International icon Bob Marley died of cancer at the age of 36 in 1981.
What You Need to Know
- Paramount Pictures is developing a biopic about Bob Marley
- LA Times columnist LZ Granderson wrote about whether the film will show Marley as an artist and activist, or whether it will whitewash his life.
- Marley’s biggest hit was the posthumous album, “Legend”, which remains one of the most successful albums in the history of Billboard charts.
- Kingsley Ben-Adir will play Marley in the upcoming project
In his short life, he changed the music scene, introducing new audiences to reggae with songs like “Get Up, Stand Up”, “No Woman, No Cry” and “Three Little Birds”. Now, Paramount Pictures shares the life story of the legendary singer with a new biographical film starring Kingsley Ben-Adir.
Los Angeles Times columnist LZ Granderson wrote about the upcoming film in his latest column, wondering what version of the artist viewers will actually have. In an interview with LA Times Today, he spoke with presenter Lisa McRee about the project.
For many, Bob Marley is the epitome of reggae music. He now joins the ranks of other music icons who have biopics.
“His life story [is] very similar to a life story like Freddie Mercury and Elton John, “said Granderson.” It’s just as fascinating, and a lot of people want to see it. [his life] on the big screen. It took Paramount a year to find what they believe to be the perfect Bob Marley. I’ve obviously seen Ben on “One Night in Miami” and it’s amazing. He has also acted in other things. I have no doubt about his performance as Bob Marley. I have no doubt about the context of the film, the accuracy of the information, because the family is also involved. “
Granderson wrote about which version of Marley would be performed on screen. He explained what he meant by that and what the different versions of Marley were.
“The great John Lewis said it was important for us to be good in charge of problems. So this is me doing some good problems because we love both versions of Bob Marley, I love them. But people have to the Bob Marley who became popular in [the] The United States, which enjoyed the popularity of ‘Legend’, their hit album, was not necessarily a true reflection of who they are or what they were as an artist or as an activist. It is important to note the distinction because the same forces that Bob Marley used to sing and fight as a rasta in Jamaica and around the world, these same forces are what created this image of Bob Marley through his great album achievements that may not be as authentic as you think. “
Granderson spoke about the Rastafarian religion and its importance in Marley’s life and career.
“Rastafarianism is a religion and there are many things that are politically driven. There are many things in him that are very similar to Christianity. And there are some things that are more related to hippies, like obviously the affinity for smoking marijuana and sitting down. They were, above all, activists. And this is an important part of this because they did not necessarily fight within the political realm, but also fought in a natural way that also interpreted the kingdom of Earth. Somehow, you can say there the first adapters of the fight against climate change, if you will, because they value and understand the importance of caring for the planet. That, too, is part of religion. “
Marley’s faith and race also took into account his success in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s.
“Certainly, if you have a black man from Jamaica who smokes marijuana and probably talked about smoking marijuana, especially during the 70’s and 80’s, where marijuana was demonized in that country to a very high level that led to imprisonment. “You can see why the Rastafarian version of Bob Marley,” said Granderson. “He passionately believed in these things, especially talking about the legacy of slavery and colonialism, its impact not only on his community, but also on the African diaspora in general. I can see why this would not be a big deal. salesman for record companies “.
Marley’s greatest hits album, “Legend,” was a huge success. It was released two years after his death and introduced his music to a whole new audience. With the release of “Legend,” Marley’s message was diluted to attract a wider, whiter audience. Granderson argues that album marketing erases Marley’s work as an activist somewhat.
“He [record company] they did it on purpose because they wanted to sell to whites. That’s literally what the executive who rode ‘Legend’ said. I wanted to market from Bob Marley to whites. You can see the inherent conflict. Bob Marley sold several hundred thousand CDs of ‘Exodus’, which was his most popular album in the United States. ‘Legend’ is the second longest album in the history of Billboard charts. This tells you everything you need to know about the strategies they used. While it may have neutralized Bob Marley’s message and music, it certainly seals his popularity. “
Granderson explained that the Wailers, who performed with Marley, have not commented on how they feel about the upcoming biopic.
“It will be interesting to see which voices become more active and louder as we get closer and closer to making this project a reality.”
Watch “LA Times Today” at 7pm and 10pm Monday to Friday on Spectrum News 1 and the Spectrum News app.