If you ask my closest family and friends, they would probably tell you that I am one of the biggest Bob Marley fans you will ever meet. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been listening to his songs, and amassing a collection of his rare albums, magazines and newspaper clippings. Needless to say, this man from a little village in Nine Mile, Jamaica has had a huge impact on my own music, poetry, and strengthened my connection to my Caribbean roots, and shaped my understanding of my African identity, history and heritage.
Many moons ago, my dad was a Caribbean DJ and I learned a lot about many different genres of music from him. As a teen, I spent most of my weekends sitting on the floor next to our stereo and listening to my dad play album after album. From Calypso to Chutney, jazz to blues, even country music. But it was Roots Reggae that I was drawn to the most. It symbolized much of my spiritual and cultural understanding, and mirrored my concerns about the plight of my brothers and sisters around the world who were living in abject poverty amidst war and violence.
I remember the very first time my dad played Bob’s Exodus album (rated the top album of the century by Rolling Stone Magazine). I was literally speechless. I never heard anything so brilliant, so powerful, it resonated with me from start to finish. It was positive and uplifting and there was a deep honesty in his lyrics and the vibe of the rhythms. I spent the next few weeks listening to more of his albums and pretty soon I became convinced that he was more than just a musician, but a messenger, of peace, love and harmony for humanity. Bob’s songs echoed the struggles and the suffering of our people from the slums of the Caribbean to the shores of our African homeland.
I am always amazed that he was one of us—born in the ghetto, poor, with little prospects, but somehow he broke free and became a mega star. But Bob, never forgot where he came from, and he always stayed true to himself and his beliefs in the midst of harsh ridicule and misunderstanding by the media and those unfamiliar with reggae and African culture as a whole. In the midst of opposition, he always remained simple, humble, and focused on the cause. Though someone may not agree with his political or spiritual views, Bob is the perfect example that no matter where you are from or what challenges you may be faced with, you can still reach for the stars and make a difference all the while. These are some of the many reasons we celebrate his extraordinary life and achievements on this the day of his birth.
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zoetikmovement