On Bob Marley’s 60th birthday anniversary, The Marley family traveled to Ethiopia to commemorate the event in 2005. This was first time the Marley family, including Bob’s mother Cedella Booker, traveled to Ethiopia, and that journey was documented by acclaimed film maker Stephanie Black, in "Africa Unite."
In her other film "Life and Debt", she delves into the economic strife Jamaica is under due to the imposed economic restructuring implemented by the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund). In her first film "H-2 Worker" she exposes the exploitation of Jamaican visa farm laborers in the Florida sugar cane industry.
In "Africa Unite" you get an up close and personal perspective into the importance of Bob’s music to his family, his peers (other musicians and Rastas), as well as some notable activists, and fans. There is some moving commentary from Ziggy, Damian, and Stephen Marley, and you witness their experiences as they spread Bob”s message of an undivided, unified African continent.
There are some great stage performances coupled with tours of the palace that His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie lived in, vintage clips of Selassie’s speech to the United Nations, and interviews with his granddaughter Princess Mary Mariamenna Senna Asfa Wosen.
This film flows between historical moments in Africa with old black and white video of Selassie, Bob’s historic Zimbabwe show, Jomo Kenyatta speeches, Selassie’s Jamaican visit, and is interspersed with lots of Bob Marley”s music. You will also hear some African singers at the concert in Addis Ababa, Angelique Kidjo and Teddy Afro.
The best part of the film for me was to see Rasta elder Bongo Tawney make the trip over from Jamaica. As he visits the Haile Selassie Trinity Cathedral you really get a sense of how deeply moved he is to be in his father”s house. A journey that embodies the spiritual fulfillment of Rastafari, a truly blessed occasion captured in cinematic splendor.
In addition to all the superb concert footage, there are some inspiring thoughts shared from young Africans representing many different countries. Their discussion begins offering ideas and solutions to bring unification to Africa just as Bob sang about on his album "Survival", in the song "Africa Unite."
Joined by the Marley brothers, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, activist, and actor Danny Glover, also takes part in the Africa Unite Symposium discussions. Also present in the film is American singer, rapper, hip-hop artist, actress, producer, Lauryn Hill. She and Rohan Marley and their children are all in the documentary for brief moments.
The soundtrack provides a fine selection of Bob Marley’s music performed both by Bob (in archive footage), and Bob Marley”s children carrying the torch which light shines brighter and brighter. There is also a lot of bonus features on the DVD which includes additional concert footage, interviews with Rita Marley and the Marley brothers, excerpts from Africa Unite 2006 in Ghana, and archival Bob Marley footage in New York City 1980.
To learn more about the Africa Unite movement log onto www.africa-unite.org. This video will be of great historical significance in the future and will be a reference to those seeking insight into the progression of Rastafarian faith.
BigUpRadio Staff Writer