Monday, January 31, 2005

Ras John comments on The Grammy's for MSNBC

Check out Ras John's comments to MSNBC on the Reggae Grammy Nominations:
Ras John Comments on Reggae Grammy Nominations

Friday, January 21, 2005

ETHIOPIA: Marley event to highlight HIV/AIDS, war and poverty

Source: IRIN

ADDIS ABABA, 21 January (IRIN) - The wife of legendary reggae star Bob Marley is spearheading one of the largest ever music concerts in Ethiopia to celebrate his 60th birthday anniversary, organisers said on Friday.

The organisers hope to highlight issues like HIV/AIDS, war and poverty, while raising funds for tsunami relief in Somalia, the Shashemane Medical Centre and Bob Marley Youth Development Centre in downtown Addis Ababa.

"The Marley family is committed to progressing Bob's legacy as a champion for human rights," Desta Meghoo-Peddie, managing director of the Bob Marley Foundation, said. "We invite the world to celebrate with us in refuelling the spirit that will unify Africa, her sons and daughters in the Diaspora and work towards ending violence, poverty, injustice and discrimination."

Dubbed "Africa Unite" in tribute to one of Marley's most famous songs, several hundred thousand people are expected to attend the free month-long celebrations.

"Africa is Bob's spiritual home and so solidarity among other cultural activists across the continent is important to his family," Rita, his widow, said. "We want to negate the impoverished, dependent and hopeless images of Africa that are beamed around the world every day."

"Africa Unite" was designed to underscore the need for unity by all Africans, including those in the Diaspora, "to end the violence, poverty and suffering, which impacts the world", Rita said.

In what will be the first celebration of the singer's birthday outside Jamaica, stars from around the world are attending the 6 February event, which organisers estimate up to 400,000 people will attend in Addis Ababa.

African and international musicians, including Grammy Award winner India Arie, Angelique Kidjo, Shaggy, Luciano, Marley's children, Quincy Jones, Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour will take part.

The Cuban-born Rita also said she will be singing at the concert with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt as the I-Threes, Marley's former back-up group. The concert is to be the highlight of the celebrations and will also include a film festival, seminars and a gala fundraiser using the themes of the reggae star's songs, including War, Exodus and Get Up Stand Up.

The African Union (AU), the World Bank, UNICEF, UNECA and Ethiopian government are supporting the event. The celebration will also feature the launch of Rita's biography entitled, "No Woman No Cry - My Life with Bob Marley", an exhibition of African art and three conferences on African unity, women and youth.

Ethiopia was chosen to host the events because of the key role it plays in the Rastafarian spiritual movement. Not only is former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, born Ras Tafari, the spiritual leader of the Rastafarians that Marley embraced and popularised, but Addis Ababa is the headquarters to the AU.

Celebrations are also set to take place in Shashemene, some 250 km south of Addis Ababa, which has become home to hundreds of Rastafarians. The Rastafarians, who are mainly from Jamaica, started migrating to Ethiopia 41 years ago after being given 500 hectares of land in Shashemene on which to settle by Selassie.

IRIN news

Monday, January 17, 2005

12th Annual Bob Marley Festival

The 12th Annual Bob Marley Caribbean Festival
and Food Drive

"Pass It On"

Saturday February 26, 2005
At Bayfront Park Amphitheater
301 N. Biscayne Blvd, Miami FL

An All Day Celebration of Music and Food Drive
Ziggy Marley
Stephen Marley
Damian "Jr Gong" Marley
Beenie Man
Elephant Man
Daddy Yankie and Pittbull

Also the DJ Hosts:
DJ Khalid
Waggy T
Tom Laroc
Jah Stream

and more...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Let Bob Marley Rest In Peace

It has been widely reported that Rita Marley has told the government of Ethiopia that she is going to move the remains of her husband, Bob Marley, from his mountain top resting spot in the district of Nine Mile, Jamaica to his 'spiritual resting place' in Ethiopia. The Bob Marley and Rita Marley Foundations have denied press reports that the widow of the reggae legend plans to have his body exhumed from his Jamaican burial ground and entombed in Ethiopia. We at deeply hope that there is no real plan to take Bob’s body from Jamaica, the land of his birth and that it is just part of the hype associated with the benefit concert being staged in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa next month to celebrate what would have been Bob’s 60th Birthday.

Bob Marley's home is in Jamaica. He was born there. He grew up there. He is a product of Jamaican Culture. He is one, if not the most important person in Jamaican history. When he knew he was going to die soon, he left the cancer treatment clinic and where did he want to be? Jamaica. He died in Miami on his way home to Jamaica, not Ethiopia. We at believe this would be a sad betrayal of Bob, Jamaica and fans of his music and message whose seed grew out of fertile soil in Jamaica.

When Bob sang 'Africa Unite because your children want to come home', as he did throughout his songs, like many great writers and prophets he spoke in metaphor to paint a picture that would reach across time and culture. He was certainly also very concerned by the hurt and pain and tragedy experienced by so many on the African continent - horrors like Rwanda (you might want to see the movie Hotel Rwanda) and in the Sudan have been all too common. Africa Unite is, like many of Bob's songs, a prayer of hope. When Bob says Jamaica is too small for him and points toward Africa, it is about his impact and how he could deliver his message to do the most good with it - in fact, he very clearly was successful in planting seeds of his message to much of humanity worldwide and that message continues to be vital.

The “Back to Africa” movement that was promoted by Marcus Garvey came about not because an actual return to a spiritual home was needed but because Garvey began to question whether Blacks in America would ever be permitted to achieve any real equality. Marcus Garvey, like Bob, was a prophet and great spiritual being. His main message was one of empowering the Children of Africa through promoting education and personal success - he promoted "Black is Beautiful" long before the 60's . He strove to get Black People to take pride in themselves and in their race . . . to realize they were as great and noble as any race and that they had a rich heritage in their "spiritual" homeland of Africa. His movement had hoped that the heroism and honor displayed by Black soldiers in World War I would begin to turn the tide of respect and it didn’t happen. He only promoted repatriation to Africa out of frustration. He stated very clearly that "as we pray to Almighty God to save us through his Holy Words so shall we with confidence in ourselves follow the sentiment of the Declaration of Rights and carve our way to liberty." For Garvey,
it was no less than the will of God for Black people to be free to determine their own destiny. His organization took as its motto "One God! One Aim! One Destiny!" and looked to the literal fulfillment of Psalm 68:31: "Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God." It was a prayer for a redeemer - someone to make it clear to Blacks that they were inferior to no one and could wield power and influence in the world as much as any one. Haile Selassie fulfilled that vision.

All that said, Bob's Spiritual home is all of creation - he was an enlightened being with enormous personal power - he did not live a flawless life anymore than many prophets and reluctant Messiah's. As to Rita, while she deserves great respect for her own accomplishments, she often seems to be operating on far more of a material plane than Bob ever did. She is living up to part of Marcus Garvey's message by wielding her power in the material world and if she has put any ideas out there about moving Bob, they are more a statement of her power than anything motivated by Spirit. Bob has a peaceful resting place in the land of his birth and there he should be allowed to remain.

One Love,
Ras John