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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Marley son forgets book drama to focus on Caribbean Festival

When Ky-Mani Marley, a son of reggae icon Bob Marley, takes the stage Saturday at Bayfront Park's annual Caribbean Festival, he might have more than peace, love and good vibrations on his mind. He's embroiled in a battle with his publisher over his new book, Dear Dad -- Where's the Family in Our Family, Today?, which tells how Ky-Mani, born out of wedlock, was financially shut out by the Marley clan after his famous father's death. He talks to The Herald about the concert (also featuring his brothers Stephen, Damian and Julian, plus reggae stars Capleton, Shaggy and Spragga Benz), helping Haiti, and his feelings about the book controversy.

What can we expect from the show?

``Well, I have this new album I'm working on that's called Evolution of a Revolution, and from my show you can always expect high energy and high intensity, performance-wise. But on this particular show, I'm gonna play about four or five songs that no one has ever heard, which will be featured on my new album. I'll perform about 45 minutes to an hour solo, then join my brothers later for a couple songs.''

The festival has always helped out underprivileged members of the South Florida community, and this year it's also reaching out to Haiti. Do you have personal ties to the country?

``No, but . . . I had the opportunity to visit the island about four or five months ago, which was very refreshing. Actually, it's one of my most memorable moments, because I remember going into Haiti and I went into this one particular neighborhood where the promoter was telling me if I go there I needed security. And I've always liked to be amongst the people, so I decided to tell them I didn't want security. . . . And I walked through this neighborhood, and I tell you that within 10 minutes I had probably two to three hundred people behind me, walking me from neighborhood to neighborhood, showing me their living conditions, showing me where the war took place, where the U.N. had moved in during the overthrow of the president.''

You recently told The Herald that the publisher of your new memoir twisted your words around. Would you like to add anything else to that?

``As far as twisting my words, we went through the book initially, and we had edited it and had a first cover that we agreed upon using. After I brought it to my sister and speaking to her, I felt as though I wanted to make some edits. There were certain things I didn't have an understanding for, and she made it clear to me. At that time, I contacted [publisher] Mr. Farrah Gray and said there were just a few small edits I would like to make in the book. And he decided that he didn't want to make the edits, because what I wanted to change was very controversial and he felt as though that would be the selling point, or one of the selling points, of the book. I told him that I was not willing to participate in the promotion of the book unless I have these changes made. . . . He stopped taking my calls for a month or two.

And I wake up one morning, I think it was Feb. 5, to see this new cover with the caption saying `the book the Marley family apparently doesn't want you to read.' And I was very taken aback by that, being that my family had already read the book. To be honest, I really don't know if he changed anything because I've been so disgruntled by it that I haven't even had a chance to read the new edit.''

Has this drama put a damper on the festival for you, or are you able to forget about it and just enjoy the show?

``I'm able to move forward -- I've been fighting all my life, so this is not new to me. I'm in a place I'm used to.''



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