I had the opportunity to catch a screening of the new Bob Marley Documentary and I feel so inspired. There aren’t many artists like Bob who have the courage to go against the status quo. There aren’t many artists that don’t separate themselves from the community and the people they came from. There aren’t many artists who make timeless and universal music that vibrates on a higher spectrum. If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch the new documentary about Bob Marley’s life, you must make time for it. It is just as transformative as his music. Here are some things that resonated with me…
1. “The stone that the builder refuse will always be the head cornerstone.” The documentary talked about how Bob’s father was a white German (named Marley) who had a construction company in Jamaica. He was known as “Captain Marley.” Both Bob and his mother only saw Captain (Norval) Marley a few times and there was even one account of Bob going to request money and being denied and told he doesn’t look anything like his father… In searching for validation for himself, he was able to connect to that internal pain in others.
2. Note to self: Learn more about Rastafarianism. I don’t know much about it, but I was intrigued by how the religion inspired Bob and the people of Jamaica.
3. Bob wanted to connect to African Americans and was troubled by their absence in his audiences. He had created an international name for himself and only then, after agreeing to open up for the Commodores, was he able to start creating a buzz amongst African Americans.
4. Bob performed during Zimbabwe’s Independence Celebration and after tear gas was sprayed into the crowd and other members of his band exited the stage he continued to play. This was one of the moments in the film that made me cry.
5. Bob did not get regular check-ups. He had cancer in his entire body which lead to his death at the age of 36.
6. Bob was a man of the people. His home was treated as almost a community center and in that same home someone attempted to kill him due to political conflict in the country.
7. Bob hosted a concert to unite Jamaica which had two warring factions (The PNP and the JNP). He was able to get the leaders of both sides to join hands on stage.
I could go on and on, but the Marley Film was just a reminder for me that we all have the opportunity to change the life of someone else. For some of us it can be within our own individual families – first generation college students, ending the cycle of teen pregnancy, or avoiding hereditary illnesses. For others of us it can be on a massive scale – the election of President Barack Obama, the work of Dr. King or Malcolm X and in Bob Marley’s case – the ministry of music. I cried at the end of the film because of Bob’s integrity and commitment to healing the ills of the world. When he stopped pursuing the desires of his ego – his desire to escape Jamaica, money and fame, he was able to achieve all of those things.