KEVIN Barrett, son of Aston "Familyman" Barrett, says the legendary musician is embarrassed by a cyber fight involving two of his children. Last week, The Wailers bass guitarist's daughter, Aiesha Barrett-Walker, established a GoFundMe account seeking assistance for her 75-year-old father whose health she claims is deteriorating.
That drew an angry response from her brother, Aston Barrett Jr, who described her action as irresponsible. He said Barrett-Walker posted the account to slight the family after he fired her from The Wailers.
Kevin agreed with his brother. In an interview with the Jamaica Observer's Splash yesterday he said Barrett-Walker is seeking attention.
"If we need help we have too much acquaintances and friends and family who can come together to do that. Basically she is looking some type of attention — because if she knew her dad was in this state for all these years, why all of a sudden she's gonna go, 'Oh, I love my father.' You haven't seen this man in over six months!" he exclaimed. "She's just upset because she's no longer going to be around the band."
According to Kevin, Barrett-Walker was fired by Aston Jr as manager of The Wailers' merchandise. He gave no reason for the alleged sacking.
In an interview with the Observer Online, Barrett-Walker said she created the GoFundMe account out of "desperation".
"My father is in need of physical therapy and speech therapy. He's been bed-bound for two years and hasn't received the proper care. I took it upon myself to ask for help. I received help and paid for his treatment and they refused to take him to the doctor. We share the same father. I was never raised with them," she said.
Kevin says neither he or his brother have had contact with Barrett-Walker since she established the GoFundMe account which has raised just over US$2,000.
He disclosed that he has been his father's caregiver for the last four years. Familyman, who suffered a series of strokes, is also diabetic and bedridden.
Familyman and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, were considered the driving force of the patented one-drop sound that helped make Bob Marley a superstar. He was the reggae king's musical director and assumed leadership of The Wailers following Marley's death from cancer in May 1981.
Carlton was murdered in 1987 at age 36.
Under Familyman's stewardship, The Wailers have tirelessly toured the globe. The line-up has also had multiple changes, with Aston Jr, the band's drummer, taking over from his father as musical director in 2018.
Last year Aston Familyman Barrett was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by the Jamaican Government. He was also listed at number 28 on Rolling Stone magazine's The 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time.
Kevin, oldest of the three siblings, said despite his health challenges their father is coherent and upset at the "mix-up" involving his children. Whether it will hurt The Wailers — who are scheduled to kick off a lengthy tour, starting tomorrow, in Bogota, Colombia — is left to be seen.
"I think the real fans who follow my dad and the band don't really believe these things. The fans are connected to a lot of people who know my dad and the band members, and will contact them and say, 'What is this we're hearing?' And they will tell them that this is a family spat and that this girl is upset and she's spreading rumours," he said.