Rita Marley is a renowned singer, songwriter and entrepreneur who has significantly contributed to developing and promoting reggae music and Rastafari culture.
She is the widow of the legendary Bob Marley and a member of the I Threes, the backing vocalists for Bob Marley and the Wailers.
She has also recorded several solo albums and collaborated with other artists, such as Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
Rita Marley is a woman of courage, compassion and creativity who has inspired many people worldwide with her music and humanitarian work.
- Full name: Alfarita Constantia Marley
- Stage name: Rita Marley
- Date of birth: 25 July 1946
- Age: 77 years old
- Gender: Female
- Place of birth: Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
- Nationality: Jamaican
- Profession: Singer, songwriter, entrepreneur
- Height: 5 ft 3 in (160 cm)
- Parents: Leroy Anderson and Cynthia Jarrett
- Siblings: Donovan Anderson and Wesley Anderson
- Spouse: Bob Marley (m. 1966; d. 1981)
- Children: Sharon Marley (adopted), Cedella Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Stephanie Marley (adopted), Serita Stewart (adopted)
- Relationship status: Widowed
- Net worth: $50 million (estimated)
Early Life & Education
Rita Marley, who clocked at 77 in 2023, was born on 25 July 1946 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Her parents, Leroy Anderson and Cynthia Jarrett, moved to Kingston, Jamaica, when she was three months old. She has two brothers, Anderson and Wesley Anderson.
Her parents separated soon after, and she was raised by her aunt Viola, a devout Christian. Rita grew up in Trench Town, a poor and violent neighbourhood in Kingston, where she witnessed the struggles and hardships of the people.
She attended the Greenwich Park Primary School and the West Kingston Senior School, where she developed an interest in music and singing.
She also attended the Pentecostal Church, where she sang in the choir and learned about the Bible.
Rita Marley met Bob Marley in 1964 when he was a rising star in the Jamaican music scene.
He was the mentor and producer of her vocal group, the Soulettes, and they soon fell in love. They married in February 1966, shortly before Bob left for the United States to visit his mother.
Rita joined him later, and they lived in Delaware for a few months, where Bob worked as a lab assistant and Rita as a housekeeper.
They returned to Jamaica in 1967 and settled in a house in Kingston, where they started a family. Rita gave birth to four children with Bob: Cedella, Ziggy, Stephen and Stephanie.
She also adopted two children from Bob’s previous relationships: Sharon and Serita. Rita and Bob had a close and supportive relationship, but they also faced some challenges, such as Bob’s infidelity, his assassination attempt in 1976 and his cancer diagnosis in 1977.
Rita stood by Bob’s side until he died in 1981 at 36. Rita never remarried and devoted her life to preserving and promoting Bob’s legacy and helping others in need.
Rita Marley began her career as a singer on the radio and later formed a vocal group called the Soulettes with her cousin Constantine Walker and friend Marlene Gifford.
They recorded some songs for Studio One, a record label, and performed at various venues and events. They also collaborated with other singers, such as the Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
In 1966, Rita joined Marley’s band, the Wailers, as a backing vocalist. She also recorded songs as a solo artist, such as “Pied Piper” and “Play Play”. In 1974, she joined the I Threes, along with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt.
They provided harmony vocals for Bob Marley and the Wailers until he died in 1981. Some of their famous songs include “No Woman, No Cry”, “Exodus” and “One Love”.
After Bob’s death, Rita continued her solo career and released several albums, including Who Feels It Knows It, Harambe, We Must Carry On and One Draw.
She also performed at concerts and festivals worldwide, promoting reggae music and Rastafari culture. She received several awards and nominations for her music, such as the Grammy Award, the Reggae Sunsplash Award and the Jamaican Music Award.
She also collaborated with artists such as Sly and Robbie, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. Rita Marley is among the most influential and respected female reggae artists ever.
According to various sources, Rita Marley has an estimated net worth of $50 million.
She has earned her wealth from her music career, business ventures, and inheritance from Bob Marley.
She owns theBobMarley Foundation, the BobMarley Trust and the Bob Marley Group of Companies, which manage and protect Bob’s intellectual property rights and assets.
Rita Marley has faced controversy and criticism, especially regarding her relationship with Bob Marley and her role in his estate.
Some of Bob’s children from other women have accused Rita of excluding them from Bob’s legacy and benefits.
They have also claimed that Rita forged Bob’s will and lied about his wishes. Rita has denied these allegations and maintained that she has acted in Bob’s best interest and according to his instructions.
She has also faced legal disputes with other parties over the rights and royalties of Bob’s music and image. Rita has defended her actions and stated that she has always tried to honour and preserve Bob’s legacy and vision.
- Instagram handle: @ritamarley
- Twitter handle: @nanaritamarley
- Rita Marley has appeared in the following documentaries:
- Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Bob Marley Story
- Caribbean Nights: The Bob Marley Story
- Time Will Tell
- Rebel Music: The Bob Marley Story
- Rita Marley: Lioness of Reggae
- Pied Piper
- Play Play
- The Best of Rita Marley: Caramelos
- Who Feels It Knows It
- We Must Carry On
- One Draw
- That’s the Way
- Beauty of God’s Plan
- Good Girls Cult
- Sunshine After Rain