American Friends of Jamaica fete Marley mother & son to aid island’s neediest

Cedella Marley
Cedella Marley participates in the Q&A panel at the Marley Brunch with Marley Family Members at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in West Hollywood, Calif.
Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Along with broadcast, farewell ceremonies for the British queen and the convening of heads of governments in New York City for the opening of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, for the second time in a week all eyes will focus on global power-brokers who will decide the future.

However, foremost on the minds of former US ambassadors to Jamaica and their philanthropic donors who identify as American Friends of Jamaica, of utmost concern in the same time-frame is the current plight of disfranchised nationals residing on the Caribbean island.

Mobilized 40 years ago to assist with combating the issue, AFJ members banded to provide a solution to poverty there by hosting fundraisers to benefit youths. Throughout the decades, their purpose has expanded to include enhancing education, improving healthcare and making contributions to economic development.

In an effort to further that aim, on Sept. 23 AFJ has invited Cedella Marley as celebrant and guest of honor to their annual, gala slated from the Plaza Hotel.

There in recognition of her tireless aim to help disfranchised citizens on the island, the eldest daughter of reggae icons Bob and Rita Marley will be presented with the Hummingbird Humanitarian Award.

Renowned for her charitable outreach to nationals in Jamaica, the 55-year-old mother is an author, singer, actress, designer acclaimed for fashioning Olympic attire for athletes who competed for team Jamaica during the 2012 games in London and also branding the “Catch A Fire” clothing line to international attention.

She has also bank-rolled the nation’s cash-strapped Reggae Gyrlz soccer team, enabling them to qualify and compete in World Cup competition.

In addition, she has assisted her mother in providing back-to-school supplies to students residing in rural areas of the island.

A former backup singer with her sister Sharon and brothers Ziggy and Stephen she won three Grammy awards, performing as a member of the Melody Makers. She retired from the group in order to oversee the Bob Marley Foundation and its entities as well as focus on her husband David Minto and their three off-springs.

When her son Skip decided on launching his singing career, Marley added a new title to her portfolio becoming a personal manager.

Marley’s appearance in New York will coincide with an outdoor concert headlined by Skip at Central Park Summerstage on Sept. 26 therefore he will join his celebrated parent when she is honored by the former diplomats.

Although the black-tie dinner is reportedly sold to capacity, an after-party remains open to guests willing to contribute and enjoy the bonus treat with British reggae Grammy winners Steel Pulse. Actor/singer Malik Yoba will serve as emcee.

Proceeds from the black tie cocktails/dinner will enable youths after-school programs, help in deterring illiteracy, numeracy, “social and cognitive skills to prepare youngsters for school and life.”

Also integral to their annual fundraising effort, AFJ offers an auction which is sponsored by generous donors of luxury items – often items vary from artwork to vacations. For more info. Log onto www.afj.org

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