Stephen Marley's MySpace Secret Show featuring Damian Marley


Photos by: Carlington Wilmot


There's the internet, then there's MySpace. Although the term internet was officially defined on October 24, 1995, the process was in the making since 1961. The Internet today is a widespread information infrastructure that connects the global community regardless of geographic location. Since the advent of the internet, many networking sites were created in the hopes of capitalizing on the instant easy access to the global community. MySpace is perhaps the most successful community site. According to Martin H. Bosworth of ConsumerAffairs.Com, "What started out as a "place for friends" has grown into the definitive social-networking phenomenon."

Many recording artists and bands caught on to the phenomena and use MySpace to communicate with fans and consumers of their music around the world. MySpace recently began another franchise, MySpace Secret Show. From it's inception in February 2006, MySpace users were treated to performances by some of the hot and sometimes new musical acts. The events are free and marketed only to MySpace loyalists. Previous showcases featured Paul Wall, Gym Class Heroes, and Gnarls Barkley. The latest installment was staged on Monday, May 30, 2007 at Studio A Nightclub in Downtown, Miami, Florida. It was sponsored by Chili and Featured Stephen "Ragga" Marley with special guest, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.

The line started to accumulate along the front of the Studio A building before 3pm and was close to 1,000 deep as it approached show time. The temperature of the intimate venue, located next to Club Space, Miami's hot spot, was in sync with the hot performances given by the band of brothers. Mr. Cheeks opened in true hip-hop style to the delight of the crowd and this created the momentum for Stephen to begin his two-hour set. He kicked it off with "Strictly Reggae Music" and vacillated between his anthems, Mind Control, It was Written, Hey Baby and some of his father's classics such as "No Woman No Cry," "Buffalo Soldier," and "Exodus."

Ragga, who repeatedly reminded the music lovers that MySpace brought them together, delivered an eclectic set which highlighted his prolific skills from production and vocalists to playing the guitar and drumming. Jr. Gong lived up to expectations as he energized the crowd and delivered his slew of lyrical rampage. The crowd responded to Marleys effectively as they belted out lyrics to each song and gave lighter, cell phone and verbal "bullet, bullet" salute every chance they got. The MySpace featured artistes were fully supported by their family from Steve’s 4-year old son, Jeremiah, who accompanied him on stage and danced while waving the Rastafarian flag for the entire set to The Matriarch of the Marley Clan, Mother Booker, who was in the house to support her grandchildren and everyone in between Older brother, Ziggy, fresh from his successful world tour supporting his monster album, "Love is My Religion", joined the performance for a collaboration. Their sister, Cedella Marley who mainly focuses on the business arm of the Bob Marley brand, was also on-hand. She cheered, danced and gave forwards from the sideline with their brothers Rohan and namesake Robbie Marley as well as other close family friends, before getting in on the on-stage action. Cedella who has matured gracefully, went on stage for a feature on "Could you be Loved." The crowd went into frenzy as Stephen, Ziggy, Damian and Cedella put their spin on the late Gong's classic. Cedella's influence on her protégés was apparent in the choreography and harmonies of the high-energy background singers.
There was little movement in the packed house as everyone was focused on the historical performance going down in Studio A. The audience was from all walks of life bonded together by their MySpace community networking. The internet and more specifically MySpace have really revolutionized the way information is disseminated and localized the way friends are connected. Through MySpace, friend's friends become friends. Go figure! The overall positive vibration plus the crowds response encouraged Stephen, who is on-tour in support of his latest album "Mind Control," to out perform their previously scheduled 45-minute set. The "MySpacers" enjoyed every minute of the Marleys offerings. caught up with Stephen, Damian and Cedella backstage and it was unanimously stated that family support was so natural for them that it fit right into their busy schedule without effort. The camaraderie was evident in their expression of love and unity for each others projects. Stephen, who is also producing Tuff Gong label mates Mr. Cheeks and Illustrate as well as Kymani Marley was quick to point out that his work, creativity and time management came with ease because it's like "being on both sides of the same coin" it goes hand-in- hand. Like Ziggy and Damian, much of his inspiration comes from his environment and meditation and surfaces while he is on the road. Considering that they spend so much of their time on the road bringing their message and music to the masses, it really is astounding that they can still focus and create such profound and positively rich music in addition to supporting other artistes and each other.