Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley at UWI, MonaFeb 10, 2012, a set on Flickr.
Carolyn Cooper who teaches a Reggae Poetry course invited Damian to give a public talk at UWI, sort of along the lines of the Vybz Kartel talk some time back. It was a quickly put together event that was only confirmed the evening before, and took some swift and skillful dribbling of the ball between herself and the Campus Prinicipal, Gordon Shirley to pull off. So dear @SharzzF who tweeted: It’s soo amazing when Vybz Kartel was invited to lecture, it was well advertised, but the same wasn’t done for Junior Gong, it really wasn’t a conspiracy, it was just contingency.
Perhaps because of the suddenness of it and the resulting impossibility of advertising the talk widely enough there was nowhere near the kind of audience that turned up for Kartel; still it was an energetic session with young Damian fielding 40-50 questions from UWI students after a very brief talk in which he highlighted the importance of talent. Asked about being a Marley and having everything he needed at his disposal he said he still had to make songs people wanted to hear coz they certainly weren’t listening to him only because he was Bob’s son…
Here’s a selection of tweets to give you a flavour of the evening…
RT @UWIMonaGuild: Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley will speak about his career as a Grammy-winning dancehall artist on Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Assembly Hall.
RT @mushroomi: Anyone going Junior Gong lecture?
RT @anniepaul: BIG UP if your pumpum tight like mosquito coffin! Poet Tanya Shirley prefacing Junior Gong. Audience roaring.
@CultureDoctor: ‘This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased’ Cindy Breakspeare of Jnr Gong #MonaRock
RT @Dre5IVE: A style u a style the Gong RT @Gordonswaby: Well, Junior Gong reads. Just mentioned Gladwell’s Outliers book.
RT @LIMEJamaica: Yes, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley is our newest brand ambassador. RT @Dre5IVE: Junior Gong is a LIME Ambassador?!!!!
RT @stannyha: Why isn’t LIME streaming the Junior Gong’s lecture? Since they signed him on as Ambassador? #MonaRock
RT @Savageinsight: “It’s not about being a Marley, it’s about being a human being” #DamianMarley
RT @anniepaul: I got into music because I’m a fan of music. I would put on my Dads music and pretend I was him. Junior Gong at UWI.
RT @lyn4d: I think he’s brilliant. I think he’s very smart. Fan of his music but not some of his moral choices. – Junior Gong’s view on Vybz Kartel
@Savageinsight: Only in Ja does a man wait in the line to say “mi no really have a big big question, mi did just waan hail yu”
At one point the stream of questions seemed never-ending. When asked if Junior Gong actively participated in any Rastafarian group, he said that he had attended meetings of the Rastafari Council; rather than simply donating money he would like to help the Rastafari community by tapping his networks, by ‘networking’ for them, for instance in building projects where professional services or architects, contractors and the like might be required. When asked if he had advice, considering his paternal family background, for others who might be considering buiding empires…he looked stumped for a moment, then said chortling, no, just tell them not to rise against MY empire…
I had been given a list of questions to put to Damian as soon as he finished, for the TVJ programme Entertainment Report, and was quite relieved when @GordonSwaby basically asked the first one on my list: Bob’s still a legend but it seems the music’s been overtaken by the merchandising…would Bob have approved of the commercializing of his name? Gordon used different words but the question was very similar. Thing is I don’t quite remember how Damian answered it…but I happily deleted it from my list. It’s not a question i would’ve chosen to ask the young lion myself, though Rohan Marley’s promotion of the House of Marley and its products does raise ethical questions…Besides as @GordonSwaby pointed out the Marley name is “…a valuable brand. That’s why they have to be careful what they do with it.”