Sat | Oct 16, 2021

Skip Marley’s ‘Higher Place’ vision captured in mini-documentary

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2021 | 12:26 AMStephanie Lyew - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Skip Marley’s ‘Let’s Take It Higher’ mini-documentary is produced by Boomshots, directed by Reshma B, and co-produced by Rob Kenner.
Skip Marley’s ‘Let’s Take It Higher’ mini-documentary is produced by Boomshots, directed by Reshma B, and co-produced by Rob Kenner.

Skip Marley on the set of ‘Let’s Take It Higher’. The mini-documentary was shot at Marley’s Miami home.
Skip Marley on the set of ‘Let’s Take It Higher’. The mini-documentary was shot at Marley’s Miami home.
 Skip Marley (left) and director Reshma B.
Skip Marley (left) and director Reshma B.
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“Mankind have to act now, not later … mankind need to see what is happening and where it will lead to. We haffi mek the necessary steps and mek the changes, now, not later, fi the better, and the change starts within yuhself, yuh nuh.”

These words resonate in a similar way to the words and lyrics of Bob Marley’s, but are actually spoken by Skip Marley in the Let’s Take It Higher mini-documentary produced by Boomshots, directed by Reshma B, and co-produced by Rob Kenner, who is widely known for his work in hip-hop publishing and is about to release another major project The Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle.

“I think Skip is doing what Bob did for his generation, and people say he much resembles the reggae icon, but he’s relative to this time. I have been talking about making this film for over a year,” Reshma B told The Sunday Gleaner.

Reshma B, who produced Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes, said that the timing worked perfectly with the young Marley’s Higher Place being nominated in two categories for the 63rd Grammy Awards.

“I was inspired by the fact that he is not only nominated for Best Reggae Album but also for Best R&B Song for his duet Slow Down featuring H.E.R. and as we all know Bob Marley once sang, ‘Play I on the R&B, I want all my people to see’. Seeing the third generation of Bob Marley’s family continue his legacy at the highest level is very inspiring,” she said.

Meanwhile, Skip Marley, in his reflections on the honour of the prestigious award, life, family and the lessons he has learnt from the elders of the music industry, reveals that he would like for the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album to go to the late reggae icon ‘Toots’ Hibbert for Got To Be Tough, released two weeks before his untimely death.

In the documentary, Skip Marley clearly pronounces, “Mi waan me uncle win dat still, me uncle Toots … The whole foundation of what we doing now is thanks to dem man deh,” just as he pays tribute to the pioneers of reggae music.

“There’s a lot of strong projects this year from legends like Toots to newcomers like Skip,” said Reshma B, speaking of the nominees in the same category, which also includes Buju Banton’s Upside Down, Maxi Priest’s It All Comes Back to Love and The Wailer’s One World.

She has had the privilege to interview Maxi Priest numerous times in the past, and he makes an appearance in the Studio 17 film: ‘Toots’ Hibbert before the release of his Grammy-nominated album and Buju Banton shortly after his return to Jamaica and more recently, for the Boomshots x Vibe digital cover last year.

The mini-documentary was done during the pandemic and had a quick turn-around, unlike other features she said.

Reshma B said, “To be honest, I was not sure I wanted to travel, but I’m so glad I did, and thankfully it all worked out safely; the level of ease was what was so amazing about the entire process. It was a pleasure to work with Skip because he trusted us - everything felt very natural - when you have an understanding with each other that nothing has to be said because it’s all vibes. I also want to send a special shout out to his mother, Cedella, for welcoming the Boomshots production team into their home to do what we do.”

The 25-minute-long production features interviews with his mother Cedella Marley, the firstborn daughter of Bob and Rita Marley, uncle Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, grandmother Rita Marley, his Slow Down singing partner H.E.R., Rick Ross, also one collaboration featured on the Higher Place album, and veteran reggae singer Marcia Griffiths. It also features a special sit-down interview with Inner Circle’s Ian and Roger Lewis, who recorded and performed with Bob Marley in the 1970s. Their description of Skip Marley was that he has, ‘nuff a Bob’s vibes’ but one of the most common things said about the Lions singer and songwriter is that he is one of the most humble and down-to-earth human beings with a kind and loving spirit no one can ignore - much like his grandfather.

Speaking on the forthcoming Bob Marley biopic at Paramount Pictures, Reshma B said that “his legacy is global, he is an iconic figure, so I am looking forward to see that film come together and even more excited to see the vision of Reinaldo [Green], who is the director they have selected.”

Skip Marley has also received the nod from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for its upcoming NAACP Image Awards in the Outstanding New Artiste category for his single Higher Place alongside Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper Doja Cat and rapper D Smoke, who also shares some encouraging words in the Let’s Take It Higher documentary. The ceremony will be simulcast on March 27 across Viacom CBS Networks, including BET, CBS, MTV, VH1, MTV2, BET HER, and LOGO.

Filming for the documentary was done in January 2021 and the first day of production was January 6, the same day a violent mob stormed the US Capitol Building.

“There are a couple other things in the pipeline for 2021, but big up to the whole Boomshots crew for trusting me to direct such an important project. The reality, which makes this a time to highlight the message of unity and peace - the message of ‘One Love’ and all that the Marley legacy stands for - is that the world has experienced a lot of stress, challenges and turmoil this past year has inspired this production,” Reshma B said.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com