One Love: Obama, in Jamaica, pays respects to reggae superstar Bob Marley

Player utilities

Listen to the story.

Marco Werman: As I mentioned earlier, both Cuban President Raúl Castro and President Barack Obama will be at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. But before going to Panama, Mr. Obama had another meeting in Jamaica. And first order of business on the island? From the airport straight to the Bob Marley Museum. The president toured Marley’s former home at 56 Hope Road in Kingston, and tour guide Natasha Clark got to show him around.


Natasha Clark: I was excited. I was excited. Not nervous, excited. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s not everyday you get to meet the President of the United States up close and personal.


Werman: Yeah, so true. So, what was President Obama so curious to know about Bob Marley?


Clark: Well, the music--he was fascinated about that. The lyrics--a few of the songs that he sang really meant something to him. You know, as Bob said in his music, “The message is in the lyrics.” So, it was like a dream for him. He was very excited. When he got out of the car, he said “Yes, this is it! Bob Marley!” He was very excited to be here, ready to get on with the tour and hear everything.


Werman: What story about Bob Marley were you really excited to tell President Obama?


Clark: About his life and his impact on our country, even in the political arena. He would always try and make peace.


Werman: There’s also the home that Bob Marley lived in in Trench Town when he was much younger, which actually fewer visitors go to. What do you think people miss by not visiting Trench Town?


Clark: Well, each of the areas that he was in, they all have their own experience. You have people that will go to all of them, trying to get a different experience when you go there. Just like (??) is a part of the Marley group of companies, (??) music tour, we get an idea and an understanding of the music from scratch right up until you have the CD on the shelf. So, it’s different. Each place is different.


Werman: Everybody wants to know how much ganja Bob Marley smoked. Did President Obama want to know as well?


Clark: No, he didn’t ask anything about that. It was just the music. It’s just the music.


Werman: A lot has changed since Obama was elected in 2008. At one point, he was more of a rock star and some Jamaicans might even put him on the same pedestal as Bob Marley. How are Jamaicans responding to the president’s visit now in 2015?


Clark: Well, I can’t really speak for everyone per se, but a lot of people would expect he would maybe contribute something--I’m not sure, I’m not really privy to all the details of what is going on outside of the museum, but I’m sure all of us would love for things to get better in our country. But it’s going to take time and everybody has to put all hands on deck to let that happen, but I’m sure that people who are in charge of that will sort that out. So, outside of that, I’m still on cloud nine. I’m still excited. It’s an opportunity that I may never get again and it was something that shows well upon everyone that works at the Bob Marley Museum.


Werman: Natasha Clark is a tour guide at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica at 56 Hope Road. Thanks so much, Natasha.


Clark: You’re welcome. And tell everyone to visit the Bob Marley Museum when they come here.


Werman: I won’t forget, absolutely.


Clark: Alright, thanks very much Marco.


Werman: Bye bye, Natasha.


Clark: Bye bye.


[Excerpt from Bob Marley’s “One Love”]