When you listen to “Redemption Song” or “One Love’ for the first time, you know you are hearing something special. Donisha Prendergast, the oldest grandchild of reggae legend Bob Marley, understands the legacy she inherited and just how special it is. Donisha works hard to remind people that there is a deeper message hidden in the music of her grandparents – one that encourages the black race to strive to be better because to ‘emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.’
The successful actress, motivational speaker, and activist has been keeping busy during the pandemic and reflects on 2020, tells us about her new short film “Black Bodies,” and shares her future plans the upcoming year ahead.
How do you feel the pandemic and 2020 as a whole has shed light on Black communities? “The year 2020 was a moment of truth, a moment for reckoning, a moment for repressed voices to be heard and Black peoples to find some rest after running for so long. 2020 demanded that the entire world come to a screeching halt and reassess itself and our humanity. In a strange way, the pandemic helped to recalibrate the world. People who haven’t had time to just have down time because of demands at work, can finally reconnect with themselves and family.”
Congrats on starring in the short film “Black Bodies.” What do you believe would be the biggest takeaway an audience would get from this project? “I’m grateful that I was able to channel a strong performance to help communicate a combustion of emotions that often have no space to find expression. I hope the audience walks away from “Black Bodies” with a deeper inner-standing of the trauma and emotional scars that these encounters with police brutality leave in its wake. Not just for the victim, but for communities globally who witness the event and are unable to find justice.”
How did the horrible Airbnb incident impact the creating of the short film “Black Bodies”? “That experience was the impetus for this project. As creatives, I think it’s a natural response for us to want to express ourselves through art. We wanted to make a creative statement to help continue the conversation around police brutality against Blacks and get accountability from the state. Individually, we curated projects to represent how we felt. Komi did a painting of Harriet Tubman entitled ‘Liberty,’ I created a short social impact video with all three of us sharing our story, entitled ‘Dear Neighbor’, and Kelly wrote/directed “Marathon” and “Black Bodies” as a means of dealing with what she was feeling.”
Your grandparents were revolutionists. Do you feel the weight of the Marley name? “Absolutely, every day. Especially as the eldest of my generation, I feel it’s important to be clear and strong in my decision-making, and how and who I align with. This legacy that I have inherited goes much deeper than my grandparents. It is rooted in the dreams and aspirations of a people yearning to actualize themselves. This is the essence of the (r)Evolution that inspired my grandparents and now me. A weight that we must bear with grace and gratitude.”
What’s next for you? “I feel it’s time to slow down a little, re-group, introspect, get some good rest, eat some good food, and get ready for the next decade of work. I’ve been focusing on my personal life, healing, and evolution. Also, doing some writing for a book with the hope of manifesting it in the near future. I’ll do more international collaborations as it relates to community building initiatives, more films – both on camera and behind the scenes. They say youth is wasted on the young, but I’ve made sure they can’t say that about me.”