Bob Marley would be proud to know his 40-year-old “One Love” composition is now the UNICEF anthem to benefit children, distressed by COVID-19.
His widow Rita, eldest daughter Cedella, son Stephen and grandson Skip collaborated to reimagine the iconic reggae song the British Broadcasting Corporation named the millennium song of the century in 1999.
On invitation from UNICEF to contribute to a philanthropic cause to help the most disadvantaged children, Marley family members invited a global chorus to collaborate on a project that from beginning to end took a mere four weeks.
Singing the lyrics the patriarch popularized voices representing Brazil, New Zealand, India, Mali, Nigeria, Jamaica, Syria, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo amplified the unifying message for a reimagined version that debuted on July 18.
“’One Love’ was written as a call for global solidarity at a time when the world was very divided, much as it is now,” Cedella said.
The singer, author, playwright, dancer, actress, fashion designer, and eldest of the Rita and Bob Marley off-springs, explained that “Daddy would be happy to know his message of unity is being heard.”
“Only by uniting with one love and one heart can we defeat this virus, protect our children, and make the world a more just and equal place.”
Established in her own right as a three-time Grammy award winning singer who toured with her brothers Ziggy and Stephen as a member of the Melody Makers added that: “All over the world, children and families are suffering.”
“Whether they are living in refugee camps, slums or favelas, or they lack access to healthcare or school, or are being treated unfairly because of their race, religion, ethnicity or gender, our dream with this song is to reimagine a world where all children are treated equally – just as my father intended.”
Perhaps her proudest achievement of all is being a wife to David Minto, and raising two talented sons.
For lack of space let’s focus on one of the next generation grandsons of Bob and Rita Marley.
Nicknamed Skip, he blazed a trail of his own with a recording titled “Lions.”
He joined Katy Perry in 2017 for a memorable performance at the Grammy Awards. And he repeated his groundbreaking streak at the Brit award ceremony in England. Since then he has been refining his skills to the approval of fans touting the choices he has made — most recently the “Slow Down” duet with HER.
And before space dissipates know that the collaborative “One Love” track is the brainchild of Skip and his multi-talented, eight-time Grammy award winning uncle, Stephen.
“My uncle is a genius.”
“And being on this record with so many incredible musicians from around the world is a true blessing,” Skip said.
True to the message of global unity in the song, the video is a compilation of footage from all around the world including children from Ghetto Youths Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Stephen, Damian and Julian Marley; The Dharavi Dream Project in India; artists from Manifesto Ja in Jamaica and Road To Freedom and featuring appearances by the artists, as well as Indian actor and UNICEF celebrity advocate, Kareena Kapoor Khan and British actress Lena Headey.
It features a choir of children from Trench Town, Jamaica and is punctuated by their melodic voices wailing unification at the end of the song.
Adding to the visual is Rita, the grandmother mother and former back-up singer on most of her husband’s (Bob) recordings.
She is featured singing and although briefly appears as consciously committed as the years she provided musical accompaniment as one third the female I Three singers.
The intergenerational collaborative parody of the classic recording launched on www.Tiktok.com to a global audience last Saturday.
Partnered with UNICEF, the platform using the #OneloveOneHeart challenge encouraged TikTok users to post videos using the One Love chorus; revealing who or what they hold dear –eg their One Love. In addition, users are tasked to nominate five friends or family members to do the same and also donate to One Love for UNICEF.
“One Love is one of the world’s most iconic solidarity anthems. But it is also a song about children, and their hopes and dreams for a better, more united and equal world,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director said.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children.
The United Nations effort across more than 190 countries and territories toils to ensure that every child, everywhere will benefit from their commitment “to build a better world for everyone.”
According to a press release — ‘COVID-19 has upended the lives of children around the world and exposed rampant inequalities both within and among countries. UNICEF estimates that an additional 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes over the next six months — almost all of them (over 90 per cent) in low or lower-middle income countries — as the pandemic continues to weaken health systems and disrupt services. Children are also extremely vulnerable to the indirect impacts of COVID-19, such as school closures, food shortages, limited access to basic healthcare, and disruptions to medical supply chains.’
“Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, responding to Bob Marley’s call to ‘hear the children crying one love’ is more important and relevant than ever. Only together can we defeat COVID-19 and reimagine a more equal, less discriminatory world for children.”
In response, UNICEF launched Reimagine — an urgent appeal to governments, the public, donors and the private sector to support UNICEF’s efforts to respond, recover and reimagine a world currently besieged by COVID-19.
All proceeds from the song and related activities will directly support Reimagine and help UNICEF respond to the immediate needs by providing soap, masks, gloves, hygiene kits, protective equipment and life-saving information for children and families; support near term recovery efforts, including by supporting education, protection and healthcare systems; and further UNICEF’s work to reimagine a fairer, more just world for children.
The iconic recording is not only symbolic of the evolutionary 2020 year but also arrives during the 75th anniversary year of the birth of Robert Nesta Marley.
His bride Rita will celebrate her 74th on July 25.
For more info or to donate, visit www.unicef.org/one-love
Catch You On The Inside!
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