Written becomes Braithwaite
At the time of Junior Braithwaite’s death in June 1999, Jason Wright was six years old, living in Tavares Gardens (aka Payne Land) and wearing short pants. It was not until he began pursuing a music career that he learnt about the singer, an original member of The Wailers.
Known as Written, he plays Braithwaite in Bob Marley: One Love, the Paramount Pictures movie that opens February 14 in the United States.
For his first acting role, he is keen to revive interest in the diminutive singer, who led The Wailers on the 1964 ballad, It Hurts to be Alone.
“I knew of Junior Braithwaite through reasoning, but I didn’t realise how important he was to The Wailers. The stories told through the grapevine is just of how brilliant he was as a singer; however, when you dig a little deeper you realise that he was more than just a singer – he was a very, very influential part of The Wailers,” Written told the Jamaica Observer.
The singer said he was surprised when producers contacted him to play Braithwaite, who was murdered in Washington Gardens at age 40.
Being part of The Wailers trio made Written appreciate the legacy of The Wailers’ most famous members, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, but his knowledge of the famous group’s other early members was limited. He got to know more about Braithwaite last year during production for Bob Marley: One Love in Trench Town.
“Research is always necessary, and it was quite intriguing to learn about him. Though my extensive research wasn’t really needed because my role was minimal, I did enjoy learning the history,” said Written.
Directed by Academy Award-winner Reinaldo Marcus Green, Bob Marley: One Love stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as the reggae legend, who died in May 1981 at age 36.
Lashana Lynch plays his wife Rita, while Uma Myers is Cindy Breakespeare, the 1976 Miss World who was Marley’s lover.
After the short-lived Wailers trio, Written went solo and has recorded several songs for different producers. Recently, he signed with Nah Ramp, a fledgling label owned by Gary “Dr Dread” Himelfarb, founder of RAS Records, the influential all-reggae company that worked with top acts such as Bunny Wailer, Culture, Israel Vibration and the Roots Radics Band.
We Alright, Written’s first album, is scheduled to be released by Nah Ramp this year.