The Life, Legend, and Lyricism of Bob Marley
Mindlessly flipping through wall posters at a music store, I arrive at a tri-colored collage of a dread-locked artist. The largest image, his profile, consumes the top two-thirds of the poster. With his face turned to the right, and he sets his gaze upon something in the distance. With furrowed eyebrows, he appears to be discontent with whatever is in his view. Below his face are three more photographs of the man. To the left, he is aggressively playing a guitar; in the center, he wears the guitar and extends his right arm. To the right, he cries into a microphone with his head tilted back. On the price tag, I read and remember his name. Bob Marley, I say aloud to myself as I turn to the next poster. But I am still reviewing his profile in my mind. Yes, he is that Jamaican singer. Reggae. Is he not that singer rather infamous for smoking marijuana? Is he still alive? As I stand there thinking about it, it becomes clear that I have more questions than answers about Bob Marley. One question in particular drives me to research this character: How did he earn international reverence and renown? Robert Nesta Marley ushered reggae from the Jamaican slums to the world stage. His rhythms would rock the body while his lyrics lit the soul, but the man himself had a humble beginning. Bob Marley was born February 6, 1945 to Cedella Booker and Norval Marley. Cedella and Norval had married the previous year from different social groups; he was a white, naval captain, and she was a poor, black girl of seventeen. Captain Marley’s parents strongly disapproved of the union and encouraged their son in his decision to abandon his household when Marley was still an infant. Harassed because of his light skin, biracial Bob Marley quit school and apprenticed himself to a welder at age fourteen. He was hostile toward the education system in Jamaica, which he accused of teaching only European history and ideals. Said Marley...
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