Cedella Marley Launches Joint Venture Tuff Gong Collective With Universal

Courtesy Photo

Cedella Marley, the oldest daughter of Bob and Rita Marley, is launching a new joint venture with the Universal Music Group called Tuff Gong Collective, the parties announced today (appropriately, and un-coincidentally, on 4/20).

The venture -- which takes its name from Bob Marley’s nickname growing up in the Trenchtown neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica -- will cover recorded music, film and television projects, with Cedella, who also functions as CEO of the Bob Marley group of companies, overseeing it and her own son, Soul Rebel, coming aboard as creative director.

In addition to the announcement of the venture itself, Tuff Gong is partnering with Island Records imprint 4th & Broadway to make its first artist signing, Young Devyn, a rising Trinidadian MC from Brooklyn. Tuff Gong will represent Devyn’s catalog in the Caribbean as part of the deal.

“I’m thrilled to embark on this next chapter of my father’s legacy, continuing to bring art and music to the world," Cedella Marley said in a statement announcing the venture. "Tuff Gong Collective will allow us to find new creative platforms to introduce new generations to my father’s music but will also give us the ability to cultivate the next generation of music artists and creators.”

George Kamper
Cedella Marley

Added LaTrice Burnette, executive vp of Island Records and the president of 4th & Broadway, "We’re thrilled to work with Cedella to continue to evolve and build on the long-standing relationship between the Marley family and Island Records."

That relationship dates back to the early 1970s, when Island founder Chris Blackwell signed a young Bob Marley and the Wailers and produced their first international album, Catch A Fire, which was released in 1973. Marley would go on to release nine studio albums and two live albums on Island during his lifetime; now, 40 years since Bob Marley’s death, his grandson (and another of Cedella’s sons) Skip Marley is currently signed to Island, with plans to release his own debut album on the label.

Last year, the label alongside the Marley family and publisher Primary Wave planned a year’s worth of celebrations -- some of which were curtailed by the pandemic -- to celebrate what would have been Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, including reissues, a multi-part mini-documentary, a photo book, covers and live releases, a dedicated SiriusXM satellite radio station and more.

The Tuff Gong Collective deal will also mean that the family will work on film and TV projects with UMG’s Polygram Entertainment division, including an animated film with Walt Disney written by Kenya Barris that "is intended to be a love letter to the late Marley’s legendary music and to the people of Jamaica," according to a press release. UMG’s head of film and television development and production David Blackman, alongside Cedella Marley and Principato-Young Entertainment’s E. Brian Dobbins, will produce the project.

"I’m excited to work with Cedella and the TGC team to bring to life the rich stories and the abundance of creativity rooted in the Marley universe," Blackman said in a statement. "Cedella exemplifies the Marley tradition, shining a light on diverse stories rooted in resilience and determination that resonate with audiences globally."