By Tierney Carter, Contributor
Today, many hear the cool, smooth sounds of reggae music and have to take a moment to reflect on the king of reggae himself, Bob Marley. This Jamaica-born singer took the world by storm (or by a puff of smoke) and helped to establish the Rastafarian vibe that so many find peace and tranquility in today.
Robert Nesta Marley was born on Feb. 6, 1945 in poverty-stricken Jamaica. He was raised without the luxuries that many celebrities have today. The lack of resources led Marley to develop a strong relationship with music. He viewed it as an escape from the everyday struggles he faced.
He went on to form his own band called The Wailers that he performed with for years. Marley is still considered to be one of the first influential artists to come from a developing country.
Throughout his career, Marley was a continuous advocate to restore peace and cooperation among Jamaican citizens in the 1970s. During this time, Jamaica was filled with violence, drug abuse and gang activity.
In its political system, both sides were against one another and they kept trying to get Marley to come to one side or the other. Marley thought differently and wanted to achieve peace for both sides so everyone could be happy. Through the music he created and the “Rasta” community he actively took part in and helped broaden, Marley was a strong component in the promotion of peace. Marley also took his rising popularity and used it in a way to help resolve the issues of poverty as well as western oppression.
Marley knew that world peace was much easier said than done. In order to gain support, he created his vision of “One World, One Heart.” This vision fought against the hatred in the world that caused so many different issues to arise and instead promoted happiness and everyone calmly coexisting.
While Marley’s life came to an end in 1981 due to skin cancer, his legacy still lives on today, and he is just as cherished as ever. In honor of the singer’s 75th birthday, Ohio University’s Caribbean Scholars Association and International Student Union celebrated different aspects of the singer’s legacy on his 75th birthday last Thursday. Additionally, the Marley family will spend the next year hosting events and releasing music to further honor Marley’s legacy of peace and love.
Check out the newly released video for Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Redemption Song” here: