When thinking of reggae music, a lot of people normally think of Bob Marley. He was born in Jamaica in 1945 and died in 1981 due to cancer.
His name still remains relevant, well-known and evergreen, even 40-plus years later. With his album “Legend” selling an estimated 25 million copies worldwide since 2012, Marley’s effect on the world of music is prevalent even so long after his death.
So what did Marley do for the world of music? To understand his music, you have to know his background. Marley was born and raised in Jamaica which had experience 200 years of slavery and colonialism. This is important to not just his environment and things he experienced but it made things more complicated for him. Additionally, his father was white and his mother was black, making him multiracial or biracial. The topic of his ethnicity, religious beliefs and home town is an obvious reason why Marley is who he is.
If there are three areas that played a part in shaping Marley the musician, it would have to be his experience of racism as a mixed-race person, his life in the slums of Kingston’s Trenchtown and his Rastafarian beliefs. All three factors have combined to make Marley the so-called superstar that he is still known as today.The Conversation by Stewart Maganga
Marley and his musical message
Marley’s entertainment career wasn’t just for entertainment; he often used to spread the message of Rastafari. A religious and political movement founded in the 1930s, Rastafari brought many groups from around the world together. It is a combination of Protestant Christianity, mysticism and a pan-African political consciousness. This is the main effect Marley had on the world of music.
It so happened that on November 2, 1930, Tafari Makonnen was crowned emperor of Ethiopia under his baptismal name, Haile Selassie. Rastafari was derived from Haile Selassie’s name – it is a conflation of Ras, the title given to Amharic royalty in Ethiopia, and Tafari, his pre-coronation name.The Conversation by Stewart Maganga
This was something different for Marley’s time. He worked so hard to spread a message he believed in and thought others would benefit from.
Through his music, people from around the globe came to embrace Rastafari. Marley’s music helped push the goal of Rastafarian philosophy, making it seen globally. It is now estimated that there are 1 million followers around the world. Also, many scholars use his music in teaching the global phenomenon and teachings of Rastafari.
Without these key influences, Rastafari would not be widely known as it is today. Bob Marley’s effect on the world of music didn’t just reach music — it reached religious groups and politicians.
Marley and his effect on music today
Although Marley died over 40 years ago, the things he experienced are not far off from what we experience today. Our world now lives in distrust and dishonesty. However, Marley often spoke about the human condition and used his music as a way to communicate his beliefs.
The human condition is an interesting and complicated political theory written by Hannah Ardent. Again, it is a theory in which human experiences shape human society.
What makes Marley stand out and keeps his music timeless is the message within it. He often writes about kindness and unity, for example his song “One Love” from 1977. But he also writes about suffering and brings light to these life experiences that many would deem traumatizing or hurtful.
Marley’s music will forever be evergreen because humankind will always have war. The want for unity is universal as well, but it is unachievable because someone must always be at power.
Many can relate to Marley’s cry for love and compassion but few will try to change the world around them. It’ll take generations to change the way the world works and even then its a repeating cycle of war.
Bob Marley’s effect on the world of music will always be prevalent and evergreen to the world of music we know today. He introduced politics and religious diversity into music before anyone made it a trend. Marley will always be known for generations and years to come.
Marley’s background of being a biracial child in a time of segregation and turning into a Third Culture Adult (TCA) gave him something very few people have. He had experience in all different aspects of life; this is what made his music connect with everyone around the globe.
Bob Marley is and will always be evergreen.