|Born||Alpharita Constantia Anderson
July 25, 1946
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Member of I Threes
|Known for||Bob Marley's spouse|
|Spouse(s)||Bob Marley (1966-1981, his death)|
David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley
|Relatives||Cedella Malcolm Marley Booker (mother-in-law)
Norval Sinclair Marley (Father-in-law)
Alpharita Constantia Anderson (born 25 July 1946), better known as Rita Marley, and sometimes called "Nana Rita", is the widow of reggae legend/musician Bob Marley, and a member of the trio the I Threes, Bob Marley's backup singers.
Rita was born July 25, 1946 in Santiago de Cuba to Leroy Anderson and Cynthia "Beda" Jarrett. She grew up in the upper level of Beachwood Avenue, located in Kingston, Jamaica. In her book No Woman, No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley Rita describes how she was raised by her Aunt Viola on Greenwich Park Road. Bob was from the lower level of Trenchtown.
In the mid 1960s, Rita met Bob after meeting Peter Tosh. After it was learned that she was a singer, she was asked to audition for the Soulettes, later known as the I Threes. The group included Rita, her cousin Constantine "Dream" Walker, and Marlene "Precious" Giffordwas. Bob became the group's mentor and manager and through working together, he and Rita fell in love.
The two married 10 February 1966. However, the reason for their marriage was said to have been a way to make it easier for Rita to immigrate to the US should Bob have decided to live in the US following a visit with his mother in Delaware. Raised Christian, she became involved in the Rastafari Movement prior to witnessing stigmata during Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica on 21 April 1966. She remains, however, an active member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
After Marley's death, she recorded a few albums under her name with some success in the United Kingdom.
In 1986, Rita made the decision to convert Bob Marley's home into the Bob Marley Museum. She is also the Founder and Chairperson of the Robert Marley Foundation, Bob Marley Trust, and the Bob Marley Group of Companies. She founded the Rita Marley Foundation in 2000. She has also adopted 35 children in Ethiopia and has assisted over 200 children in Konkonuru Methodist School in Ghana and made a commitment to positively impact their lives.
Rita has six children, three from other relationships and three with Bob. Bob adopted Rita's two children as his own and they have the Marley name. Bob has 13 children in total: the two of Rita's that he adopted, three born to Rita, and the remaining eight with separate women.[dead link] Rita's children are, in order of birth:
- Sharon Marley, born November 23, 1964
- Cedella Marley born August 23, 1967
- David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley, born October 17, 1968
- Stephen Marley, born April 20, 1972
- Stephanie, born 17 August 1974 (from a relationship with Ital, according to Bob's mother, Cedella Booker)
- Serita Stewart, born August 11, 1985 (from a relationship with Tacky, according to her biography)
Rita appears in the song "Mary Jane Shoes" on Fergie's multi-platinum 2006 album The Dutchess. Rita performed background vocals to the song "Raikoum" by Khaled in his album Liberté. She also performed background vocals for the song Ouelli El Darek by Khaled in his album Sahra.
In 2011 she partnered with singer/songwriter KAMEKO on a tour to bring relief to Africa.
Rita Marley Foundation
In 2000, Rita Marley founded the Rita Marley Foundation. It is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that works to alleviate poverty and hunger in developing countries. It specifically targets elderly and youth.
It has given out a number of scholarships to music students in Ghana's Berklee College of Music. It also hosts the annual Unite Africa which looks to spread global awareness about issues that affect Africa and to develop lasting solutions.
Rita Marley planned to have the body of her late husband, Bob Marley, exhumed and buried in Ethiopia, his "spiritual resting place" in 2005. She wanted it to be a month long celebration of what would be his 60th birthday. The area in which she wanted to bury him was a Rastafarian community that was given land by the country's last emperor, Haile Selassie. She claimed to have the backing of the Ethiopian government and said "We are working on bringing his remains to Ethiopia. It is part of Bob's own mission. Bob's whole life is about Africa, it is not about Jamaica. How can you give up a continent for an island? He has a right for his remains to be where he would love them to be. This was his mission. Ethiopia is his spiritual resting place. With the 60th anniversary this year, the impact is there and the time is right."
- 1966 : Pied Piper - Rio
- 1967 : Pied Piper (single, on Club Ska '67) - Mango
- 1980 : Rita Marley - Trident
- 1981 : Who Feels It Knows It - Shanachie Records
- 1983 : It's About Time - John Denver; RCA
- 1988 : Harambe (Working Together for Freedom) - Shanachie Records
- 1988 : We Must Carry on - Shanachie Records
- 1990 : Beauty of God's - Shanachie Records
- 1990 : Good Girls Cult - Shanachie Records
- 1990 : One Draw - Shanachie Records
- 2003 : Sings Bob Marley...and Friends - Shanachie Records
- 2004 : Play Play - Universal Music
- 2005 : Sunshine After Rain
- 2006 : Gifted Fourteen Carnation
- Meredith Dixon
- "Rita Marley partners with KAMEKO on his Africa tour". Retrieved November 24, 2012.
- Rita Marley Foundation web site
- News IMDb web site
Rita Marley, Hettie Jones (2004). No Woman, No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley. Hyperion, ISBN 0-7868-6867-8