Bob’s 71st Birthday
Normally I would shy away from claiming someone’s birthday well after they have passed. If a person never reached a certain age it seems somewhat morbid to claim those additional years. However, if this person’s life was bigger than time, bigger than simply what their hands touched and who knew them, then their life was bigger than simply the years they spent on this planet.
So here’s to the legacy of Bob Marley. Happy 71st Birthday!
Life: Bob Marley
Robert Nesta Marley was born on the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica. He was born to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedella Booker. His father, Norval, was a white man in the Royal Marines who met Bob’s mother, a Jamaican teenager, only a few times.
Bob was raised solely by his mother but later on in life he would seek out his father’s relatives only to be rejected, which led to the writing of Corner Stone.
Bob began playing music after he moved to Trenchtown, in Kingston Jamaica and it was here that Bob began to see music as not only a way out of poverty but also a tool to create change. Bob matured in the shadow of Jamaica gaining independence and subsequently being thrown into Civil War. It was this atmosphere that helped to create arguably the most inspiring musician this world has ever seen.
Legacy: Bob Marley
Bob Marley’s life and work has served as an inspiration for millions by displaying the power of music which is infused with passion and heart. Bob, coming from meager beginnings, channeled all that he was into his art and in doing so changed his country and our world. If we are honest, there is no other artist who has brought about more conversation, political action, and practical change than Bob Marley. 2Pac, Bruce Springsteen, Public Enemy, and the Beatles truly have nothing on Bob.
What might be Marley’s most amazing moment was when, in the middle of civil war in Jamaica, he played the One Love Peace Concert for the whole of the country for free, and gets the leaders of both factions to embrace on stage.
Can you image an artist so unifying the leaders of warring parties would embrace their enemy on stage just to be seen in his presence? Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, Bush and Obama, or Malcolm X and Bull Connor embracing on stage. #Shalom
You see, most artists see a problem and infuse their rage into their art hoping with enough anger change will occur. Bob’s legacy, in my humble opinion, is him infusing love into his message in the midst of pain and suffering. Marley, it seems, had a better grasp on unconditional love than most religious people who call themselves musicians. Bob spoke for the people without infusing anger and by doing so he almost became an unbiased reflector of reality which was so convincingly clear that change had to follow his wake.
Bob’s life thus begs the question, how is it that christian artists can claim such great power in their art yet rejoice in simply being played at a Miami Heat Game or being invited to the Grammys? Does great change come from a muddled mix at a basketball game or by sitting in a $1,000 suit at the Grammys? If so, I must have missed that memo. By the way, Bob Marley changed the world without ever winning a Grammy.
So, in his memory, I’m going to put down the anger I feel as I type this envisioning the celebrity christian striving so hard after fame, and pray one or two of them would seek world change rather than monetary gain. Hopefully one day people across the world will celebrate a love put on display by a christian artist pointing to the one true God instead of their own chart topping record sales.
If you are interested in Bob Marley’s Life I can not recommend “Marley” enough! Amazing Documentary!