Howard Campbell spoke to Ky-Mani Marley about his new biography, Dear Dad, for the Jamaica Gleaner. Here are some excerpts, with the link to the complete article below.
Although he is the son of music royalty, Ky-Mani Marley says life has not always been a bed of roses. The 33-year-old singer/actor tells his story in Dear Dad, his autobiography to be released February 6, just in time to celebrate his father’s birthday.
Marley is best known for minor hit songs like Dear Dad and Warriors and roles in movies such as One Love, as well as starring in a hit reality show on Black Entertainment Television (BET). But he says his childhood was difficult, even though his father was reggae superstar Bob Marley.
“I’ve lived a life many cannot imagine. Many people don’t even know half the things I’ve been through,” Marley told The Sunday Gleaner.
In Dear Dad, he revisits those years of strife. He said he lived with his mother Anita Belnavis in a two-bedroom board house in her hometown of Falmouth, Trelawny, where he was born. Belnavis was a leading table tennis player in the Caribbean in the 1970s, and one of several women with whom Bob Marley had children outside of marriage.
Marley said things did not improve after he and his mother moved to Miami, Florida, when he was nine years old. They lived in the tough, crime-prone community of Liberty City, scene of many riots during the 1980s. “That was another two-bedroom house worse than where we were living in Jamaica,” he said.
Life changed for the better in 1994, 13 years after his father’s death from cancer at age 36. He gained a considerable financial settlement from the Marley estate, which, among other things, provided for Bob’s ‘outside’ children. “I can tell you that that was a big relief for me, my mother, my auntie. We were living on nothing, really,” Marley recalled.
He also comments on his relationship with his father’s wife, Rita, and her children for Marley but stays clear of sensationalism.
“I tell the truth; I’m not stepping on toes to create conflict. But I tell no lies,” he said.
Dear Dad, which will be distributed in five languages, was done with the assistance of a professional writer. It will be released in association with Dr Farrah Gray, the influential African-American empowerment guru who lives in Las Vegas, on what would have been Bob Marley’s 65th birthday.
Several Marley biographies have been written since the singer’s death.