Full house for Africa unite at Carib theatre
When American actor Danny Glover, a long-time action movie favourite through the Die Hard series, and a humanitarian activist, spoke in Cinema 3 at Carib 5, Cross Roads, on Wednesday afternoon, he underscored the pull of Bob Marley's music.
He told the full house gathered for the Jamaican premiere of Africa Unite on Bob Marley's 63rd birthday that in the fall of 1975 he attended a concert in San Francisco, California. The performance by Bob Marley and the Wailers, along with the I Three, changed his life. "There has been no other musician who has been able to articulate my own rebelliousness," Glover said.
And he told the gathering that Marley lives in all "who believe in justice, who believe in peace, who believe in standing up for our rights".
Glover appears in Africa Unite, a documentary by Stephanie Black around the concert of the same name in Ethiopia in 2005, but which also covers the life of HIM Haile Selassie, the journey of Ras Tawney to Ethiopia, the desires of a diverse group of young Africans and the travels of Ziggy, Ky-Mani, Julian, Stephen and Damian Marley through the streets before they perform.
Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths, who wraps up the music of Africa Unite with He's A Legend, as well as Ethiopian Teddy Afro also performed at Africa Unite 2005.
Angelique Kidjo from Benin also performs in the documentary and her brief burst of song at Wednesday's premiere was impressive. Kingsley 'Ragashanti' Stewart, who hosted the premiere said, "There is an aesthetic awareness, you don't know what she was saying but you say it is a good song" to general agreement.
"When I was a teenager in high school we were in so much pain, the anger and wanting things to change," she said. They looked around for someone who could uplift them, articulate their pain. "The only one was Bob Marley," Kidjo said.
There was music from the Papine High School choir, which included Exodus, The Heathen and Rat Race in their 'Bob Marley Tribute', rhythmic motion accompanying the songs.
Opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller's salutation of 'Jah' to the Rastafarians present was also answered with a mass Rastafari. She described Bob Marley as a "free spirit" and told Glover she was happy he loved Jamaica and Jamaica returned the love. When Simpson Miller was finished Ragashanti clarified that Bob Marley's name is actually Nesta Robert Marley, as she had said, confirming with Rita Marley that there had been some confusion with the 'birth paper'. "Be assured the Leader of the Opposition did not make a mistake just now as some misinterpreted," Stewart said.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding said Bob Marley "was not just a musician, an artiste. He was all of that, but if you compare him with the great performers - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin - I don't know if people talk about them as much as they talk about Bob Marley".
"Nobody has had the impact that Bob Marley has had in the past 50 years," he said.
Golding showed his familiarity with Bob Marley's music as he spoke of Simmer Down and It Hurts To Be Alone, but said he had never heard his favourite, I Know A Place, on radio. "So there must be so much of Bob we have not been fully exposed to," Golding said.
"But Mr prime minister yu know tune man," Stewart complimented him.
Michael Dawson of People's Telecom, which put on the Jamaican screening along with the Bob Marley Foundation, said, "This is more than a dream of ours." He gave a brief history of the company and some of the events it got involved in, including celebrating Marcus Garvey's birthday, Mandela's release from prison, the anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion and Martin Luther King's birthday.
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