“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright” are lyrics sung by a man that has influenced not only me in my life, but other music artists from around the world. Bob Marley’s music historically and currently affects people’s insight on unity. On February 6, 1945, Robert Nesta Marley was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Bob’s mother was Afro-Jamaican and his father was a white man from England, who never saw Bob. Bob was raised in Kingston, Jamaica, the capital and ghetto of Jamaica. There, he lived a life filled with poverty and violence, along with receiving much racial prejudice for his mixed race. Marley is inspirational because of his songs about peace, love, and unity.
Although his upbringing was rough, he took a positive outlook on life. The majority of Bob Marley’s songs deal with love and peace. At the time of Bob’s debuting music in Jamaica, Jamaica was a political and civil unrest. His 1963 song, “Simmer Down” was written to remind the “rude boys” (Jamaican thugs) to be more peaceful – one lyric even states, “control your temper”. Another lyric state, “And you know you bound to suffer”. This was to let the rude boys know that if they don’t calm down that the police would have to step in and take control of the situation. Bob always encouraged his people to decrease the violence and increase the unity against the corrupt government. At times, Bob also had conflicts with the government, mainly because of his Rastafarian faith.
Although most people think that Rastafarian’s are just a bunch of potheads, they are much more than that. The Rastafarian faith believes in organic eating, being one with the earth, and worshipping “Jah” (the living God). They also believe in Jesus Christ as being reincarnated as the emperor of Ethiopia (King Haile Selassie, the first). A lot of Bob Marley songs praise Jah, so he was a very religious man. Many people who aren’t even Rastafarian find spiritual enlightenment in his music. Around the 1970’s, Bob music became extremely popular and successful in promoting his ideals of peace and love.
During the 70’s there was much political contention in Jamaica. Bob’s popularity was so widespread that he was asked to perform at a concert put on by one of the warring political parties. Bob agreed to perform at this concert (the One Love Peace Concert) in an effort to calm warring parties. A couple of days before the concert Bob and several others were shot at in his residence. The would-be assassins fled into the night thinking they had killed Bob Marley and stopped the concert from happening. They were wrong. Not only did he survive the attack, he still performed at the concert (despite doctor’s orders). After Bob’s performance, the two warring political rivals shook hands on stage at Bob’s request. It was Bob’s dream to unite all Africans together and stop the senseless violence.
Bob’s “Africa Unite” emphasized just that, the unity of all African people because “how good and pleasant it would be before God and man to see the unification of all Africans”. Another song, “Zimbabwe”, was so influential that it became the unofficial national anthem for Zimbabwe after they won their independence from England. After a while Bob started felling sick. He went to the Doctor’s office and found out that he had skin cancer. There are some conspiracy-theories out their, that believe the U.S. government gave Bob cancer. They believe that the U.S. government was afraid of Bob and the influences he had on people.
After his death on May 11, 1981 (the age 36 from cancer), Bob’s music continued its popularity and spread internationally. He is still known for his influential reggae music and is credited for spreading reggae music world-wide and also for his message of unity, peace, and love. No matter where you go all over the world, his legacy lives on. In fact, three years after Bob’s death, his best selling album, Legend, is still reggae’s best selling album and went platinum 10 times in America. This album also has sold 20 million copies worldwide. There is a statue in Kingston, Jamaica of Bob Marley which honors his legend and legacy he left for his country. His burial sight, which is also in Jamaica, receives countless visitors from all over the world.
In conclusion Bob was one of the most inspirational artists of our time. His songs about peace, love, and unity still influence people today. Every time that I’m in a bad mood, I just turn on some Bob and my mood changes foe the better. I think that this is true for a lot of people.