Legal (except in New Jersey schools) tranquilizers?
Peeking out from among the Malta cans and bottles of kola champagne and ginger beer in bodega refrigerator cases in neighborhoods like Flatbush, Bed-Stuy, and Clinton Hill, beverages bearing a likeness of Wailers lead singer (and prodigious pothead) Bob Marley have been appearing. (And what college student doesn’t have his dreads-framed visage plastered somewhere in the dorm room?) That likeness has been pressed into service in Bob Marley-branded beverages, alliteratively called Marley’s Mellow Mood. FitR picked up a couple on Church Avenue, on an evening when squad cars went screaming by, heading into East Flatbush. We certainly needed some nerve-calming.
It’s almost a trend: beverages intended to counter energy drinks, filled with substances reputed to make you chill instead of get up and yell. The Marley’s Mellow Moods we spotted were a Peach, Raspberry, and Passion Fruit Ice Tea and a Citrus Soda, but the website also lists Mocha, Green Tea with Honey, and Berry flavors. Each beverage “reduces stress and relieves tension” according to the blurb on the container.
The back of the receptacle claims the star’s “persona rights” for Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd., a company owned by Marley’s heirs that has been engaged in an epic struggle for rights to the singer’s music. Clearly, they have no reverence for his posthumous reputation.
The citrus soda flaunts the same color as Mountain Dew (piss yellow?), and tastes mildly tart, but ultimately not especially flavorful. No particular “citrus” is identifiable. Inevitably, we mixed it with the Haitian rum Babancourt–a neighborhood favorite–despite advice to not drink it with alcohol printed on the can. It tasted much better. And then we really chilled.
We suffered no ill effects. However, the Associated Press reports that several New Jersey students became ill after drinking the beverage in December, and it was henceforth banned from the schools.
Not much to look at, but when mixed with rum, magic happens.
Is Bob Marley rolling over in his grave?
Check out the namesake Bob Marley song, “Mellow Mood,” after the jump.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 5, 2013