Our Readers' Opinions
February 18, 2005

Bob Marley Lives

EDITOR: Bob Marley was quite prophetic in one of his many songs called “Bad Card” when he declared “You ah go tired fi see mi face, can’t get mi out of de race.”

Indeed, the current Bob Marley celebrations occurring around the world this February are testimony to this prophecy, his life and work. It is also a reflection of the great contributions and potential of our Caribbean civilization and the power of our creative resources residing in all of us.{{more}}

His music has reached all regions of the world with a force rarely seen. Millions of people see Bob Marley as a fearless and honest advocate of the oppressed, exploited and the downtrodden and show their appreciation to him and his legacy in many ways.

Bob Marley was born February 6, 1945, in Nine Miles in the rural parish of St. Ann, Jamaica. He would have been 60 years old this year. To mark his 60th birthday, celebrations are taking place in many countries.

For example, Ethiopia will host celebrations in honour of Bob Marley organized under the theme – “Africa Unite”. The African Union (similar to CARICOM), the Ethiopian Government, the United Nations Children Fund, Rita Marley Foundation and the Bob Marley Foundation are the main supporters and organizers of these celebrations, which will cost US$1 million.

It is estimated that about 500,000 people will participate in the celebrations.

One of the major events of the celebrations is a massive concert in Addis Abba, the capital of Ethiopia. Performing at this concert are some great African singers and musicians such as: Angelique Kidjo, Babaa Maal, Youssou N’Dour and Teddy Afro. The I-Threes (Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt), who were Bob Marley’s harmony singers, will also perform.

For the entire 2005, Jamaica will celebrate Bob Marley’s 60th birthday. Jamaica’s independence celebrations this year will pay tribute to him. The theme for the year long celebrations is “The Legend Lives”.

The activities will include: Bob Marley Natural Mystic – The Legend Lives On concert; Annual Jamaica Day under the theme “Nation-Builders Celebrating Bob Marley”; Culture Expo 2005; The Ministers Gala; Violence Free Day on February 6th (Marley’s birthday) and the One Love concert.

These are of course just a few of the celebratory activities.

Jamaica has not allowed the legacy of Marley to be forgotten.

In Jamaica, there are many places and events that are keeping his legacy alive such as: Bob Marley statues; Bob Marley Museum, in Kingston; Trenchtown Cultural Yard; Reggae Xplosion Museum in Ocho Rios; Nine Miles, in St. Ann; Tuff Gong Recording Studio in Kingston and many more.

Indeed, Marley has left us great treasures. Over 150 albums have been released showcasing his songs. Many of the shows he performed in were sold out. He has also received numerous awards and honours for his contribution to humanity and cultural history. Jamaica honoured him with the Order of Merit; the United Nations awarded him the medal of peace; the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the United States honoured him with a lifetime achievement award, and he has a presence in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bob was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Billboard Magazine honoured him with Artiste of the 20th Century. His Legend album won him the Diamond Award; BBC selected his One Love song as Anthem of the 20th Century and Time Magazine also honoured his legacy by selecting his Exodus album as the best album of the 20th century.

For sure, Bob Marley was a man with a profound mission. In his song “So Many Things To Say”, he confessed “But I and I don’t come to fight down flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness in high and low places”. And in his song “Coming in from the Cold”, he asked: “Would you make the system get into your head, would you let the system make you kill your brother man?”

Bob Marley, I say to you: thanks for your hard work, your vision, your commitment and your productivity.

Maxwell Haywood