Celebrating Homecoming: Mayor Purzycki Honors Wilmington’s Own, Stephen Marley

In a heartfelt tribute to one of its native sons, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki extended a warm welcome on March 20th to Stephen Marley, the acclaimed reggae artist and son of the legendary Bob Marley. The occasion marked Stephen’s return to his birthplace on the momentous 10th anniversary of the dedication of One Love Park on Tatnall Street in Wilmington, DE. Mayor Purzycki presented Stephen Marley with a Mayoral Tribute and the Key to the City, symbolizing the city’s enduring pride in its connection to the Marley family.

Mayor Purzycki, Stephen Marley, and Chief of Staff Tanya Washington

Stephen Marley’s roots run deep in Wilmington. Born in 1972 to Bob and Rita Marley, Stephen spent his early years in the city where his grandmother, Cedella Marley, had settled years prior. It was in Wilmington that Bob Marley honed his musical talents, and where Stephen himself began his journey in music at the tender age of seven, alongside his siblings in Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Today, Stephen stands as a towering figure in the music industry, having earned eight Grammy Awards and tirelessly carrying forward his father’s legacy.

Reflecting on the significance of Stephen Marley’s visit, Mayor Purzycki remarked, “What’s really important to us is to reflect on our community, when you see everybody here at this event, there is a depth of feeling that reminds us what community is all about. We appreciate that, and it’s a tribute to you that you have so many folks who want to be with you here today.” The ceremony, attended by dignitaries including Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, underscored the profound impact of the Marley family on Wilmington’s cultural tapestry.

“It’s a very emotional moment here,” said Marley upon receiving a Key to the City. “I do give thanks to everyone who made this possible…my family. Wilmington [is] home. I have fond memories of running across the street to the park and my father…I have fond memories here and thank you. I’m not a man of many words. I love you all. I feel at home.”

The event not only honored Stephen Marley’s musical achievements but also celebrated Wilmington’s rich Caribbean heritage and its enduring ties to the Marley family. As Stephen continues his tour across North America, the city stands as a steadfast beacon of support, ensuring that the Marley family will always have a home in Wilmington’s collective heart.

The Mayor’s Tribute encapsulates the sentiment shared by the city, recognizing Stephen Marley’s profound influence and the enduring legacy of the Marley family in Wilmington.

In honoring Stephen Marley, Mayor Purzycki and the city of Wilmington have not only celebrated a musical icon but also reaffirmed the bonds of community and heritage that unite them. As Stephen continues to inspire audiences around the world, his hometown stands proudly by his side, forever grateful for the indelible mark he has left on its cultural landscape.

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