Cedella Marley has taken to Facebook to shut down rumors which are being circulated on social media, that her mother Rita Marley, widow of Reggae icon Bob Marley, is dead.
The original report was reported by http://dailysun.co.za who have since retracted the story and issued a some what empty apology considering the pain and upset they have caused throughout the Marley family and Rita’s many fans around the world.
On Saturday afternoon, she posted a 37-second video on her Facebook page of herself and her 74-year-old mother chilling, with the sounds of Bob Marley’s music emanating in the background.
She captioned the video: “Jamming wid Rita Marley on this beautiful day. Tune into Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio on SiriusxM for good music and better vibes.”
“Good morning, good morning, good morning. Mummy Say good morning Mummy,” Cedella said before turning the camera to Rita who spoke, although her words were muffled due to her a stroke which she suffered in 2016, which affected the muscles on one side of her face.
“Good morning. I love you,” Rita said, following which Cedella responded: “She loves you. She loves you.”
“Give thanks and praise the morning is nice; it’s lovely outside. I hope you are listening to Bob Marley radio on SiriusXM. That’s what’s up. Git it Mom,” she said to her mother who responded: “Everytime”.
Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Donna Hope, has blasted as “cavalier and cruel,” recent rumours of the death of Marley matriarch, Rita. On Saturday, several reports surfaced on the worldwide web that the widow of reggae icon Bob Marley had passed away on Friday.
Social media users filled the comments section with sighs of relief as they gave thanks the news was mere rumours. “They always trying to kill off Rita Marley. KMT, glad she is in good health,” user jamaica_di_bbw commented. “Oh Jah love…Fyah burning inna wicked man, a spread the fake news about. Love you Queen,” user somostodosguerreirosofficial also posted.
Cedella Marley’s video was reposted by Minister of Entertainment and Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange on her Instagram account and the caption indicated that she had a conversation with Rita Marley on the weekend. She wrote, “Love you sister Rita. Nice talking to you today. Jah Bless!”
In an interview with The Gleaner, Hope said this was not the first time this kind of rumour has started surrounding Mrs Marley. “This is about the third time that people have tried to kill her off. Yes, she has been ill and we know she is not a young woman, but we are grateful that Nana Rita Marey is still with us. And, until it is time for her to go, people need to ensure that if you get information that says that Mrs Marley is no longer with us, confirm it before you post it.
She has family members, children, grandchildren, friends, people who love her and many of us who value her highly and who will be affected by the news,” she said. “Can you imagine if this was your family member and you see this kind of news on social media? It is cavalier, it is unkind and it is immoral,” she said.
Hope added that actions like these are fuelled by need for people to go viral. “People want to be the first to break a story and so the usual etiquette in announcing the death of someone is thrown to the wind these days,” she continued.
“Before we had social media, traditional media had a rule that if there was for example, an accident and someone died they would not post the details of the person until the immediate family was informed and has made some kind of announcement themselves. You can’t announce someone’s death in media like that and leave the family to learn the news there especially without confirmation. Those things have consequences,” she stressed.
This is not the first time that rumors have circulated about the death of the One Draw singer. In 2016 after she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in the United States, the internet was flooded with stories that she had died.
Born Alfarita Constania Anderson on July 25, 1946 to parents Cynthia “Beda” Jarett and Leroy Anderson in Cuba, was adopted by her Aunt Viola a well-respected seamstress after her parents separated, according to theRita Marley foundation’s website.
Rita who lived in Trench Town Kingston and met Bob whilst in her teens and they later got married on February 10, 1966. She was a member of the backing vocalist trio “I Threes”, who supported the “Bob Marley and the Wailers” as back-up singers.
Rita has several successful solo albums under her belt – Who feels It Knows It, Harambe, We Must Carry On which was nominated for a Reggae Grammy in 1992, Spectacle For Tribuffalos, Sunshine After Rain, as well as the classic reggae album Beginning, with the I-Threes.
Her biggest hit is the 1982 single One Draw which sold more than two million copies globally and made music history as the first reggae single to top the Billboard Disco Charts. It was re-released in April 2014 under Shanachie Records.
Among her other top songs are A Jah Jah, Earth Runnings, Good Moning Jah, Serious Time, One More Morning, So Much Things to Say and Who Colt the Game, a single with her younger son Stephen.
She was bestowed with the Order of Distinction (OD) by the Government of Jamaica in 1996 for her outstanding works and accomplishments. In 2004, she was awarded Personality of the Year in Ghana in recognition of her work through the Rita Marley Foundation, and in November 2011 was awarded the prestigious Honorable Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award at the Caribbean American Heritage Awards in recognition of her outstanding contributions.
In August 2013 she was presented with an honorary Ghanaian citizenship from the government of Ghana, West Africa for her philanthropic work in that country.
Also, in 2015 she was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of the West Indies (UWI). The UWI not only honoured her for her contribution to the global development of Reggae music, but also for her philanthropic works in Ghana and Jamaica.
The university, its citation, described her as a source of inspiration who, since Bob’s passing, has continued to build with the Marley family, a globally recognised musical empire.”