The Dreadlocks Man: Bob Marley

bob-marley-Nobody really knows what the word “reggae” means or how it originated. But the fact remains that through Bob Marley, reggae music, and the reggae colors (red, yellow, green and black) that were derived from his country’s flag remains everywhere through the years.

Nesta Robert Marley OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981), more widely and commonly known as Bob Marley, was a Jamaican singer – songwriter, musician, and activist. When he reached his teens, he left the town of St. Ann (where he was born) and managed to live by his own in Trench Town. A low – income community comprised of squatter – settlements and government yard developments that housed a minimum of four families; Bob Marley quickly learned to defend himself against Trench Town’s rude boys and bad men. Bob’s frightening street-fighting skills earned him the respectful nickname Tuff Gong.

Despite the poverty, despair and various unpleasant activities that sustained some ghetto occupants, Trench Town was also a culturally rich community where Bob Marley’s abundant musical talents were nurtured.

He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the Ska, Rocksteady and reggae band Bob Marley & The Wailers. Bob Marley was the most widely known writer and performer of reggae genre, and more specifically roots reggae. He is famous for popularizing the genre outside of Jamaica. And until now, Bob Marley remains the most widely known and honored performer of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.  Much of his music dealt with the struggles of the spiritually wealthy rasta and/or spiritually powerful Jah Rastafari (God’s chosen king on earth).Bob-Marley-4

Just a fact, the Rastafari movement, Rasta, is a spiritual movement; encompasses themes such as the spiritual use of cannabis (marijuana) and the rejection of western society. On the other side, the letters OM beside his name means Jamaican Order Merit. It is the fourth highest honor conferred by the nation of Jamaica. Information for more understanding, Ska is a local interpretation of American soul and R&B, with an irresistible accent on the offbeat, Ska exerted a widespread influence on the poor Jamaican youth while offering a welcomed escape from their otherwise harsh realities. Within the growing Jamaican music industry, the hard to pin down tempt of stardom was now a solid goal for many ghetto youths.

Bob Marley’s music was heavily influenced by the social issues of his homeland, and he is considered to have given a voice to the specific political and cultural connection of Jamaica. His best – known hits include “I Shot the Sheriff”, “No Woman, No Cry”, “Could You Be Loved”, “Get Up Stand Up”, “Redemption Song”, “One Love” and, “Three Little Birds”. According to my research, the compilation album Legend was released three years after his death. It is reggae’s best – selling album, going ten times Platinum which is also known as one Diamond in the U.S.

Bob Marley was a member of this Rastafari movement whose culture was a key element in the development of reggae. Bob Marley became the leading proponent of the Rastafari, taking their music out of socially deprived areas of Jamaica and onto the international music scene.

Now considered a “Rasta” prophet, Marley’s adoption of the characteristic Rastafarian dreadlocks and famous use of marijuana as a sacred sacrament in the late sixties were an integral part of his persona. He is said to have entered every performance proclaiming the divinity of Jah Rastafari.

A few months before his death, Marley was baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and took the name Berhane Selassie (meaning the Light of the Holy Trinity in Amharic).

Bob Marley died because of cancer that had spread throughout his body. Bob Marley was the Third World’s first pop superstar. He was the man who introduced the world to the mystic power of reggae. He was a true rocker at heart and that’s the main reason why he is still alive in the hearts of people who truly idolized him, like me.



6 thoughts on “The Dreadlocks Man: Bob Marley

  1. Awesome. Why do people associate him with weed and not with all the activism he was into? How he stood up for his people and humanity? THAT’S the wonder of this man, not that he smoked.

    “No woman no cry one” of my favorite song from him.


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