The Greatest Activist Musician in History: Bob Marley

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bob marley Ueli Frey cc the greatest activist musician in history: bob marley

DEC 2, 2013 – I watched the new Magnolia Pictures film "Marley" about the life of reggae music artist Bob Marley on VH1 Palladia on my DVR over the weekend, and it was awesome. The director, Kevin MacDonald, takes you on a journey to really let you know who the man was behind the music you know so well. I have always had respect and admiration for Bob Marley and what he accomplished in his short life, but after seeing this film I realized he was in my opinion the greatest activist musician ever. From handing out wads of cash to any poor person who would wander into his villa, to getting the two political candidates running for office in the violent and deadly 1970s Jamaican politics to hold hands and call for peace between the two sides on stage at one of his concerts, he was truly an outstanding individual.

Bob had a unique perspective on life, being born as a so-called "mix-raced" child. His father, Norval Marley, was European, who had a brief affair with Cedella Booker. His father never played a role in his life, and the rejection hurt Bob and he wrote the song "Cornerstone" with the lyrics, "The stone that the builder refuse, will always be the head cornerstone…" that many believe he was referencing to. He eventually discovered music, and formed "The Wailers" and became hugely popular and successful in Jamaica. Bob wanted to spread the word of Reggae, love and spirituality through his music, and make it accessible for the entire world. So, he set up a new band called "Bob Marley and the Wailers", and like a preacher on a revival tour he took the world by storm. Whirling on stage like a wizard or a priest, he captivated millions of people all over the world with his great music and message of hope and love. He still affects millions of people's lives to this day. 

When the 1970s politics got violent and deadly, Bob cooperated with the Jamaican government and held a "Peace Concert" and stopped the bloodshed. He held another peace concert in Zimbabwe when they got their independence, being attacked with tear gas while on stage. He spoke about activism many times in his songs such as "Get Up, Stand Up", but he seemed to me not a person that wanted to take sides, he just wanted everyone to work out things peacefully and just get along. His main message was get active and get involved in non-violent action and "Stand up for your rights"; like registering to vote and voting. Watch this great film "Marley" from Magnolia pictures (the trailer is below) and I think you will agree he is an amazing person, and deserves the title of "Greatest Activist Musician of All Time". It is making the rounds on VH1 Palladia and Netflix, or you can order the Blu-Ray or DVD at the official film's site here.  (photo credit: Ueli Frey/CC)

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