Bob Marley: The Lyrical Advocate

Many of us while living our lives feel strongly about particular issues and raise awareness, whether it be through the arts, forums or the media. Unfortunately, in our plight to let these issues be known, we at times become violent and cloud the idea we envisioned. The results of this shows that, people already know, didn’t know or did not know how to start and in the end feel encouraged to support the cause. Throughout this venture to raise awareness about the issue, we learn that not all persons will agree with our reasoning.

Robert Nesta Marley who was inspired by Rastafari, stood for social change and with his words stirred the pockets of a deeper consciousness with lyrics such as

Open your eyes and look within: Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)?  -Exodus

How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?- Redemption Song

Words such as these made ‘The Gong’ held in high esteem today. Even years after, his legacy lives on; whether it be through his music, his quotes, his images and let’s not forget his children who are taking the name to higher levels.

The One Love Peace concert, was one such event that made people reconsider their actions due to the political unrest that took place between the two parties People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the seventies. During the concert he called the then Prime Minister Michael Manley; leader of the PNP and Opposition leader Edward Seaga for the JLP to the stage for them to shake hands. Later that year he was presented with the United Nations Peace Medal of the Third World. It was there in his speech that he said

“Them gonna follow the example we set. When we come together the whole world gonna look and seh ‘It can be done.”

Jamaica has been fortunate to have other lyrical advocates such as Buju Banton, Peter Tosh and I’ll even add Vybz Kartel. For the latter, he mentioned during his interview in 2011 on the popular Jamaican show  On Stage that “the people have the power”…. now if he was able to notice that and use it to his advantage, why shouldn’t we for all the right reasons?

“If you believe you can make a difference, not just in politics, in public service, in advocacy around all these important issues, then you have to be prepared to accept that you are not going to get 100 percent approval”- Hilary Clinton

Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, Bree Newsome, Bram Fischer, Michael J Fox and Nelson Mandela are all people that decided to make a change in their society because they were not comfortable with the situations present at the time. These people were not perfect, but they received help from others who also shared these views to create the change they wanted to see.

We all have the charge to make things better for ourselves and for those in our society. Don’t feel intimidated by the work that is out there, with confidence, optimism and and open mind you can achieve what you want. Express yourself in whatever way you can, Bob Marley did it through song and it reached millions.

Even if it is a tweet; DO IT. You’ll be surprised at who is paying attention.