Happy Birthday, Rita Marley!
A matriarch of the Marley family is celebrating their birthday. It's Bob Marley's wife Rita who turns 69 years old today (July 25).
Rita, who is affectionately called "Nana Rita," is a Cuban-Jamaican who was a member of the female vocal group the I Threes and a background singer for Bob Marley and the Wailers. She rose to prominence after joining the latter group, but before, she benefitted from a miracle.
Two days before the 1976 Smile Jamaica concert, a gunman broke into the Marley residence and shot Bob, Rita and their manager Don Taylor. Rita survived a shot to the hand and head.
After Bob Marley passed away from cancer in 1981, Rita moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a solo recording career. During her 20 years in the music business, she has released 14 albums, including her last effort, Gifted Fourteen Carnation, in 2006.
Rita also became known for her humanitarian efforts. She adopted 35 children in Ethiopia and assisted over 200 schoolchildren in Ghana. The reggae icon has also given out scholarships to Ghana's Berklee College of Music and founded the Rita Marley Foundation, which works to fight poverty in underdeveloped countries.