KINGSON, Jamaica, CMC – Last week, Jamaica celebrated the 70th birthday of its late Reggae icon, Bob Marley, with Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, reminding nationals of the need to “Get Up, Stand up” for their rights.
“Bob Marley was a musical giant, whose voice in the wilderness rang out loud and strong during a very difficult time in our national and global journey,” she said in a message to mark the occasion.
She said, as the country reflects on Marley’s birthday, it is fitting that Jamaica is celebrating it “at the same time that we are observing Reggae Month under the theme: “The Journey is the Destination”.
“As we reflect on the amazing journey of Reggae Music over the years, we are mindful that, in keeping with our history, we must Get Up, Stand Up for our rights,” she said, adding “the ‘legendary’ Bob Marley represents us as a people of great strength, endless talent, creative genius, and advocates against oppression and injustice.
“Bob Marley’s philosophies live on among us. His music has remained the eternal conscience of our nation and the world,” she said, adding “so much of Bob Marley’s work continues to carry the profound message of National Hero…Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who taught us that “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
“As a global icon, Bob Marley transcended local issues. He was a global ‘buffalo soldier’, but one rooted in what has come to be known as Jamaican ‘livity’; that uplifting way of being which is uniquely Jamaican, and had always been the inspiration for his positive message-music.”
Across Jamaica, many radio stations were blaring Marley’s music and the debate continued as to his influence not only on Jamaica, but the Rastafarian movement of which he was a member.
Marley died in 1981 from cancer at the age of 36. He had several hits including “Redemption Song”, “Is this Love”, “Stir it Up”, “Babylon System” and “Turn Your Lights Down Low”.
Marley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and his album “Exodus” was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine.