By Hani Naim
Bob Marley (1945 – 1981) a music legend of modern times was quite a character: The product of an interracial marriage, he turned out to be a mixture of many opposites. He was diplomatic at times, a fighter at other times. A true believer in life, he was soft in love, yet tough and stubborn in dealing with others. He was also a spiritual man, a phenomenal human being, and a unique artist. He lived a short life in his own unique way applying his own non-traditional ways and rules to everything he did and every situation he found himself in.
Bob Marley is like a piece of mosaic: colorful, diverse but harmonious. He’s Jamaican in his music, African in his spirit, and a freedom fighter by instinct. That is the main message one gets from “Marley,” the new documentary that chronicles Bob Marley’s life.
It would seem impossible for anyone to address the life of Reggae’s super star without digging into the profound roots of Africa’s history. The continent suffered so much from the shackles of slavery for several centuries, and continues to suffer the repercussions of what ensued to this day. Sixty million Africans were sold as slaves to the United States and South America. It is a dark, painful history of people’s lives broken, abused, later repaired but never healed completely. That’s how Director Kevin MacDonald brilliantly used Africa as a starting point to take us into Bob Marley’s world. Africa turns out to be the thread that links many aspects together and, as the film shows, how relevant it was in shaping Marley, the artist and the man.
Unlike other documentaries, “Marley” is entertaining as much as it is informative capable of grabbing viewers’ attention from beginning to end. Even though it is loaded with details and stories, it does not leave any room for boredom. Quite the contrary, the audience is led to anticipate the next scenes with the passion of further exploring the world of Bob Marley. The rare, never seen videos of Marley make this documentary truly unique and brilliant. The archival footage, in addition to the interviews with all the people who were around Marley till his last moments, adds a special taste to the already rich experience.
When we go deeply into Africa’s slavery history, we can understand better where Marley’s music, lyrics, and even his spirit have come from and why his songs are sung and shared by freedom fighters around the world to this day. It also becomes clear why Marley became an icon of freedom and peace for millions worldwide.
The documentary opens with the story of his “white” English father and his “brunette” African mother and how they came together. This (at the time) odd and frowned upon union brought Robert Marley to life. His mixture would prove to be a source of major annoyance and pain to Marley especially that his father left them and his mother raised him alone. The film highlights the dilemma and suffering Marley endured as a result of his interracial genes as he was growing up and when he entered the world of music. Using Bob Marley’s own words through archival interviews and through testimonials from those close Continue reading “Marley: The controversial legend”