The timeless teachings and tunes of Robert Nester Marley continue to reverberate throughout the ears of a new generation even after the 30 years of his death, marked May 12th, 2011.
When I met Marley, he was introduced to me on a record playing from the basement of my family’s suburban residence in the heart of Stone Mountain, Georgia. His young and raspy voice rang throughout the halls of the house as the lively rhythm and smooth lyrics motivated my mother and father to sing and dance along. Marley helped narrate most of my childhood and was often there for the most memorable moments of my life. We had become so close that I could say the words of his lyrics before he had begun to sing them. Whenever I woke up in the morning smiling with the rising sun, Marley was there to tell me every little thing was gonna be alright . While in the kitchen mixing rum spiced fruits with spelt flour for my mother’s scrumptous Jamaican Black Cake, Marley was there to help me stir it up. While reading in my American History classroom, Marley was the Buffalo Soldier that stood glaring back at me in the pages of my text-book. When overcoming my adolescent bondage and embarking upon the exodus of childhood, Marley’s words reassured me No Woman No Cry and lead me through the roads of creation down the path of my chosen generation.
His prophetic lyrics and Rasta style revolutionized the way in which I saw the world. He challenged humanity with his socially empowering lyrics. The words were truthful, relatable, and enlightening to a world lost in the depths of strife, political unrest, greed, self-hatred, and fear. He believed that every person was entitled to be loved and taught people about unconditional love. The messages interpreted through the music of Bob Marley continue giving birth to new hope for the future and converting mainstream music into an art form worth praising.
Honorable art in all forms probe thought, action, and movement among willing and passionate individuals. Bob Marley was one of many musical activists who stood up for what he believed in. In the days where the end seems imminent and a new age is upon us, we must assemble and prepare ourselves for a new reggaelution. What contribution will OUR generation add to the legacy of predecessors like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Alton Ellis, Garnett Silk, and Gregory Isaacs? How will we choose to change the corrupted world that we live in and transform the art known as Reggae into an international beacon once again? Remembering the stanza of one of my favorite Marley songs, I urge for this next generation to live in One Love, One Heart, Let’s Get Together and Feel, All Right.