Reggae Music and Bob Marley

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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There are only a few people in their area of innovation that many people will remember for their work years to come. Bob Marley whose real name is Robert Nesta Marley is one of those persons who is and will always remain an icon because of his work. He was a reggae artist whose music spoke about the togetherness of people and the injustice black people have faced across the world. Bob Marley was a man ahead of his time during his era of music.

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Bob Marley is a reggae icon known worldwide because of the positivity in his music and his focus on revolution, his work was not only in music but across the world promoting peace and being a voice for the oppressed.

Marley was born during a time when Britain still colonized most of the Caribbean and including the country of his birth; Jamaica. He was born to a white father and black mother so he did face some struggles in a Caribbean country of a dominantly darker skinned population. Mixed-raced couples were not accepted therefore their children were not treated very well. During his childhood Bob Marley witnessed the ill-treatment of the blacks by the colonizers, he has always believed that mankind should always stand together.

The move to Trenchtown in Kingston introduced Bob to violence, this may have been the reason he always stood for peace because of his childhood where he experienced violence during his upbringing. Trenchtown was the place he met the member of his band, ‘Bob Marley and the Wailers. Though he was in a band his mother was still worried about his being too close to violence because of regular fights at parties in the community.

Reggae music was originated in Jamaica, because of Bob Marley today reggae is being appreciated more across the world. His music contributed to the popularity of reggae and himself, he has paved the way for reggae artists. He can easily be identified as the king of reggae music because of what he has done for this genre of music across the world. Radio stations in Jamaica would not play reggae because during the early stages of Marley’s career ska was the main music genre in Jamaica.

Bob Marley did not only sing about changes, he is an inspiration because he tried to implement changes, especially in Jamaican politics. The Jamaican political rivalry was something very prevalent during Marley’s era, and because of this, he tried to promote peace through his music amongst the rivalry supporter of the two political parties in the country. Though he was preaching peace and unity the work didn’t come without some sort of risk. This sort of work didn’t come without risk. He often spoke about revolutions politically and socially. In Jamaica he wanted to have a concert for unity between political party supporters, he even held a concert in Kingston to help promote unity.

Marley’s devotion to his music and his Rastafarian belief could be identified in his performances. His philosophy was frequently expressed through his songs, which mainly focused on love, peace, equality and his spirituality. Because of his passion, many people were influenced by the positivity emphasized in his music, especially those from Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. Bob Marley played an important role in society not only in music but in his belief of unity and equality amongst all races. His song ‘Buffalo Soldier’ was an anthem for many Africans during their times of suffering and racial injustices.

The work of Bob Marley is interpreted as something very important especially for black people and Africans, this is because he spoke about moral values and unity. As a role model to many, Bob Marley lived his life believing fear would hinder him from accomplishing his goals of making peace. His main aim during his musical career was peace and he though doing such work at that time would influence peace in the future. Not scared of what was to come for him only wanting to make peace in the future by acting in the present.

Rastafarianism is a religion developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, this was greatly influenced by Jamaican nationalist, Marcus Garvey. Garvey said that there was a black king who would be crowned in Africa and black people should look him. Bob Marley helped to spread the message of Rastafari through his music because like Garvey, he believed that there was redemption in Africa for Rastafarians. Ethiopia was recognized as the true Zion and Haile Selassie was identified as their king. They believed in smoking marijuana as a part of the religion and this may be why Bob Marley is mostly recognized as the face of marijuana by some across the world, especially in America.

Zimbabwe formerly known as Southern-Rhodesia is one of the African countries where Bob Marley is greatly appreciated and has been recognized for his revolutionary work. In 1980 when they were given independence from Great-Britain the country celebrated the end to their decades of unjust control and cruelty with a concert with Bob as the headline performer. The venue that the concert was held was filled to capacity so he decided to perform a second day for those unable to attend the day before. Bob Marley has a song titled ‘Zimbabwe’.

Bob Marley did not only contribute to reggae music’s popularity on the world stage but he also paved a way for African artists and their music. Many have praised him for his work. Some African people even mention that Jamaican do not appreciate Bob Marley the way they should for the work he has done for reggae music.

Bob Marley has impacted the world through his music and even though it has been three decades since his death he can still be identified as the John Phillip Sousa of reggae because of his hard work and dedication in Jamaica and Africa. His music has appealed to people of all race, cultures, nationalities, and ethnicity.

Some people may look at Bob Marley as a hero because of the mere fact of his bravery, during a time when segregation was a major factor in the world. He was not only singing and dancing on stage but he was practicing what he was preaching. Bob Marley can be an inspiration to a lot of people because he rose from the slums of Trenchtown to having a statue of himself in Zimbabwe. His commitment to peace and equality was second to none. His music is and will always be food for the soul. He made a change in Jamaica during a time when the political rivalry was driven by violence. Robert Nesta Marley’s legacy will always be one to look up to.

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Reggae music and Bob Marley. (2019, Jun 22). Retrieved from