The grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley, Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, received a moving homage from American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer Lauryn Hill at her recent Miami performance, where other Marley family members were present.
The former Fugees member and Grammy Award-winning singer recalled meeting Jo Mersa as a young child and spoke adoringly about him, the value of family, and being unafraid to show love, especially in these trying times. She has five children with Rohan Marley, the son of Bob Marley: Zion, Selah, Joshua, John, and Sara.
Hill began her three-minute, ten-second statement by saying, “Our family has suffered a tragic loss.” The Doo Wop singer continued, ” I know that we have members of the Marley family in the house tonight … a number of them … I just want to say, be yourselves, make sure that you have people you can talk to and express yourselves to. Joseph Marley … I met him when he was very, very young with his father Stephen. The Fugees were on the road … [he was] full of life, full of energy, full of personality. I have beautiful memories of him and I treasure those memories.”
Hill a mother of six had a particular message for the Marley kids, saying, “In memory of Joseph Marley, all you Marley children out there, stay together; be compassionate, forgiving of each other, listen to each other, protect each other, hold each other close.”
She also made a broad message about the globe, with an emphasis on young people in particular. She asked everyone to “love your families, hold them tight, make sure we tell them how much we love them as consistently as possible”.
“I think we have normalized a lot of loss. I don’t remember a time when there was more loss in the world so consistently, especially our youth. We have to do something about it. If you can reach them, reach them. Don’t close your ears, don’t close your hearts, because they need us and we need them as well,” Hill expressed.
On December 27, 2022, singer and musician Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, 31, was discovered unconscious in a vehicle in a Florida parking lot. His funeral was conducted in Jamaica on January 18 and was attended by many of his family members, as well as famous musicians and political representatives. In St. Ann, he was interred next to his great-grandfather, Bob Marley.
Hill is usually regarded as one of the all-time great rappers and as one of the most significant artists of her age. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hill’s historic 1998 first solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which featured the songs Lost One, To Zion, Doo Wop, which peaked at number one on the Billboard chart that year, and Ex-Factor, which was later sampled in Drake’s song “Nice for What.”
She became the first woman to win five or more awards in a single evening when she won five Grammy Awards for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill at the 41st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best New Artiste, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
“Ladies and gentlemen, life is full, we have our good days and we have our bad days. Let’s not beat people up when they have their challenges. Let’s try to hold them up, help them get through, and praise God for life,” noted in closing her speech.