More than 30 years after his death, a new Bob Marley documentary, Marley, hopes to give a previously unseen view of the famed Reggae star. Helmed by Academy Award-winning director Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland, Touch the Void), the film takes a look at Marley’s life and legacy through past interviews with the singer and the closest members of his inner circle including former group member Bunny Wailer, widow, Rita, and son, Ziggy.
His longstanding relationship with Rita, who worked as one of his back-up singers, blossomed from business to professional, which she notes in the documentary. According to the 65-year-old, she was Marley’s “guardian angel,” and the person commissioned to remove women from his dressing room. The duo wed in 1966, allegedly to make it easier for Rita to immigrate into the U.S., and share five children, two of which were her biological children, who Bob Marley adopted. All in all, the reggae star fathered 13 children, with several different women.
Like many in his position, Marley’s star rose faster after his death. Yet even in the midst of stardom, Marley refused to take all the fodder seriously, explaining that his success was not measured by material things. “I don’t have that type of rich,” he said in an interview featured in the documentary. “My richness is life.”
Marley may not have seen his revenue as a true representation of his worth—since his passing the Marley family has had trouble recouping on the rights to his fortune. In 2010, the family lost a court battle for the sole control of some of his biggest hits.
On another note, holding the Marley name has turned into the gift and the curse for much of his offspring. Their personal lives continue to grab headlines, and unfortunately the news isn’t always good. Two years ago, his daughter, Makeda, was busted for ganja possession, and last year, Rohan Marley stunned fans when he revealed that he was not the father of Lauryn Hill’s sixth child—despite fathering all five of her other children. The aftermath of the revelation could have been much more awkward but the former couple squashed any potential beef before the public could dig any deeper for drama, but Hill has yet to identify the father of her young son.
Marley is due out April 20.
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