Head of the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, and Minister of Entertainment Olivia Grange have both predicted that the Bob Marley: One Love biopic will be a huge hit, nationally and globally.
The film, set for release in cinemas globally on Valentine’s Day, February 14, is based on the life story of Rita and Bob, with the foundation being the years 1976 to 1978. The period includes the assassination attempt on the couple at their home at 56 Hope Road on December 3, 1976, when Bob was shot and Rita seriously injured, to the Reggae legend’s subsequent self-imposed exile in London and his later return to Jamaica.
The movie had its Jamaica premier at the Carib 5 Cinema at Cross Roads in Kingston on Tuesday evening.
In a Television Jamaica interview, a beaming Minister Grange, who also has portfolio responsibility for Culture, Gender and Sports, said that the film will do wonders globally for Jamaican culture and for Bob Marley’s family.
“It is going to blow up big all over the world, right. It is going to be huge for Jamaica and for the Marleys and for the music. And for Rasta and it’s just a wonderful day,” she said.
According to Dr Stanley Niaah, the film appears to be the most anticipated production out of Jamaica since Perry Henzell’s 1972 film The Harder They Come, which starred Jimmy Cliff.
“I feel that this film is going to be a blockbuster in Jamaica. I think not since The Harder They Come are we going to see so much excitement around a film. Everybody is talking about the film, certainly in my circles,” Sonjah Stanley Niaah said.
According to the UWI lecturer, there is no doubt that the biopic will enable fans of Marley to get a greater insight into his personal life, and experience how he helped to spread Reggae music internationally.
“He is the most important popular, figure in the Third World, that has emerged from the Third World. Bob Marley is up there with the likes of Bruce Lee. When you think of the Marley name, that is the only empire that has emerged from Jamaica. In so many ways, black people have forgotten how to build empires, but out of Jamaica, there is a Marley empire,” she said.
Television Jamaica also reported that there were persons within the Cross Roads area where the film was premiered, who had no idea that there was a Bob Marley movie, nor that its maiden showing would be taking place last evening.
However, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah narrowed this down to a person’s personal history and experience with music.
“Music is one of those elements of culture which brings a certain kind of nostalgia if you didn’t grown up with it; if you didn’t have occasions where you experience this kind of music you don’t recall view it in the same way. So there is a generational difference in the appreciation for music,” she said.
Following the film’s premier, Prime Minister Andrew Holness took to Instagram, where he noted that witnessing it “right here in Jamaica was truly inspiring”.
“The premiere of the Bob Marley: One Love Movie in Jamaica signifies a momentous occasion for our nation and the global community. Bob Marley’s ability to connect people through his music, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries, has made him a symbol of unity and resilience,” Holness noted.
“As we celebrate the premiere of this film, let us reflect on the enduring impact of Bob Marley’s work, recognizing the importance of his contribution to global conversations on peace, love, and social change. May this cinematic tribute bring Bob Marley to a new generation, ensuring that his messages of hope and justice continue to inspire and resonate for years to come,” the Prime Minister added.