by Howard Campbell
[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – It’s been five weeks since Bunny Wailer’s death and controversies around his estate have made headlines in his native Jamaica. But his son, Asadenaki Livingston, prefers to remember a man who was passionate about Rastafari and music.
Wailer died here on March 2 at age 73. His health had deteriorated since suffering a stroke three years ago.
Asadenaki said the three-time Grammy winner, “Was a loving Dad with an interesting combination of qualities. He was protective but not overbearing. He let me make my own mistakes so I could learn from them, never sugar-coating life’s realities.”
Along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, Wailer comprised the most famous members of The Wailers, a six-piece harmony group that formed in the Kingston community of Trench Town in the early 1960’s.
They shared a love for music and an unyielding faith in the message of Rastafari. Marley died from cancer in 1981; Tosh was murdered in 1987.
Though he was synonymous with Rasta, Asadenaki said his father had an open mind when it came to religion.
“Many of the things he taught me I didn’t ‘overstand’ until I became an adult and then I was able to appreciate them. He shared principles of Rastafari with me, but left me to choose for myself what my spiritual path would be. As a result I studied other religions but was spiritually ignited when I delved into the life and teachings of His Majesty, thus finding my way into being a proud Rastafarian,” he explained.
Though he followed his father’s path into music and became a singer, Asadenaki is a trained cinematographer.
Documentary in the Works
He has a degree in Communications/Media Studies from Clayton State University in Georgia. Wailer bought him his first camera and encouraged him to pursue a career as a film-maker.
Last year, Asadenaki worked on “The Blackheart Man”, a documentary about his father. He is currently pursuing a similar project on Jean “Sister Jean” Watt, his father’s spouse for over 50 years, who went missing last year.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions by Jamaica’s government, funeral arrangements for the deceased including Wailer, are on hold in the country.
Legal matters surrounding his estate are also been settled by his family which includes his 13 children. In the end, Asadenaki is confident Bunny Wailer’s message and music will endure.
“His smooth, yet confident command of his music has always inspired my own music. His commitment to message music as a voice of the poor and voiceless and the conscience of society is a guide post for me and my sisters, especially now,” he stressed. “I intend to represent that voice with a foundation of love and unity. I know that will make him proud and Rise In Power.”