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Africa Unite Concert 2008

December 9, 2007

The Bob Marley/Rita Marley Foundation’s global initiative, Africa Unite concert, will be held in Jamaica for the first time on February 23, 2008 at James Bond Beach, St Mary. It will be a combination of two events with a host of national and international artistes at which the feature documentary, Africa Unite, will make its Caribbean debut as part of the celebrations marking the anniversary of the birth of late Reggae superstar Robert Nesta Marley. The film, starring Rita Marley, Danny Glover, Angelique Kidjo, Lauryn Hill and the Marley children, is produced and directed by Stephanie Black of Life and Debt, H-2 Worker’s fame. It will be launched in February 2008 at the Hilton Kingston Hotel.

People’s Telecom will host the launch of the documentary which highlights the vision for African unity to which Bob Marley was devoted throughout his musical career. “We feel extremely honoured now in 2007 to be asked by Mrs Rita Marley to host Africa Unite in 2008,” stated Michael Dawson, CEO and co-founder of the Jamaican-owned telecommunications company.

“This is a perfect synergy between the Marley Foundation and People’s Telecom, as the company, from the outset, was founded on the principles of stalwarts like Marcus Garvey and His Imperial Majesty (Haile Selassie I), and influenced by the words of Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer,” Dawson added in a press release.

The month of February will be bursting with activities celebrating what would have been Bob Marley’s 63rd birthday had he lived. In addition to the documentary launch, youth symposiums, lectures, and a Bob Marley football competition are planned.

On February 6, 2005, over 350,000 people gathered in the historic Meskel Square of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to celebrate what would have been Marley’s 60th birthday. That 12-hour concert featuring a host of internationally acclaimed artistes is interwoven throughout the documentary, highlighting the reggae icon’s global influence.

According to reports of the event, American singer Lauryn Hill passionately debuted new material; Benin-born Angelique Kidjo jumped into the audience during her performance; and Jamaica’s Bob Andy serenaded the Ethiopian crowd with his timeless classics.

The concert culminated with a spectacular performance by Rita Marley along with the I-Threes and all Marley’s sons singing their father’s songs.

“Last year, Stephen Marley put together the Smile Jamaica concert and that worked very well, and then Mrs Marley, who has been doing Africa Unite for three years before that in Ethiopia, Ghana and in South Africa, decided to combine both,” a source close to the event told Splash.

“While it is important to have it in Africa, she thought it important as well to have the Caribbean and the people of African descent to also unite as well. The idea is next year to have Smile Jamaica/Africa Unite combined as one event.

“The idea is to push a positive message, it’s not just about Jamaicans, but Jamaicans need to think more Afrocentric. we’ll be having a nice mixture of national and international artistes. We’re working with Ghetto Youth International and the Bob Marley Group of Companies and Headline Entertainment is co-producing the event,” the source said.

Source - Jamaica Observer 

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