Bob Marley’s activist granddaughter in MTL for world premiere of her new Rasta doc at FNC

“It is difficult to be a Marley and it is [also] not difficult to live up to the Marley name because I am who I am,” says Donisha Prendergast, the 25-year-old documentary filmmaker and granddaughter of global music icon Bob Marley. “People expect things from me just because I am a Marley. Some have good expectations and others have bad expectations. Sometimes people expect me to be a diva. But I don’t deal with all that celebrity stuff. It’s not necessary for me.”

Prendergast is in Montreal this week for the world premiere at the 40th annual Festival du Nouveau Cinéma of her much-anticipated documentary film RasTa, A Soul’s Journey directed by awarding-winning filmmaker Stuart Samuels. The doc follows Donisha as she explores Rastafari communities in the U.S., Israel, India, Jamaica, South Africa, Ethiopia, Canada and the United Kingdom where her grandfather’s captivating live performances and message are still venerated. Ultimately the doc chronicles Prendergrast’s journey to find her purpose as a young Rasta woman.

“Doing good deeds for others is what we are supposed to do with our celebrity,” Prendergast explains. “In the African tradition, the village raises the child. They send out the brightest of their children to get an education and they will then come back and do the best they can. It is the same idea with the celebrity: These people have been able to position themselves where they can do good for the village. So they must. Being a celebrity is a selfish thing and it really irritates me to see these celebrities in the media making a mockery of art and life. There are so many things going on around the world where they can help affect change and [instead] they choose to lavish money [on themselves]. It is terrible to see poor people around the world witness the lifestyles of celebrities and know that they will never be able to accomplish that in their own lives.”

Prendergast says the Rastafari movement is supposed to help alleviate such injustices but agrees Rastafarianism has been tarnished by the misconcception that Rastas are just a bunch of potheads getting high.

“That’s why I agreed to work on this project,” Prendergast sighs. “We need to know what Rastafari as a movement is all about – what does it really mean to be a Rasta?”

As for marijuana, Prendergrast tells me, “It came from India with indentured labourers who were brought [to Jamaica and other British colonies] to replace the slaves since slavery was abolished [by the British in 1833]. When they brought the ganja seed [with them], it was a sacramental seed that only the Indians used. Then being in Jamaica it spread. When Rastafari as movement really began to gel in the 1930s, a man by the name of Leonard Howell – who was the first Rasta – his best friend was an Indian indentured labourer and they shared a lot of cultural practices which included the marijuana seed.”

Prendergast – her mother Sharon Marley is a member of the Melody Makers reggae group (fronted by Ziggy Marley), curator of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston and a daughter of Bob and Rita Marley – continues, “The way ganja is used today is unfortunate. If only people were to understand its roots, what it represents, and that it can be used to help treat glaucoma, etc.

“Marijuana has a lot of uses but people limit it to smoking [to get high]. So with this film I hope to impact the perspectives of young people. Rastafari is not just a spiritual movement – it is work. We are supposed to help build our educational institutions, feed the poor and the homeless. We have work to do.”

Read more… (http://blogs.montrealgazette.com)
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Hello, my name is Dayle. I am a designer of both print & web, as well as an advocate of positive social change. My goal for this blog "Nice deeds, by nice people" is to use the internet as a tool for good. My focus is on inspirational stories about individuals, groups and organizations that are making a difference in the world we live in. Please take part in the conversations, or submit ideas for stories. By reading, getting involved and spreading the word through social mediums, you can help bring attention to the issues that we all face today.
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