A Rastaman First & a Legend Second
Author: Sankofa Aya
Many articles written about Nesta Robert Marley focus on the number of albums sold, his weed-smoking, and his financial legacy as an artist. However, few articles are written about his message and the impact he’s had on the human race. More importantly, less is said of the power and the magnitude of self-confidence, amour-propre and Black Pride that Bob Marley evokes and wakens out of the Afreekhan Race.
Bob Marley was a spiritual warrior whose work is still educating and enlightening the world. His passion was expressed through his music. He preached on the invaluable strength one gains through Faith, the limitless bliss one can experience through Love, the reality and truth of Spiritual WarFare. He missioned on the need for Spiritual Attunement and the intrinsic or authentic Self-Identification. Equality, Iniquities, Injustice, Unification - he knew without conscious awareness of these social mores the human race will never attain Peace.
The impressive two-disc album Rastaman Vibration was recorded in late 1975 and released on April 30th, 1976; it was the eighth studio album by Bob Marley and the Wailers. This album features several iconic tracks, one of which is Positive Vibration, in which he makes it clear, “If you get down and you quarrel every day, you’re saying prayers to the devil I say, why not help one another on the way, make it much easier.” He continues to say, “Say you just can’t live that negative way, make way for the positive day, ‘cause it’s news, news and days, new time, and if it’s a new feelin’, said it’s a new sign, oh what a new day.” He begs for the world to see the error of their ways and to move toward living a just and respectful life. On that same album, he and the Wailers record the track appropriately entitled - War. This entire track gives credence and respect to Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who ruled Ethiopia from 1928 to 1974. Bob Marley quoted a speech from Emperor Haile Selassie I because he knew through music, he could immortalize the Emperor’s wisdom and educate the masses:
“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, well everywhere is War. And until there’s no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, and Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, I’ve got to say War. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regards to race, me say War. ‘Cause until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained, well everywhere is War!”
And what have we seen over the course of our lives? War and civil unrest. Inequalities persist as does hatred.
Because of these reasons, countless interviews, tracks, and lyrics, Bob Marley is considered to be a humble prophet. Bob has changed more lives through his music than most who are coronated in religious and political parties. He took pleasure in teaching the teachings of the Most High through his lyrics. If you are not an avid reader of the Bible, but you can sing these Reggae tunes, chances are you’ve been quoting the Bible without knowing so.
Like most Blacks who defend spiritual laws and human rights, an assassination attempt was made on Bob’s life in 1976, ironically the same year the Rastaman Vibration album was released. Don Taylor, stepped in front of him and took the bullet. His manager saved his life when the seven gunmen broke into his home. Two years after the attempt, in 1978, the United Nations gave Bob Marley the Peace Medal of the Third World for all of his work and for being a voice of political justice for Jamaica and the Afreekhan people. In his acceptance speech, he talked about Rastafari and said, “You need to listen to God.”
“Jah Love, Jah Love, Protect us!” - Positive Vibrations - Bob Marley