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World Premiere: Watch Damian Marley's Gorgeous New African Tour Doc

We speak to Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley about what going to Africa means to him and his new docu-series, "Stony Hill to Addis."

A week after releasing his first solo album in over a decade, Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley shares his journey touring the continent in this docu-series on TIDAL.


Directed by B+, Stony Hill to Addis is a visually melodic ode to Marley returning home and jamming with his fans.

"Africa plays a big part in my life and my upbringing in Jamaica, in reggae music and as a Rasta," he says in an interview with OkayAfrica. "Inherently there's that vibe to want to go to Africa."

The three-part documentary takes us through Jr. Gong's concerts and experience in South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia. Despite the challenges he faced to organize the tour, it was a must to show that it's possible to tour the continent like one would anywhere else in the world.

Video still courtesy of TIDAL.

"It's always been an ambition of mine to tour Africa. I always really wanted to go and do more than one show," Marley adds. "Most of the time when we go to Africa, we go to one country or two. And I kept on saying, 'Well, why can't we tour Africa the way that we tour Europe?' So, it really took a while for us to be able to get a string of dates together that worked out, you know?"

This tour was also a moment to continue document parts of Africa that many still haven't seen.

"It's important to let people know that we've been there, to showcase what we've been trying to do with our music, and that side of Africa that most people are not expecting," he says. "When you're living in America, most of the media that you see about Africa is about wildlife and about nature, you know, animals and stuff like that. You don't really get to see a lot of what's happening in the metropolitan area. You know what I mean?"

Premiering on OkayAfrica, watch Stony Hill to Addis on TIDAL below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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