The British supermodel Naomi Campbell was the first Black woman to appear on the covers of both Time Magazine and French Vogue. She was one of the most recognizable and highly paid models of the 1990s. She was born in 1970 in London and began her modeling career at the age of 15. By the age of 20, she had become an experienced video professional, but her first job in video was appearing in Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?” video in 1978 when she was seven years old.
Campbell discussed this period of her life in a 2016 article for The Guardian in the United Kingdom. She started at the Barbara Speake Stage School in Acton, West London, when she was three and studied there until she was 14. She describes her work on the Marley video as “the most exciting” of those she appeared in, which included two videos for Culture Club.
She remembered Marley as handsome, mellow, and soft-spoken with a strong Jamaica accent that she recognized from her home. The video was filmed at the Keskidee community arts center in Islington. The building was the work of architect and activist Oscar Winston Abrams who immigrated to England from Guyana in 1958. He was the head of Islington’s branch of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination. Many people of Caribbean descent lived in the area, and Abrams realized there was a need for an arts center, so he founded the first such center for an Afro-Caribbean community in Britain. Naomi Campbell was a part of the community as her mother was born in Jamaica. The center received a historical green plaque to mark its cultural significance.
Marley had chosen the center building himself for his video and spent a day playing games and singing with the children who had been selected from various acting schools in London to perform with him. Theatrical agent Sandra Boyce was there when the video was filmed and remembered that Marley had a large entourage with him, but he was very humble and really wanted to work with the children.
Campbell said that Bob Marley, who died in 1981, remains an important figure in her life.
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