November 14th, 2013
More than three decades after his death, legendary reggae musician Robert Nesta Marley is still highly revered by fans the world over. While his music always remained in the spotlight, new efforts by family members to expand the Bob Marley brand have resulted in other products appearing in stores.
House of Marley x Oshima Surf & Skate
With appearances by Rohan Marley, Mason Ho, Makua Rothman, Donavon Frankenreiter and DJ Peril
» Where: 325 Makaala St., Hilo
» When: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16
» Cost: Free
» Info: (808) 961-1444
Here in Hawaii, it's hard not to notice Bob Marley's Mellow Mood teas and energy drinks or the growing number of items sold under the House of Marley name. Much of this new business is spearheaded by son Rohan Marley, 41, a former University of Miami football player and Canadian Football League veteran who is in Hilo this week to meet up with his newest House of Marley brand ambassadors.
“We came to Hilo to tap into that energy and introduce ourselves to our brothers here in Hawaii,” Marley said Wednesday, shortly after arriving on a 10-hour flight from New York. “When you come to places like Hawaii, you're tapping into the roots of the earth. Natural people and people who live a little more eco lifestyle.”
Marley will be at Oshima Surf and Skate's Hilo store from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday to promote House of Marley's premium personal audio products and accessories, which include headphones, speakers, bags and watches.
“It's more than just a brand,” he said. “It's a movement, you know? We're trying to bring this world to a better place.
“I have a responsisbitiy to my father and my family to be a modern ambassador and represent the family around the world to those who aren't playing music.”
While he is known to play percussion and guitar, Marley readily admits the musical talent in his family is best represented these days by brothers Ziggy, Damian “Junior Gong,” Ky-Mani and Julian. He's focused on other business opportunities, launching Marley Coffee before deciding to move forward with House of Marley.
As his family perpetuates the Marley name on stage, he works hard these days to provide fans with the means to enjoy his family's music in everyday situations with products manufactured with a more eco-friendly sensibility.
“It's a full connection, since we need music for the vibrations,” he said. “Music makes you feel a certain way. It's always a part of life (and) it's important we transcend that.
“With the House of Marley and the sustainable movement with the products we've created, we can extend the vibration.”
And no matter the product, the family also remains steadfast in its desire to help others. A portion of the proceeds from all House of Marley products sold is donated to 1Love, the Marley family's charitable organization, which has raised more than $1 million in support of various social initiatives.
Saturday's celebration will also provide an opportunity for the public to meet and greet with new Team MARLEY members Mason Ho, Makua Rothman and Donavon Frankenreiter. Pat “DJ Peril” Simpson, Team MARLEY member from the Tribe of Kings, will also make the trip to help provide a soundtrack for the evening.
And now that he's in Hawaii and making an appearance at a surfing and skateboard shop, will Marley himself be seen shredding on land or sea anytime soon?
“I grew up on roller skates as a little boy,” he laughed. “And I haven't learned to surf yet, but it's in my future. That's the ambassadors are for. They grow us and expand us!”
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.