Bunny Wailer se­cur­ing legacy fol­low­ing mi­nor stroke.

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Stephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

FOUR WEEKS ago, 71-year-old reg­gae icon Bunny ‘Jah B’ Wailer suf­fered a mi­nor stroke. But ac­cord­ing to his man­ager Max­ine Stowe, “de­spite the sit­u­a­tion, the en­ter­tainer is not show­ing any signs of dis­may”, she told The Gleaner.

Stowe told The Gleaner that it hap­pened after the reg­gae icon spent the day visit­ing his Port­land farm. On his re­turn to Kingston, it was no­ticed that he was hav­ing prob­lems com­mu­ni­cat­ing.

The stroke oc­curred on the left side of his brain, which she says re­sulted in the right side of his body be­ing af­fected. “He was ac­tu­ally re­lax­ing when he had it (the stroke), but as soon as it oc­curred I no­ticed the shift in com­mu­ni­ca­tion and dif­fer­ence in his ex­pres­sion and took him to his pri­vate doc­tor,” Stowe ex­plained.

“Thank­fully, it was a mi­nor stroke, so it was not as de­bil­i­tat­ing. Bunny never lost the abil­ity to walk, eat and do other things, al­though ini­tially, his body was weak­ened. His speech is the main con­se­quence, and daily, it is com­ing back bit by bit,” she added.

Stowe, who has been work­ing with Wailer for the past eight years, says that de­spite his cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, he is even more fo­cused on se­cur­ing his legacy and that of other reg­gae mu­si­cians. “He has had to watch his peers – Bob Mar­ley and Peter Tosh, among oth­ers – die young, leav­ing their es­tates in the hands of some­one else, but he has lived his life and is work­ing ef­fort­lessly to en­sure the fu­ture of reg­gae mu­sic is se­cured,” she said.

REG­GAE AD­VO­CATE

The only sur­viv­ing founder mem­ber of The Wail­ers (which also in­cluded Bob Mar­ley and Peter Tosh). Stowe re­vealed that Wailer has spent the past three years pay­ing more at­ten­tion to sales and es­tab­lish­ing spa­ces ded­i­cated to the pro­mo­tion of reg­gae and its con­trib­u­tors and less on tour­ing and per­form­ing. He has al­ready launched the next phase of the Wailer’s ex­pe­ri­ence in Nine Miles, St Ann, and was re­cently at the Bournemouth Beach and Bath fa­cil­ity – a place that the vet­eran has stressed is sig­nif­i­cant to the devel­op­ment of not only his mu­si­cal ca­reer, but the likes of the Skatal­ites and Mys­tic Rev­e­la­tion of Rasta­fari.

Speak­ing to The Gleaner about his fa­ther’s re­cov­ery, Abi­jah ‘Asade­naki’ Liv­ingston said it has been an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “When I found out, I re­ally did not have any time to have an emo­tional re­sponse – I just had to get to the hos­pi­tal to pro­vide sup­port be­cause if there is any­thing my fa­ther feeds off, it is pos­i­tive en­ergy,” he ex­plained.

Rarely leav­ing his fa­ther’s side, Asade­naki says that the goal is for him get­ting stronger so he can con­tinue the work.

“A ma­jor part of se­cur­ing his legacy is to know what the legacy is. My part­ner and I have spent a great amount of time to bring that story to life, and The Wail­ers Mu­seum was an­other one of those steps, but, of course, with ev­ery­thing, he has to tell the story. So, the speech ther­a­pist is help­ing him to enun­ci­ate and get the words out.”

He says that the fam­ily is op­ti­mistic that he will be able to speak as he is in full re­cov­ery mode, and re­mains fo­cused on his legacy. The launch of the Wail­ers Statue devel­op­ment event is a con­tin­u­a­tion of their ef­fort. It was slated to take place on Na­tional He­roes Day, but they were forced to post­pone fol­low­ing Wailer’s stroke. The new date for the event is De­cem­ber 2, and the launch will be led by ac­claimed sculp­tor Paul Napier, who pro­duced the Mar­cus Gar­vey Lib­erty Hall statue.

From left: Bunny Liv­ingston, Bob Mar­ley and Peter Tosh when they just formed The Wail­ers.

Bunny Wailer

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