REGGAE LEGENDS, THE AFRICAN DIASPORA and HISTORIC ICONS ALL INTERCONNECT
KINGSTON, JAMAICA (MARCH 5, 2019) – Bob Marley’s eldest daughter, Cedella, and Primary Wave, license-holder of The Wailers’ music and many other reggae masterpieces, are teaming up with Creative Principals—the trio made up of M. Menelik Makhar, Dermot Hussey, O.D. and Robert Roach—in this
“Lion of Judah,” an epic graphic novel series that chronicles the African Diaspora’s last 150 years, has begun production. This groundbreaking seven-issue tour de force details Ethiopia’s Solomonic Dynasty, H.I.M. Haile Selassie I’s reign, Africa’s post-colonial struggle for independence, The Cold War, and its global impact on the African Diaspora.endeavor. Aside from “Lion of Judah’s” momentous subject matter, the creation of this team—by itself—is industry-altering.
In terms of cultural impact, the story arcs highlight historical, musical, and political contributions of Kwame Nkrumah, Steve Biko, Bob Marley, The Wailers, and other musical and historical figures whose work changed the world.
Makhar has masterfully scripted “Lion of Judah,” taking seven years to write this multifaceted narrative. The boundaries-breaking chronicle fully conveys political history, cultural movements and the evolutionary music history of Reggae, includingCumina, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, Dub and Dancehall Music.Ms. Marley and Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave Music, are also uniting in a totally novel way. The comics industry has never seen collaboration like “Lion of Judah.”
“‘Lion of Judah’s’ revolutionary nature—its depth and its texture—drew me to the project,” Marley says. “About 11 years ago, my family and I embarked on a journey which took us to Ethiopia. We set out to make a concert film at that time. (2008’s “Africa Unite,” the title derived from a song off of Marley’s 1979 opus, “Survival.”)
“That project became so much more: a symposium revisiting the OAU’s goals and ideals (Organization of African Unity, the African Union’s predecessor). We also explored the life and works of one of my father’s most profound inspirations, H.I.M. Haile Selassie I. Being part of another galvanizing cultural moment was immediately obvious when Menelik brought this project to me. It was a chance to recommence ‘Africa Unite’s’ progressive action.
“I’m glad that Menelik’s and my paths overlapped.”
During Makhar’s inspired pilgrimage to create “Lion of Judah,” he had even more good fortune. After convincingMs. Marley of his seriousness, they worked together to find the right home for “Lion of Judah.” This led the two to Primary Wave. They both agree that, without Primary Wave’s support and herculean efforts, “Lion of Judah” would simply have remained a great idea.
“In addition to Cedella, it was Primary Wave’s visionary spirit that helped to bring the project together,” Makhar says. “From our first pitch meeting, Larry ‘got it.’ He could see ‘Lion of Judah’s’ potential. It was clear that we’d knocked on the right door.”
|Samantha Rhulen of Primary Wave adds, “From the beginning, Roach, Hussey and Makhar have put together a project that’s completely innovative. It’s far beyond what you’d expect from the typical graphic novel. ‘LOJ’s’ digital version will include technology that merges multiple platforms and different creative industries. In short, get ready for something really special.”|
“I am humbled, blessed and highlyfavored to bring this story to fruition,” Makhar continues. “Whenever I’m asked how it all came together, only one word suffices: Providence. That may sound cliché, but literally everything from my own personal history, ‘Lion of Judah’s’ writing inspiration, how I connected with Dermot, Cedella, Larry, and Robert—everything felt…guided.”
With numerous previously untold stories woven throughout “Lion of Judah’s” visionary fabric, finding the right comics creators to bring the story fully to life was the next step. Given his two decades in both the entertainment and comics industries, Roach used his extensive network to fill out the roster with Makhar’s input.
“Sorry for ‘playing our cards close to our vests,’” Roach comments. “We have some serious co-creators assisting us on ‘Lion of Judah.’ People will be astounded by their quality and résumés. We’ll be revealing these details—and more—at WonderCon 2019 in March, so please stay tuned.”
“Lion of Judah’s” seven-issue run, 50-pages each and in fullcolor, will be distributed later this year on a monthly schedule.