Marley Siblings Now in Control: Jamaica Gleaner

Article from Jamaican Gleaner, Sunday, February 4, 2001.

Marley Siblings Now in Control
Justin Whyte, Entertainment Editor

BOB MARLEY has influenced the direction and content of Jamaican music, especially in the year subsequent to his death. Marley's musical legacy is beneficial to the strength and dynamism of Caribbean culture and society in general. His music also has explicit impact on his children and they have continued the tradition of their father. To this end, the Bob Marley Foundation was set up to see to the perpetuity of the legend's philosophy. "The Bob Marley Foundation was set up as an institution to carry on the work begun by Bob. It was also conceptualised to control the misuse of Bob's name and image." Stephanie Marley told Showbiz: "My father was a staunch supporter of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and other organisations, which embraced caring and sharing programmes. Hence one of the Foundation's original mandates was to provide for the elderly and the furtherance of children's education. Scholarships were set up to enable students to pursue courses in history, music and other cultural subjects at tertiary institutions. However, all these objectives were not being maintained.

"On my return from studies at the University of Western Ontario, Canada where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology, we began consolidating the various entities under one umbrella for more effective management -- the museum, Tuff Gong Recording Studios among others and we have formed The Bob Marley Group to ensure a better management structure."

Miss Marley is also aware that Bob's legacy and philosophy needed a more up-to-date marketing strategy. "We want to re-emphasise or shift more emphasis on the local population - want to pull more locals, especially to the museum. We are now engaged in redesigning the museum - making Bob's house closer to the original". All offices that were located in the main building are relocated to other areas on the museum compound. A Hologram is now placed in the passageway leading to the original record shop. She also said the task of re-exhibiting was given to Neville Garrick, consultant for the Bob Marley Group.

"All this was necessary, because the original mandate was not being followed fully. The sentimental aspect was lacking and this was partly due to our absence as family members", Stephanie said. Now that she is back and in control, along with other family members, she is exerting much energy in the re-organisational aspect of the company.

"We are updating our system of operation and for the first time an attempt is being made to collect royalties and monitor the proper use ofthe name and image of Bob". The original Foundation members were Neville Garrick, Rita Marley, Charmaine Eleanor Wint, Michael Hylton and Cedella Marley. They are now replaced by a totally Marley clan. Rita, Stephanie, David and Cedella Marley. The new company, which has a life of five years, is at present without an accountant and a lawyer to oversee its affairs, but this will be so, until the company gets back on track. The family has also done away with the Memorandum of Association, because they have dispensed with the local Foundation. However Stephanie told Showbiz, "We are looking at forming an International Foundation one branch to be opened in London followed by others, which will give a broader mandate for future development of the Bob Marley Group.

The youth thrust of the new dispensation will portray a new marketing strategy for Marley's music, merchandise and documentaries. In this regard a Bob Marley Expression Day, has been set for February 5, at the museum's courtyard with a view to enhancing the creative expression among the young. Schools have been invited to re-enact the theme - "Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery". "So far eight schools have been selected from a large number of entries. Sponsors KFC and Mothers group of companies have sponsored the feeding programme for the day. And for posterity, all participants will receive a certificate of participation.

The museum, which is largely supported and used by foreigners from all over the world, will also benefit from additional Bob Marley artefacts - depicting his unique lifestyle; clothing will be on display, awards and plaques. All these will be displayed in the new Bob Marley library, which will be financed by the company, 56 Hope Road. "All of this will be in order to retool and streamline the operation of the museum for the millennium". A rather relaxed and confident Stephanie Marley also spoke about the upgrading of existing cottage industries on the museum compound. "There are shops which display an array of Bob's items - there is a Things Jamaican/African craft shop, a Bob Marley Snack Bar, which sells delicious ice cream, coconut, cakes and other indigenous homemade products", Stephanie said. The modernisation of the complex now offers a web site, from which purchases can be made.

Showbiz asked Stephanie when would the long-awaited Bob Marley movie come on stream. "The movie is put on hold, until a new script is written. There were too many storytellers, not enough facts," she said with much profundity. She added: "The movie will be done, when the time is right. If the movie was consolidated, it would have missed recent happenings now of great significance to the family - example, the Grammy Lifetime Award, The successes of the Exodus album, among others," she explained. Under Stephanie's administration the music manufacturing at Tuff Gong International will be upgraded to a modern and comprehensive facility. However, she told Showbiz, "the factory will also re-emphasise the manufacture of vinyl, because there are mounting requests for Bob on vinyl, people who are interested in vintage style" She said. The new factory will emphasise total production and marketing for artistes and will be opened soon at Tuff Gong. ___________________________________________________________________________________ wrote:
>Greetings, RAW people.
>Bob Marley's legacy is on display at the new World of Reggae exhibition in LA, and I look forward to seeing the whole thing in a couple of weeks. I will be interested to see how the exhibition integrates the Marley collection with the display of Ethiopian art and icons. The subject has been on my mind a lot lately.
>Something that hasn't gotten a lot of note in the reading that I have done on Marley is his religious affiliation. As I understand it, Bob Marley was associated for years with the Twelve Tribes but then late in his still-young life, he was baptized in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, adopting the name Berhane Selassie.
>Is there too much made of the churchical affiliations of Bob Marley? Or not enough?
>I'm absorbed by some reading of the EOC that I have recently begun. (Let me thank Jah Lou and Pattie Chase of Reggae1Luv, who have raised my consciousness on the subject lately.) On one hand, my questions are rather artificial and academic. Rastafari is a culture, not a "belief system," and furthermore, I think of a terrific quote by Bunny Wailer on the back of an old Nighthawk compilation in which he says (I'm paraphrasing here, I believe it's from "Knotty Vision") that he's not dealing with organizations but *organism*. (That's the one "ism" that I have seen a Rasta embrace!) In my study of and reasoning with Rasta, I have come to know that Rasta is a culture, and it cannot be understood apart from it many cultural components.
>And on the other hand, there is the sad fact that when Bob Marley had this baptism, he was a dying man. Therefore, I don't know how much one should make of his movement toward the EOC. It's the reader of French existentialism in me that realizes that decisions made in the climate of freedom define the self most authentically, and Bob was far from being a free man in the existential scheme of things. (Marley made a four-day visit to Ethiopia in 1978 -- and there's not a great deal of material in the written record about it. This trip is dealt with only in passing in the biographies.)
>But even if we dismiss the matter as it pertains to Bob Marley, there remains opens a wide field of consideration of the EOC as it relates to Rastafari in Jamaica and abroad. In the years after Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica in 1966, a chapter of the EOC was installed by the man who is now Archbishop Yesehaq, the archbishop of the western hemisphere. It was the occasion for no small amount of friction, he writes in The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church (Winston Publishing, 1997), because baptism in the EOC is done in the name of Christ and Rasta traditionally venerates Haile Selassie. Yet because Selassie himself was a part of this ancient church, it problematizes the literal claim made over the years by the Rastafari that Selassie represents the returned Christ.
>Anyone want to join the discussion and add insights?
>Michael Kuelker
>RAW 1190

Posted: Mon - February 3, 2003 at 09:09 PM