Natty Dread

These days, when we’re talking beauty we’re simultaneously talking travel, business, family, love, music – the good things in life. This is the New Beauty Talk and it’s an entire world. Of course, Patrice is up on it!

I got to see a screener a week ago or so. I went into the Marley documentary thinking I knew what I’d be seeing and it would be great. I left realizing that assuming you know and SEEING this man’s life play out before you is two totally different things. I left feeling all kinds of feelings – proud, empowered, heartbroken, grieving, but still in absolute awe. I left the theater convinced that EVERYONE needs to see Marley. Not just the college kids and the already converted fans. EVERYONE. Especially those who don’t know about the man and his message, and just think of him as ganja, good times and One Love. Because Bob Marley was so, so much more than that.

Obviously there can be no spoilers for a film like Marley, that’s like saying there’s spoilers for the end of Titanic or something. Everyone knows the end of this movie is going to be tragic. But there are revelations in seeing the tragedy unfold, and seeing how valiantly and desperately Bob fought to save his own life. It’s the part of his life that nobody else got to see, before now. The trip to Bavaria. Bob Marley in all of that snow, shorn of his crowning glory. Images that hit you square in the chest. And before that, the beginning – the life of struggle and poverty in Nine Miles and then Trench Town, the cameras traveling from First Street to Second Street, and then trodding on to Third Street as Bob did in Natty Dread.

Marley shows a real, heartfelt portrayal of the man behind the Legend. Friends and family, the musicians he cut his teeth with, former lovers and baby mothers, and even Bob’s own children Cedella and Ziggy, share their memories. We learn that Bob Marley was a man of firm beliefs and expectations, a competitive and tough and seriously dedicated man, generous to a fault and aware of his position in the world. He had crazy charisma and the ladies couldn’t help but fall for him, because despite the talent and the handsome visage, he was shy and introspective. It seemed that even when Bob was on the come up, he knew where he was going. He always had a message to be delivered around the world, to millions.

It’s amazing to see the journey – from Burnin’ and the struggles within the Wailers, to touring the world and performing before increasingly large and rapt audiences. It was fascinating to hear that Bob yearned to reach an African American audience that wasn’t yet feeling reggae all the way. He opened for The Commodores at a time that it should have been vice versa, just to reach a black audience in the USA.

What were the flaws of the Marley documentary? There weren’t many, but I must say, as someone who grew up so steeped in the music, I felt that the contributions of Peter Tosh were downplayed – despite the beef that simmered between the two men, they enjoyed tremendous creativity together and inspired the world together.

The crowd reaction really got to me at times – Americans are so quick to laugh at an accent that’s different, and it took me back to freshman year of college when I felt insecurity and pressure to adapt the way I spoke in order to be more clearly understood. I wanted to tell the annoying row of people behind me, HEY if you listen and stop giggling, you would clearly understand what everyone in the film was saying. Subtitles did help for some, though. I can’t lie.

Even though the film was beyond amazing, I still wanted more. I wanted to see more of Bob Marley’s children – especially at the film’s end, because they are his truest legacy. I wanted to see Damian Marley, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Ky-Mani, Rohan – all of them. Even if it was just a group photograph. Something to show how his music and his physical likeness lives on through his children.

This is a film I want to own on Blu-Ray and share with my family, it’s a film that will bear repeated viewings, and a film that I hope will inspire future generations. There will never be another Bob Marley. But the world can always use more people who were inspired by his music and his message.

Fans of Marley’s music will get to soak in the undiluted truth of this musical prophet amongst men. That in itself is a glorious and beautiful thing.
(Read more here, at Afrobella)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked:*


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>