Kingston, Jamaica, February 1, 2008 – In February the commemoration of the legendary Robert Nesta Marley’s birthday will be even more special this year with the premiere of the documentary film ‘Africa Unite’.
On Marley’s Earth strong on February 6, Carib 5 Cinema will be a hub of activity with the premiere of the documentary starring American actor Danny Glover, Angelique Kidjo, the I-Threes and the Marley family. Africa Unite is centred on the Marley’s family first family trip to Ethiopia in 2005 for the twelve-hour concert held in the capital city of Addis Ababa. 300,000 persons from across the globe helped the Marley family celebrate Bob Marley’s 60th birthday that year with this massive outdoor concert.
Africa Unite is a masterful film focusing on the Africa Unite concert as well as the Marley family’s travelogue, humanitarian documentary and documenting the spirit of the legendary reggae icon. The film also includes rare archival footage of Marley himself. The 2005 concert was the realization of an ambitious vision of unity that Bob Marley preached about when he himself performed his historic 1978 Zimbabwe concert.
According to Executive Producer Mrs Rita Marley the film chronicles the concert before, during and after. It also covers various important historical events in Africa as well as the history of the icon Bob Marley. She explained “its about Africa Unite, its about the unification of all Africans- those at home and those abroad. Its about togetherness, the film is a combination of the events that happened in Africa during the Africa Unite event.” While the film is anchored by the marathon Marley benefit concert there are parallel narratives that help to create a fuller picture of Bob Marley’s personal dream of a Pan-African movement on the continent and throughout the Diaspora.
A Tuff Gong Pictures production for Rita Marley Foundation and Bob Marley Foundation, the film features principle persons to the cause of uniting the nation such as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover, Jamaican politician Dudley Thompson, world music sensation Angelique Kidjo, Marley’s mother Mrs Booker, American singer Lauryn Hill, Bob Andy, singer Penny Afro, the Marley boys- Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Rohan and Julian, as well as a special appearance by Princess Mary the granddaughter of Emperor Haile Selassie.
Directed by Stephanie Black, Rita Marley emphasizes that the documentary is a one of kind film. She said “its truly one of a kind- places and things that you’ve never seen before or dreamed they existed. We’re quite fortunate we were able to make it into a documentary.” One of those unique moments is Ras ‘Bongo’ Tawney, featured in Black’s award winning documentary ‘Life and Debt’. Tawney’s recollections are of the early and severe discrimination that Rasta’s faced in Jamaica making it clear how far the Rastafarian movement has really progressed. He remembers when merely wearing dreadlocks was considered not fashion, but a crime.
Another special moment in the film is the presence of American actor Danny Glover. According to Mrs. Marley, Glover’s involvement is more than just acting but the actor showed a genuine interest in the achievement of African youth. She said, “UNICEF sponsored him to attend in the first place for the youth symposium- showing the youths how they can be what they want to be.” Footage from these workshops and symposiums assist in demonstrating the amount of education and organizing necessary to rebuild a present day movement that reclaims the mid 20th century goals of leaders like Jomo Kenyatta and Haile Selassie.
Proceeds from the film premiere will be going towards various charities in Jamaica. While this February is the premiere of the film the Africa Unite movement continues as Rita Marley emphasizes “ we’re taking Africa Unite around the continent.
Tuff Gong Pictures production for Rita Marley Foundation and Bob Marley Foundation and it is directed by Stephanie Black.