Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Cedella: My mom is my ‘best friend’ and ‘inspiration’

Rita Marley celebrated with week-long activities ahead of 75th earthstrong

Published:Wednesday | July 21, 2021 | 12:11 AM
Rita Marley’s 75th birthday will be marked with a week-long slate of activities.
Rita Marley’s 75th birthday will be marked with a week-long slate of activities.
Cedella Marley (right) describes her mother, Rita Marley, as her ‘best friend’.
Cedella Marley (right) describes her mother, Rita Marley, as her ‘best friend’.
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Marley matriarch, entertainer, and humanitarian, Rita Marley, will be celebrated with a week of events and activities both locally and across the globe ahead of her 75th birthday on Sunday.

According to a release from the Marley Group, the celebration, dubbed ‘Mystic of a Queen’, will honour the “living achievements of Rita Marley, of the woman whose resilience, strength and vision helped to build Tuff Gong International, establish the Bob Marley Museum, rear a musical dynasty (spanning three generations and counting), and much more”.

The activities are being staged under the guidance and direction of Cedella Marley, the firstborn child of Bob and Rita Marley and current head of the Marley Group.

Speaking of Rita Marley, affectionately called ‘Nana’, Cedella Marley called her mom an inspiration. “My mom is my best friend, my inspiration, and, regardless of my title, she is very much still the boss,” she said. “The Bob Marley legacy that the world knows today is due in no small part to the work of Mrs Marley. If ‘We Must Carry On’ was a person, it would be Rita Marley. We are blessed to be able to honour her.”

This week’s events mirror the scope of Rita Marley’s contributions and influence as an entrepreneur, entertainer, and humanitarian and will involve the various entities she helms in Jamaica, Ghana, and the United States. Activities will include exhibitions, panel discussions, musical entertainment, special programming and newly recorded music on the Marley family’s latest venture, Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio, and the announcement of the new Rita Marley Scholarship Programme.

Performers and participants featured during the week of festivities include Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Queen Ifrica, Tessanne Chin, Tanya Stephens, Nadine Sutherland, Ernie Smith, DJ Sunshine, Mitzie Williams, Odessa Chambers, Carolyn Cooper, Tova Hamilton, Coleen Douglas, and the Jamaica Youth Chorale.

The grand finale is a live stream that airs Sunday, July 25, Rita Marley’s birthday. The stream, which will begin at 5 p.m. EST, will be shown on Tuff Gong International’s official YouTube channel and Tuff Gong Television. It will feature a behind-the-scenes peek at the Bob Marley Museum’s new Rita Marley Exhibition (curated by Berette Macaulay), a mini-documentary, new music videos, an exclusive airing of the Rita Marley: Mystic of a Queen Concert, and the première of the digitally remastered Africa Unite Concert; all interspersed with greetings and well wishes from friends and family.