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Marley, Bob (1945–1981)

Joseph Wilson

Subject History
Cultural Studies » Culture

Place The Caribbean » Jamaica

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics apartheid, bibliography, freedom, music, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00983.x


Jamaican-born Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley (1945–81) was the twentieth century's foremost Reggae artist – singer, composer, musician, and bandleader of the Wailers. He became a global cultural icon and leading proponent of African and Afro-Caribbean liberation from colonial domination and apartheid. Thousands of musicians, on an international basis, have performed and rerecorded renditions of his classic songs of struggle and salvation. He popularized the characteristic braided African hair style called dreadlocks and consumption of ganja in large “spliffs” – in connection with the Rastafarian religion. He was bi-racial and experienced racial contradictions attributed to having a white father and black mother, growing up in Trenchtown, Jamaica. He espoused Pan-African philosophy and was directly influenced by Marcus Garvey, the deification of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, the Old Testament, and partisanship with the poor and oppressed. Along with his group the Wailers, he gave voice to the sigh of the oppressed, while encouraging African unity and resistance to oppression. His meteoric rise to stardom and radical politics made him one of the most influential popular musicians in the world during the latter part of the twentieth century. Marley was the preeminent force in the proliferation of Reggae music from Jamaica's shanty towns to the global stage. He won numerous recording ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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