards bearing his image, but his friends say it would be tragic if his message of justice for the oppressed gets lost to corporate greed.
“He was never about commercialism,” one friend, Herbie Miller, told AFP. “Money was not his greatest motivation.”
For loyal fans of the Third World’s first pop superstar, who died from cancer at the age of 36 on May 11 1981, this year’s milestone anniversary is not about grieving but about celebrating.
“His music was so full of life, it doesn’t seem right to mourn him,” 24-year-old Bernadette Hellwanter of Vocklabruck, Austria told AFP as she toured the Bob Marley Museum in the Jamaican capital Kingston.
Nickia Palmer stopped briefly to peer at a photo of the dreadlocked legend playing his trademark Gibson guitar.
“The first performance I ever did was at Mount Vernon high school in Fairfax, Virginia and it was No Woman No Cry,” recalled the 33-year-old Jamaican singer, who has spent most of his life in the United States.
Fans flock to the museum, an English-style building where Marley lived and wrote many of his songs.
Tours are also conducted daily in the village of Nine Mile in the rural St Ann parish where Marley was born in February 1945 and where a mausoleum now provides his final resting place.
But despite all the T-shirts, the mugs and the many iconic images of the pot-smoking, football-loving Rastafarian, there is a sense his star could be beginning to fade.
The Marley Foundation, which oversees the singer’s estate, says no events are planned to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.
Music from the rebel who introduced reggae to an international audience gets only token play nowadays on the local radio and his message appears lost on today’s Jamaican youth.
Feel-good songs like Three Little Birds and One Love are preferred to more militant tracks such as Exodus or The Heathen.
According to Miller, the ubiquitous One Love has reduced Marley’s revolutionary message to a catchphrase for Jamaica’s tourism industry.
“This is a man who took a bullet for his country. The powers that be in Jamaica are trying to make him soft,” he said.
In Trench Town, the Kingston ghetto that inspired some of Marley’s most memorable songs, there are few visitors to the tenement where he once lived during the 1960s.
Artefacts include the shell of a Volkswagen van that Marley used to sell his records and a bed he slept on.
“As someone who was born in Trench Town, ‘Gong’ (Marley’s nickname) had a big impact (on me),” 48-year-old roots-reggae singer I-Cient-Cy Mau told AFP.
“Him always had time for the youths an’ that’s something missing from reggae today.”
But the sounds Marley made during the 1970s appear almost foreign to today’s Jamaican youth, more caught up with flamboyant dancehall acts like Vybz Kartel and Movado.
Overseas, perhaps, there is more room for nostalgia.
Marley performed twice in his life in Belgium, but according to Brice DePasse, a Belgian journalist with the Nostalgie television station, he left an indelible mark.
“He’s been big in Belgium since 1977 when he first performed there. There’s not a day that his music is not played,” said DePasse.
To commemorate his death, Nostalgie will air the hour-long documentary In The Footsteps of Bob Marley today.
Source: Jamaica Observer
Summer Sizzle hits the United States Virgin Islands!
Summer Sizzle VI 2011 in collaboration with Models.com will be holding castings in St. Croix on Friday, June 17 and in St. Thomas on Saturday, June 18. We are looking for female and male models. Locations to be announced. For more information email email@example.com.
The festivities kick off on Thursday, July 21, and run through Sunday, July 24, 2011. Summer Sizzle events include a Culture and Style Welcome Pool Party, the Sunset White Fashion Fete, a Day Sail Excursion to one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the highlight of the event – The Summer Sizzle Fashion Show, “Global Glamour.”
Welcome Bash-Thursday, July 21, 2011
Welcome ashore to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands! Celebrate the arrival of international guests with a true taste of V.I. culture and style. Enjoy delicious island cuisine, tropical drinks, and live entertainment.
White Party-Friday, July 22, 2011
A warm sunset and island breeze creates a perfect evening for an elegant fashion party where guests are required to wear white. Dance away in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands with music provided by top NYC DJ.
Fashion Show-Saturday, July 23, 2011
Glamour, glitz, fashion, and fun are the focus of this spectacular gala. Located in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, the fashion show will feature collections from some of the world’s most sizzling designers.
Sail Excursion-Sunday, July 24, 2011
Escape to one of the most tranquil and breathtaking places on earth, St. John, U.S Virgin Islands. Experience a day on the beach at Trunk Bay where white pristine beaches and crystal clear water awaits you.
Summer Sizzle Designers:
- Kevan Hall
- Korto Momolu
- Cesar Galindo
- Laquan Smith
- Roger Gary
- Johnny Vincent
- Mill House
- Kristin Frazer
- Robert Young
The United States Virgin Islands consists of 3 main islands which are St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. This 10 minute video takes you on a tour of the islands from a scrapbook journey and voiceover by singer and songwriter Jade Anderson.
Students from Ricardo Richards, Claude O. Markoe, Evelyn Williams, Alexander Henderson, Charles H. Emanuel, Juanita Gardine, Alfredo Andrews, and St. Croix Educational Complex letting you know about their love of culture.
See the promotional video below:
Join the youth of St. Croix today April 16th 6:00 p.m., at the St. Croix Educational Complex Gymnasium.