Ras Astor Black

Founder/Chairman of the BoardReggae Walk of Fame and Museum Ltd.
Falmouth, Trelawny JAMAICA 876-435-8401 USA 404-910-4463
BBM: 299DAD76 Skype: bobartstv YouTube: bobartstv 

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Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton and Ras Astor Black

Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer

Jamaica Alliance Movement founder, Ras Astor Black,
popular for the many times he has offered himself up for public office,
is popular for other reasons too.

This time around, Black is making waves because of the impact he is trying to make in the music industry.

Black, who has had more than 20 years of production experience, is hoping to discover and develop Jamaican reggae talent through the Ras Astor Black Interactive Music and Arts Learning Institute.

The institution, which Black founded in 1994, is located at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium and offers a variety of programmes, including photography, film and video production and entertainment and media management.

Black is now seeking up-and-coming local reggae artistes to showcase their talent and produce their music videos.

The perennial political underdog will be pairing established reggae artistes from each parish with students from their home parish in a bid to encourage a mentor-mentee relationship that will foster the creation of new music and help the students to develop as artistes.

The reggae artistes who have come on board are those inducted in Black's Reggae Walk of Fame. This includes Ky-Mani Marley, Tony Rebel and Barrington Levy, just to name a few.

"The response has been fantastic! A lot of children who do not have any direction and love art have been signing on," Black told The Gleaner.

Black also hopes to ultimately shoot their music videos which will be showcased on BobArtsTv - a broadcasting forum operated by Black's institution.

The songs created will also be featured on FREEiRADIO 88.9FM and its associated website.

According to Black, students will also be participating in the Reggae in the Sun attraction at the stadium every day as part of their curriculum.

Reggae in the Sun opened and is geared at providing a unique cultural experience for tourists visiting the area.

Black revealed that mobile giant, BlackBerry, is the official sponsor of the Reggae in the Sun concert series and has sponsored two billboards promoting the event so far. There is also a Reggae in the Sun BlackBerry application in the works that will highlight the day-to-day events taking place at the Trelawny DONWAY.

Teino Evans and Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writers

BOB MARLEY'S statement "dem ago tiad fi see me face" at the beginning of Bad Card has been proven true over and over again, as his picture is everywhere from stamps to street art to magazine covers and all over the information superhighway of the Internet.

However, if one Marley advocate has his way, the Gong's tough name will be officially ingrained into smooth tarmac of a highway that all can see and certainly get a smooth ride on.

Ras Astor Black, who recently convened the first induction into the Reggae Walk of Fame, has proposed just that for the highway being built along Jamaica's north coast, parts of which are already complete. And, coincidentally enough, construction is now going on in St. Ann, where Marley was born, with rapid development taking place along the stretch from the capital, St. Ann's Bay,through to Runaway Bay, communities through which his Nine Miles birthplace can be accessed.

And as Marley did sing "life is one big road with lots of signs" in Wake Up and Live, it would be a comfortable fit if there were lots of signs along the stretch of road from Negril to Port Antonio with his name.

"The Hon. Robert Nesta 'Bob' Marley worked tirelessly in spreading reggae music and the message of Rastafari worldwide. Through his work, he gave the world profound and beautiful music and at the same time, promoting our island home, Jamaica, and we are proposing and asking that the Northern Coastal Highway be named the Bob Marley Highway to give the respect and gratitude in his honour," stated Black in a release.


Black says he is seeking approval from the National Works Agency (NWA) and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and that he has had positive feedback from other business persons.

"All the hoteliers that I've spoken to and other persons love the idea, they are all for the idea. I wrote to Mr. Malcolm (NWA) but they haven't responded as yet, and I also wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister," Black said.

Desmond Malcolm, project director for the North Coast Highway Improvement Project, said the naming of highways in Jamaica is not the job of the NWA, but the responsibility of Cabinet, Parliament and even the people of Jamaica.

"Mr. Black needs to take that up with the local representatives, parish council, and I'm sure it would have to go to Cabinet and the Parliament of Jamaica," he said.


Malcolm says he has not yet seen a letter from Mr. Black, but informed The Sunday Gleaner that sections of the new highway have already been named. "Segment one, I think sections of it from Negril to Montego Bay, several sections have already been named after persons who served in government, and segment two (Montego Bay to Ocho Rios), nothing is being contemplated as yet as that highway has not yet been completed. There is also a segment three, that will run from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio," Malcolm said.

Several major roads in Jamaica are named after politicians, among them Michael Manley Boulevard which connects Windward Road with downtown Kingston along the coast, the Ken Jones Highway in Portland and the Winston Jones Highway going up the steep incline to access Mandeville, Manchester, from the Clarendon end. Norman Manley Boulevard is the main road through Negril, the tourist haven in the western end. And while the name of the roads remains the same, Portia Simpson Miller Square was established after extensive renovation work at the intersection of Hagley Park Road, Marcus Garvey Drive and Spanish Town Road in lower St. Andrew.


Black, however, maintains that many will stand to benefit from naming the Northern Coastal Highway the Bob Marley Highway. "It will give all of us a marketable address to do business on the Bob Marley Highway, visitors will want us to give them tours on the Bob Marley Highway, we will establish more reggae attractions along the Bob Marley Highway, more of us will see entrepreneurial ideas resulting in a rise in employment on the Bob Marley Highway, and we will see our own Jamaican brothers and sisters exploring and learning more about our reggae culture on the Bob Marley Highway," he said.

The idea of tours along a Bob Marley Highway would be the reverse of his mid-1970s treks to do concerts across Europe that were edited and collected on the 1978 album Babylon By Bus.

There is, however, a road already named after Bob Marley, one that no buses full of tourists roll down, as Bob Marley Boulevard runs through Cooreville Gardens on the western edge of the capital. He is in good company, as many other roads in the community, built in 1976, are named after other outstanding figures in Jamaican music.


"They were named after old entertainers. You have Bob Marley Boulevard, Bob Marley Way, Ken Boothe Close, Chosen Few Avenue, Rita Pathway, Ms. Lou Close, Wailers Avenue, Maytals Crescent, Gaylads Avenue and others," said Shaun Dennis, who has lived in Cooreville for over 18 years.

"I guess it's in honour of their outstanding work in music and contribution to the building of reggae music. If you notice, many of these names are foundation," he said.

Then there is precedent for renaming a road for, if not an entertainer, then certainly a very influential studio whose name is almost synonymous with a noted producer. Brentford Road in Kingston was renamed Studio One Boulevard on Friday, April 30, 2004, for the famous studio operated at number 13 by Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd since 1963. Studio One is widely accepted as having primary position in Jamaica's music history, with Dodd being its father figure.


In an earlier interview with Mayor Desmond McKenzie, he told The Gleaner that "The resolution to change it from Brentford Road to Studio One Boulevard was taken by the previous council, not by my council. All that we are doing is carrying out the formalities and the formal function."

Whether or not there will ever be a Bob Marley Highway remains to be seen, but if there is it would be one more triumph in true "dem a go tiad fe see me face" style by a man who once complained in Rebel Music Three O'Clock Roadblock: "Why can't we roam, this open country/Oh why can't we be what we want to be/We want to be free/Three o'clock, roadblock/ ... And I have to throw away my little herb stock."

The Hon. Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley Highway.

 We know if you allow us to present our proposal to parliament for approval, it will be a: 

Fantastic attraction on the developing Tourism Corridor, St. James, Trelawny and St. Ann 
Marketing opportunity for all Jamaicans living along the Bob Marley Highway to market "Made in Jamaica" Products
Improve our bed and breakfast accommodation in all communities along the highway
Allow for Bob Marley Fans to walk or drive slowly along their idol highway
Marathons like the Reggae Marathon can be staged monthly for more attraction for visitors to come to Jamaica thus improving the standard of life for all residence living and doing business along the Bob Marley Highway
Bob High Tours 

 We are positive that you and the kind Members of Parliament will see it as a good for the Jamaican people and so we look forward to your quick response as we plan to do a motorcade along the along the highway on February 6th 2009 to celebrate the Bob Marley Highway

One love
Ras Astor Black
Jamaica Alliance Movement
(movement of good people)  
Highway request for Marley

Join  as we launch a campaign globally to have the Government of Jamaica officially name the highway from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James via Trelawny, St. Ann to Ian Fleming International Airport, St Mary, be named 
The Hon. Bob Marley Highway.

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Hon. Lester Michael Henry, CD
Ministry of Transport & Works
Kingston, Jamaica

Greetings Minister Henry,
Re: The Bob Marley Highway
I am pleased to see you are living up to your campaign promises on the issue of traffic improvements. There are far too many individual traffic situations needing attention to enumerate them all, but I would like to draw your attention to a particular highway. The North Coast Highway from the round-a-bout at the Sangster’s International Airport to Cruise Ship Terminal in St. Ann to be name the: BOB MARLEY HIGHWAY.

Join our positive campaign
(with no affiliation to the Bob Marley Foundation or group of Companies) 

The Jamaican peoples has honoured Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley and made him one of our honorary citizens. Today, the Jamaica Alliance Movement extends a cordial invitation to the Bob Marley Group of Companies to join o
ur campaign to name Jamaica’s North Coast Highway the Honourable Bob Marley Highway. By doing so, it will;

The Jamaican peoples has honoured Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley and made him one of our honorary citizens. Today, the Jamaica Alliance Movement extends a cordial invitation to the to join o ur campaign to name Jamaica’s North Coast Highway the. By doing so, it will;

1.       Help us maintain and improve the quality of life for all Jamaicans to enjoy in Jamaica

2.       We the dedicated group of small business owners who feel that an involved citizenry is our best solution to the social problems that challenge our communities on the North Coast.

3.       Numerous employment will be derived from the naming 

4.       The Bob Marley Foundation and Group of Companies can then participate in creating Arts Education in School  for Jamaican Children along the Highway 

We feel that naming the North Coast Highway the Hon. Bob Marley Highway your involvement would make the Bob Marley Group of Companies a valuable member of our communities