Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Bob Marley



Febuary 6 marks what would be Bob Marley's 65th birthday. Bob is celebrated around the world for his music but I believe that he represents much more.  Freedom fighter and revolutionary are overused labels but Bob truly personified the terms. It disturbs me when Bob Marley is held up as a symbol for marijuana lovers, like that's all he represents. Bob Marley gave a voice to the poor and oppressed.  He documented the injustices, urged them to fight against the system. For this, he was persecuted and attacked. Because of stupid media portayals, many don't realize that Rastafarians throughout the Caribbean were regularly beaten and jailed until very recently.  The spotlight that Bob's music unveiled on the unjust Jamaican political system reaped scorn from the elite and adoration from people in developing countries, struggling for freedom all over the world. I 've visited Bob's hometown of Nine Mile, Jamaica, a tiny fishing village perched in the mountains of Jamaica. His peaceful aura seems to embrace the entire area.  Bob is best remembered for his peaceful nature and his revolutionary spirit.

Below is a video for his song, "Time Will Tell," from his Kaya album. He wrote it after he survived an assasination attempt in 1976, right before tumultuous Jamaican elections.  He examines the reality of society and the hidden power struggles. "Jah would never give the power to a baldhead/run come crucify the Dread/ Time alone will tell/ think you're in heaven when you're living in hell."  Baldheads represent the close-shaven, powerful elite, who often attacked Rastafarians for their opposition of political systems. The murky reality of societies driven by materialism and class hierarchies can indeed fool you into thinking you're living in heaven with all the material comforts but it really is hell as long as others suffer.



15 comments:

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

A lovely tribute. Happy birthday Bob Marley - thankyou so much for posting Time Will Tell... it's going to be playing on repeat now :)

Tiffany said...

Happy Birthday Bob .

Fly Girl said...

Shaista, I'm glad you like the song!
Tiffany, I hope you celebrate it with some more reggae.

A Cuban In London said...

Rastafari! Yes, da man! Marley is more than marijuana, you're so right. Happy Birthday Bob! Many thanks for such a brilliant article. A few years ago I screened a documentary called 'Roaring Lion' that deals precisely with the Rastafarian community in Jamaica. Very well-done and I had the producer and director in the Q&A.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Amanda said...

Thanks for this Fly Girl - as usual, you remind me to look beyond the media's (especially American) portrayal of sociopolitical figures like Bob!

Fly Girl said...

Cubano,thanks, I believe I've seen the Roaring Lion, it is well done.

Amanda,I hope everybody will remember that. Most media images are one-dimensional and never give you the depth of the experience.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Well written. Those who die young, we are always saying what their age would have been now.

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc, thanks!

sunshine said...

Happy Birthday to Bob!

His body is gone but his soul is still with all of us who find inspiration and truth in all of his songs. Irie Mon'!

Ekua said...

I listened to Bob Marley all weekend in tribute :) I know what you mean about the way he is sometimes portrayed and I also wish that people would a) Go beyond the Legend album and b) Give new reggae acts a chance!

Fly Girl said...

Sunshine, you're right, his spirit never left. Thanks for dropping by.

Ekua, Unfortunately, many people don't get exposed to other reggae acts besides Marley unless it's pop-crossovers like Shaggy or Sean Paul. The ever-changing new reagge landscape doesn't get the visibility it deserves but if they seek it out, it's out there.

Hidi said...

Happy "B-lated" Birthday to Bob Marley. I have been listening to his music since a child.

I cosign of people not getting exposed to new reggae music.
:)

Nikita said...

Nice post! I'm Jamaican-Canadian so loving that you're reppin' for Bob.

Just found your blog and loving it! Hooray for sistas who travel!! I'm living in Hong Kong right now and it is crazy out here, I have a blog too so read through my musings if you like... Gonna go read through all your posts right now...

Fly Girl said...

Hidi, I post reviews of reggae and other global artists so you could get more exposure here. Thanks for dropping by.

Nikita,Thanks ans so glad you found me, I'm headed your way now.

Ibou said...

I love that song.