‘All of you Marley children out there, stay together,’ Lauryn Hill urges
Lauryn Hill pauses to pay tribute to Jo Mersa at concert
American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer Lauryn Hill delivered a passionate tribute to Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley, the grandson of reggae icon Bob Marley, at her recent concert in Miami, at which some members of the Marley family were present.
The Grammy Award-winning singer and former Fugees member, who has five children with Rohan Marley, the son of Bob Marley – Zion, Selah, Joshua, John and Sara – recalled meeting Jo Mersa as a child and spoke lovingly about him, the importance of family, and being unafraid to show love, especially in times like these.
“Our family has suffered a tragic loss,” Hill said in the opening moments of her three-minute, 10-second long speech. “I know that we have members of the Marley family in the house tonight ... a number of them ... I just want to say, be yourselves, make sure that you have people you can talk to and express yourselves to. Joseph Marley ... I met him when he was very, very young with his father Stephen. The Fugees were on the road ... [he was] full of life, full of energy, full of personality. I have beautiful memories of him and I treasure those memories.”
At times sounding as if she were fighting back tears, the mother of six had a special message for the Marley children: “In memory of Joseph Marley, all you Marley children out there, stay together; be compassionate, forgiving of each other, listen to each other, protect each other, hold each other close.”
Her statement was also for the world in general, with a special focus on the youth. She urged everyone to “love your families, hold them tight, make sure we tell them how much we love them as consistently as possible”.
“I think we have normalised a lot of loss. I don’t remember a time when there was more loss in the world so consistently, especially our youth. We have to do something about it. If you can reach them, reach them. Don’t close your ears, don’t close your hearts, because they need us and we need them as well,” Hill stated.
Singer and musician Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley, 31, was found unresponsive in a car in a parking lot in Florida on December 27, 2022. His funeral, attended by several members of his family as well as music industry titans and government officials, was held in Jamaica on January 18. He was buried in St Ann alongside his grandfather, Bob Marley.
Hill, whose Wikipedia biography states that she is “often regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, as well as being one of the most influential musicians of her generation”, is this year celebrating 25 years since she shook up all musical charts with the release of her history-making 1998 debut solo – and only – album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
She won five Grammy Awards for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill at the 41st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best New Artiste, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, becoming the first woman to win five or more awards in a single night.
MOST AWARDED FEMALE RAPPER
With a total of eight wins from the Grammy Awards for her music (including her work with The Fugees), she is the most Grammy-awarded female rapper. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is also credited as the first hip-hop album to earn Album of the Year.
Worldwide, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill has sold over 20 million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time, the best-selling album by a female rapper, and the best-selling neo-soul album of all time. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 422,624 copies within its first week, breaking the previous record for first-week sales by a female artiste. It was awarded diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Lauryn Hill is one of the featured artistes on the Contractor Music Group and Triple Century Records album, Tropical House Cruises to Jamaica: The Asian Edition. The song, titled Perfect Match, is a collaboration with US-based Jamaican artiste, Kali Ranks. He shared that the song was originally recorded 22 years ago as an R&B/hip-hop/reggae track, but it was remixed in 2021 as a dancehall track by Armada, the producer from his label Afimi Music/ Intercept Music/UMG.
An A-list heavy production, which features the likes of Chris ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle, Morgan Heritage, Capleton, Sizzla, Tropical House Cruises to Jamaica: The Asian Edition was officially released in December 2022 and immediately took over the number one slot on the iTunes Top 100 Reggae Albums chart.
In closing, Hill stated, “Ladies and gentlemen, life is full, we have our good days and we have our bad days. Let’s not beat people up when they have their challenges. Let’s try to hold them up, help them get through, and praise God for life.”