Music History

Will the new Bob Marley biopic resurrect an old conspiracy theory?

[This was my column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

If you were part the minuscule audience who watched the MTV Music Video Awards last week (according to Nielsen overnights, only 865,000 people tuned in to a show that featured Taylor Swift, Shakira, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, and a reunited NSYNC), you would have seen a new teaser for One Love, the upcoming Bob Marley biopic.

The movie stars Kingsley Ben-Adir (who is British and not Jamaican to the consternation of some) and not only focuses on his music but also on his social and political impact. That includes the politically motivated assassination attempt on Bob and his wife by seven gunmen on Dec. 3, 1975.

Bob would live on for a few more years before dying of cancer on May 11, 1981, at the age of 36. His battle with the disease began with an exceedingly rare form of fast-growing and hard-to-diagnose melanoma (acral lentiginous melanoma) under the nail of the big toe on his right foot. Had Bob agreed to an amputation when he was diagnosed in 1977, he might still be alive. But because of his Rastafarian beliefs about the sanctity of the body, he chose other treatments which obviously did not work.

However, there are those who believe that this cancer was induced and implanted in his body by the CIA. According to this conspiracy theory, the CIA was concerned about Marley’s power-to-the-people influence and declared him a threat to U.S. interests in the Caribbean. This story has been thoroughly discredited but it just refuses to go away. It goes something like this.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38335 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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