Bob Marley's messages still resonate
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Feb. 6, 2013, would have been the 68th birthday of one Robert Nesta Marley, Brother Bob. I feel safe declaring I do not have to explain who he was. In the centuries to come when they discuss music, his name and his songs will be known. He is an international legend and icon.
When he was alive and after his death, he has done collaborations with some of the biggest artists in the business. He was a member of one of music's most famous and respected bands in music history. His greatness as a musician cannot be questioned or denied.
If you want to know the details of Bob's life and greatness, you can get all you can handle from a wide variety of sources in pretty much any format you can think of. What connects him to Black History Month is not his skin color or his birth date or his story. The connection is because he, probably more than any other artist, has provided our people with a soundtrack to a revolution that is fought with our minds and hearts.
His songs gave us the words to launch not only real revolutions against governments of repression, but also personal revolutions against our inner demons and insecurities.
At a time when it was almost life-threatening to do so, he sang songs of fire and rebellion.
"Africa Unite/Unite for the benefit of your people/Unite, for it's later than you think."
He gave us warnings and advice.
"They made their world so hard/Every day we got to keep on fighting."
"Don't forget your history; Know your destiny: In the abundance of water/The fool is thirsty."
"Your worst enemy could be your best friend/And your best friend your worst enemy."
He reminded us of why we had to fight so hard.
"Every man got a right to decide his own destiny. We'll 'ave to fight (we gon' fight), fighting for our rights!"
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds."
"They keep us hungry/And when you gonna get some food/ Your brother got to be your enemy."
He told our enemies and oppressors that we would not go silent.
"We refuse to be what you wanted us to be; Rebel, rebel!"
"We gonna be burning and a-looting tonight; (to survive, yeah!)."
"So now we see the light (what you gonna do?)/We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)."
"If you are the big tree, let me tell you that/We are the small axe, sharp and ready."
"Them belly full but we hungry/A hungry mob is an angry mob."
He warned us away from false prophets and weak leaders.
"And if night should turn to day, now/A lot of people would run away."
"To divide and rule could only tear us apart; So soon we'll find out who is the real revolutionaries."
"Now you look me with that scorn, Then you eat up all my corn."
"It's not all that glitters is gold; 'alf the story has never been told."
"No weak heart shall prosper."
He held up a mirror to the injustices in our society and dared the world to blink.
"That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race - Dis a war."
"cause puss and dog they get together: What's wrong with loving one another?"
"It takes a revolution (revolution) to make a solution."
More than anything, Bob Marley's music sought to light a fire in each of us to bring the light to the darkness. He empowered each of us with his lyrics to be our own salvation.
"Open your eyes and look within: Are you satisfied with the life you're living? We know where we're going; We know where we're from."
"Keep your culture: Don't be afraid of the vulture!"
"Let righteousness cover the earth/Like the water cover the sea."
"Yes, we're the survivors, like Daniel out of the lions' den."
"Don't bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality, yeah!"
Bob was and is our voice. He helps us tell our story, make our declarations and Live Up!
- Mariel Blake writes a weekly column for The Daily News.