Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Bob Marley: More than a poster and a spliff'

"...In 1978 The Wailers returned to headline the One Love Peace Concert, intended to raise money for the most suffering ghettoes. During a transcendent performance of "Jamming," Marley called the country's two rival political leaders onstage, clasped their hands together, lifted them over his head and proclaimed "Love, prosperity be with us all. Jah Rastafari. Selassie I." With the power of his music and devotion, he united a nation.

On May 11, 1981, he died. Since then his visage has donned countless tapestries and hemp necklaces. That mega-selling compilation, Legend? Released three years after his death. The worst part is the hardest to understand: Douchebags and Time magazine continue to herald his worst music, the former by blasting his later, more smoothly produced fare and the latter for naming Exodus the album of the century. Bizarre doesn't begin to explain that decision; at best, Exodus is Marley's ninth best album.

The result: Some people, such as hipsters, tend to dismiss Marley entirely on the basis that his fans suck. I'm partially guilty - it took me an abnormally long time to come around. Unfortunately, not everyone does, and a lot of the above-mentioned hipsters turn into tastemakers, and thus false impressions become real.

Furthermore, a lot of his ethnicity has been stripped from him. Reggae is still generally filed under the vague "world music" label, a category that Marley himself is largely responsible for creating. Worse, the urgency has also been stripped from his music. The image of Bob Marley in our world now is one of ganja and peace, love and acoustic guitar jams with your best bros. Where is the blood and suffering? The cries for burnin' and lootin' or revolution for all men?

Because Robert Nesta Marley is no longer with us, his name and image are entrusted to us to protect and his message to spread. So put down the bong, put on Catch A Fire and figure out how you're going to make a difference in the world..."

~ read in full... ~


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