How the Marleys sold out (in style)


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Bob Marley's image, like Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson's, has been used and abused. Since his death in 1981 his visage, often smoking, often smiling, has become a symbol of pretty much anything anyone with a poster press and T-shirt printer fancied.

From the positive – Jamaica itself; to the not so positive – smoking large spliffs on a school night.

But now Bob's children are taking their efforts to reclaim Tuff Gong's image. After testing the water in August with a range of Marley headphones (named, respectively, Jammin', Freedom, and Destiny) they've now launched the Get Up, Stand Up iPod Dock, and a marvellously impractical boombox-style bag called Bag of Rhythm. There's a coffee and energy drink, too. This week, a range of Lively Up bags join the collection. Is it another example of a dead star's family trying to cash-in with naff products? Actually and surprisingly, given the names of the products, it appears not. The audio line, especially at the top end, is up there with Beats or even Bose. The bags are restrained and cool. None features a picture of Bob with a doobie.

That may be because the brand is run directly by Rohan, Cedella and Ziggy Marley, with profits split between all 11 of Bob's children, and the One Love foundation (which has funded the UN Environment Programme and Save the Children).

After a series of legal spats with various uncles, it seems the brood has settled down to almost Brady Bunch levels of accord – maybe the Jacksons could learn a thing or two.