DAR Legends: Bob Marley

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-How many of you are fans of Bob Marley? How many of you appreciate everything he's brought to the culture and his message within music? How about how revolutionary rebel spirit that promoted love and unity within our people? Everything that Marley represented in our culture matters still to this day, and today, we here at DAR wanted to sit down and discuss his legacy and his life. With his birthday just passing, and Black History Month still alive and well, we thought it would be a great time to pay homage. Let's get into it.

Born Robert Nesta Marley on Feb, 6th, 1945, in Jamaica to a black teenage mother and an older white father, Bob Marley became a legend. Growing up in Kingston he was poor, surrounded by violence and other tough conditions which earned him the nickname "Tuff Gong",  Bob started to gain perspective and find purpose which led him to start recording music.

He adapted Rastafarianism and its beliefs on class, economics and politics which would influence the music he made. Even though he was coming from chaos, he was able to put that into his music and yet craft it in a way that it came out smooth, joyful & full of hope.

After becoming a big deal, Marley had a firm stance on politics and wanted nothing to do with it, yet both political parties wanted his help because they saw that he had a huge following and was hailed as a leader. This eventually led to an assassination attempt​ being made on his life, leaving him, his wife and manager injured from gunshots. Two days later, Bob still went on to perform "Smile Jamaica" to keep peace and to show courage, but more violence erupted. He decided to leave Jamaica to travel the world. There were many theories on the attack, but no one was ever officially blamed. Bob believed his Selassie, his Rastafarian leader had protected him because it wasn't his time to die and that no man would kill him, but if so, it would be God.

While getting a soccer injury checked, doctors discovered a cancerous growth on Marley's toe which they recommended amputation, but his religious beliefs and fear of not being able to perform the same kept him from getting it properly treated. This would get worse and it is said that he felt he didn't have much time left so he toured, wrote and recorded tirelessly. As a result we got "Exodus", "Kaya", "Survival", "Uprising" & "Confrontation". He managed for a while, but eventually it spread and caused his untimely death in Miami on May 11th, 1981 at age 36, leaving behind at least 10 children.

He was buried in his birth place with a guitar, weed and a soccer ball, the three things he loved.
Not only was he a father, he was also a great musician with a discography of great music which includes three of my favorite songs "No Woman, No Cry", "One Love" & "Buffalo Soldier". He was also a humanitarian who gave a lot of his money to the poor. After death, he's become even more of an icon selling millions of records worldwide, as he left behind Tuff Gong Records and there's a museum dedicated to him, and Bob Marley boulevard in Brooklyn, NY. He also has multiple festivals held in his name around the world, statues built in his honor and you can hardly go a day without seeing his face on someone's shirt. He's the face of Reggae, the face of Ganja and positive vibes. This man truly represented love and peace.

His story is a similar story to a lot of entertainers, as a disease, illness or an unfortunate event takes their lives way too soon, but not before they've done something great in the world.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and activist with a unique philosophy on life. In the words of Edward Seaga, a Jamaican Prime Minister, this was the best way to sum up the person of interest in our topic:

Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation”. 

He was first introduced to the world back in 1963 with a group called the Wailers who are responsible for popularizing ska as well as reggae and rocksteady. After 6 albums and much conflict, The Wailers went through some band changes, which forced Marley to take on the role of writing, guitar and lead vocals for the group. The band was renamed Bob Marley and the Wailers. It is undeniable that Marley captivated people as his unique vocal style resonated with audiences and his unifying-mankind and love filled lyrics captivated souls. Just before his passing in 1981, Marley had received some of the most notable awards including Band of The Year, The Peace Medal Of The Third World (from the United Nations) and The Jamaican Order Of Merit. While Marley was merely speaking his mind, and doing it through music, unknowingly he was infusing the world with positivity, love and empowerment which would make him a global icon.

Most of the world would love Marley for his musical achievements, some would appreciate him more for his philosophies, beliefs, and his confident and carefree mannerisms. His legendary status came in his firm belief in the Rastafari religion, his emphasis and focus on the unification of African people and his integration of Cannabis into his life as a healing herb and sacrament and justified it through biblical verses and analogies. He was years ahead of his time and used his fame to voice wisdom and insight. Even those who may not have shared the same beliefs, still found a profound connection to things he said. Here are some of my favorite quotes.

An interviewer once asked Marley about his Rastafarian religious beliefs, his response was:

"I would say to the people, Be still, and know that His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is the Almighty. Now, the Bible seh so, Babylon newspaper seh so, and I and I the children seh so. Yunno? So I don't see how much more reveal our people want. Wha' dem want? a white god, well God come black. True true."

On Life:
“Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect-and I don't live to be- but before you start pointing fingers...make sure you hands are clean!”

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.”

Although Marley passed away more than 35 years ago, he continues to bind hearts through his music. He bridges generational gaps and he continues to be commended and credited for educating people on “the systems”. Bob Marley will forever be regarded as an integral part of ‘70’s pop culture and his philosophies and words will forever resonate with people of any age and/or cultural background.

There have been very few artists in the history of music that define their hometown or country. Few have made a global and political impact that continues to stand the tests of time. Look at names like Michael Jackson, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Tupac, Public Enemy, even Prince to name a few. One of those other names would be Bob Marley. Bob Marley was the Voice of a Revolution, as his music was the soundtrack for activism. Marley is still the symbol of Jamaica, not just because of his groundbreaking music, but also because of how he took a stand against oppression and discrimination. Bob Marley is to Jamaica what Prince is to Minnesota and Marvin Gaye is to Washington, D.C. His music transformed culture. Born February 6, 1945, Bob Marley grew up under the poverty and oppression of Jamaica, and that resonated in his music as it had a rebel sound. The thing that separated him from other songwriters and musicians is that he knew what it was like to be in deep poverty. Marley had to make fire with wood and cook his fish next to the ocean. He came from a place where rain would seep into his house. The ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica made the streets of Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn look like the lap of luxury (with all due respect to Biggie Smalls).

However, Bob knew how to maximize the hand that he was dealt and he changed the world. The people were Bob's inspiration. Marley was a humanitarian and a revolutionary. Bob's impact on Jamaican politics was so strong, there was even an assassination attempt on his life. That is the power that he carried. Bob's music had incredible versatility. He could go from a marching anthem like "Get Up, Stand Up" to a song to cheer you up like "Don't Worry 'Bout A Thing". Marley could go from inspiring you to fight for your rights to telling you that every little thing is gonna be alright. "I Shot the Sheriff" and "Jammin'" are some of my other favorite Marley songs. His music also had strong spiritual aspects to it. A favorite of mine is "Exodus". The song actually is a biblical story as the title is self-explanatory. It is based on the Story of Moses leading the Children of Israel from Egypt through the Red Sea on the journey to their Promised Land. The instrumental and lyrics perfectly went hand in hand, as it creates the ultimate picture in my mind as I listen to it.

"Open your eyes and look within
Are you satisfied with the life you're living?
We know where we're going
We know where we're from
We're leaving Babylon, y'all
We're going to our Father's land"

I can visualize an army of people marching out of a land of oppression to a land of promise and rewards, leaving a life they are no longer satisfied with. It goes straight to the brain and stands the tests of time. "Redemption Song" is one of his most notable songs that continues to transcend eras.

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/ 
None but ourselves can free our minds/
Have no fear for atomic energy/
'Cause none of them can stop the time."

Bob Marley's music still applies today as it did in the 70's. His music will still resonate even in 3017. He was a musician that used his power to reach back to the people. Long before The Rock, Bob Marley was the People's Champion. Marley was so cool that he even invited Michael Jackson and his family to Jamaica to hang out with him. That will always stand out for me. Two iconic songwriters who were from two different spectrums but had similar mindsets when it came to bringing changes. Just imagine what kind of collaboration they could've had.

Bob Marley T-shirts are still popular to this day, because his music still speaks to the times that we live in. It is something that we can still grasp. His "Legend" greatest hits album is the greatest reggae album of all-time, released three years after his death. "Legend" was ranked number 46 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums List. It is also Certified Diamond by the RIAA selling 15,000,000 Copies Worldwide.

At Bob Marley's funeral on May 21, 1981, Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga delivered a powerful eulogy:

"His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation."

That was the perfect description of Bob Marley. He was an experience that left an enormous mark on society that cannot be erased.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal 
-My personal favorite memory of Bob is rooted in his music. I had never been the biggest reggae music fan, but I've always loved Marley's music and it led me to eventually listen to more music within the same vein. I'd always felt a synergy within Marley's music that cannot be found otherwise. For me, my favorite songs? "Is This Love", "Satisfy My Soul", "Jammin", "I'm Still Waiting" (earlier days), and both versions of "Mellow Mood". The legacy of Bob Marley is etched in stone and his impact will live on forever. He truly defines the word "legend". Rest in power.



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