Cedella Marley Booker, the mother of Jamaican music legend Bob Marley, died at her Miami home on Tuesday aged 81.
Strongly grounded in Rastafari, Cedella – known affectionately as Mother B – was also a performer in her own right, recording solo and collaboration albums and performing in the United States, Jamaica, Europe, Mexico and Africa. In addition, she wrote ‘Bob Marley, My Son’, a book that celebrated her son’s life.
Cedella honoured the spirit of Bob Marley as the founder of Movement of Jah People, an organization that and benefits the underprivileged in Florida and the Caribbean.
“Since a young child, my grandmother showed me the meaning of love, life and laughter. She embodied them every day, all the time, says Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s eldest daughter.
Among Cedella Booker's many achievements was the adoption of the Nine Mile Basic School in St. Ann parish on the north coast of Jamaica. Nine Mile was the birth place of Bob Marley, who was also buried in the parish. The school is now called the Cedella Marley Booker School in her honour. Cedella was also associated with the Rhoden Hall Basic School in the south of Jamaica and Eight Mile Basic in St. Ann.
“Cedella was one of the most powerful women I’ve ever known,” says Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. “She served as the matriarch of the entire Marley family, ensuring that Bob’s rich legacy would survive to touch and motivate each generation. We will all miss her energy and drive.”
Cedella Marley Booker is survived by her son Richard Booker, daughter in-laws Rita Marley and Sharien Fogel Booker, daughter Pearl Livingston, 14 grandchildren, and 49 great-grandchildren.