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We Are All Bob Marley

Leah Gillis   in  ·
February 6, 2016

We all have Bob Marley in us, that’s why he touched so many. That part of us that loves to feel good and inspire peace and unity and love in others, and knows every little thing is gonna be all right. And on this, his birthday, it’s high time (pun totally intended) we all engage the Bob Marley in each of us as the world desperately needs it.

Here’s what I mean.

Clearly not everyone can be Bob Marley, rock star, so what can this man who grew up with no father, poor in Jamaica mean, especially for blacks worldwide, almost 35 years after his death?

In short: everything.

Equally called a spiritual and civil rights leader, his lyrics are written on teens Facebook pages and quoted by world leaders for their simple wisdom and love. The American Dream is something everyone aspires to but he did it – in Jamaica. And I think that’s part of why his light shined so bright, everyone loves an against the odds success story.

And it’s also why his amazing legacy of achievement and one-loveness is also searing indictment of all the world seems to be losing. Could you be loved?

Bob Marley would easily make a Top 10 musicians list of the 20th Century, and could top it. Loved, more like obsessively revered, the world over Jamaica’s favorite son became the world’s most beloved musician, poet and philosopher, teaching generations since he left that we can be love.

“Three Little Birds,” “One Love,” “Stir It Up,” you read those words and the tunes come to mind. The talented man from Nine Mile, Jamaica, famously laid his head on pillow rock for inspiration, and his wealth of material is proof that indeed he was given something special.

Marley allowed the space between people to dissolve, you listen to his music and you feel united with the world, in love with life and all people.

No less popular with people that don’t speak English, his music’s popularity the world over serves as a powerful antidote to the harsh realities of everyday life, particularly in his native Jamaica plagued by poverty and corruption. This great man makes everyday life not only bearable, but a party.

And so, what is it that we each can do to bring this unity and joy and peace to the world? What is our contribution to better the world? Where is our own pillow rock? On this day, imagine if we all seek to find it, and then live it?

An era of growth and prosperity and being change agents is what’s on tap worldwide – and happening. Whether it’s preserving lands and nature in South Africa and Uganda and Madagsacar, or staking a claim in the mobile business market around Africa, or creating new forms of communication, especially blacks worldwide should pause to reflect on the legend that was Bob Marley, who, with love in his heart and no malice towards the institutional inequities he was born into, with his famous smile brought the world to its knees, creating unity with his work.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;

None but ourselves can free our minds.

Have no fear for atomic energy,

‘Cause none of them can stop the time.”

We all are Bob Marley, having something special we can do that no one else can. And on this day, along with singing to his amazing music and pondering his love-inspiring lyrics, maybe we should all look to how we can come together and feel alright. That can be our redemption song. What a gift to this legend who gave us all so much love and good times.


Photo: Courtesy Jason H. Smith/Flickr


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