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Ziggy Marley explains why neither he nor his brother could have played Bob Marley

As the world premiere of the highly anticipated biopic, ‘Bob Marley: One Love’ approaches, there has been mounting criticism by Jamaicans of the work of Kingsley Ben-Adir, the actor chosen to portray him.

Many Rastafarians argue that Bob would not want a “fake Rasta” wearing a wig or extensions representing him. Others have mused that one of his many sons or grandsons ought to have been selected for the role instead. Ziggy Marley addressed the speculation as to why neither he, his brothers or any of Bob’s grandsons did not tackle the role.

“We pass da stage de already (on himself doing the role), yu caan go back, it nuh mek no sense, we do it right, we do it right. We need someone who is proficient at the art of acting, we need an actor, people think it easy, but it nuh easy, is a hard work,” Ziggy Marley told Lexi Chow, a presenter for the CODA Network as he walked the red carpet of the Bob Marley: One Love biopic at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California last week.

Ziggy’s comments may do little to assuage the ire of Jamaicans who have criticised the accent of mixed-race British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir who played the reggae icon. Jamaicans appeared to be largely unhappy with the nuances and manners of the portrayal in trailers given the distinctive accent of reggae’s biggest star.

Ben-Adir was born in London and is of mixed-race heritage. His mother is black and from Trinidad and his father is white British. That knowledge seems like cold comfort to Jamaicans.

“I’m tired of watching films with people butchering the Jamaican accent,” one social media user said sarcastically.

Another social media user railed: “This makes no sense what about his son’s and grandsons what this man know bout trench town, reggae and I am sure his patois is not going to sound Jamaican it is not release as yet but in my opinion this nuh worth watching.”

The Paramount Pictures film, which stars British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley and Lashana Lynch as Rita Marley, hits theaters globally on February 14, 2024.

Last year, Ziggy’s brother, Ky-Mani Marley stirred up controversy when he said he believed that any of his brothers would be able to play the role of their famous father in the new Hollywood film, but were denied the opportunity.

He revealed the son’s of the reggae legend were not offered an audition, even though he has extensive professional acting experience.

“Nuhbody cyaan play my father better than me; unless ah one ah mi bredda dem, yuh know wha’ ah mean?” Marley, 45, told the Jamaica Observer.

“But Bob Marley being from Jamaica, why any of di children or grandchildren were never given di opportunity to even audition?”

Marley is an accomplished actor and has starred in Shottas along with Jamaican star Spragga Benz.

He also had a leading role in the classic film One Love, which was released in 2001.

Several Jamaicans landed roles in the film including: Quan-Dajai (who plays young Bob Marley in the film), Naomi Cowan (who plays Marcia Griffiths), Sheldon Shepherd (who plays designer Neville Garrick), Sevana (who plays Judy Mowatt), Hector Roots Lewis (who plays Carlton ‘Carly’ Barrett), Aston Barrett Jr. (who plays his late father), and Davo (who also plays his father Junior Marvin).

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