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“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” – Bob Marley
Bob Marley (1945 – 1981) was an iconic international superstar from Jamaica who helped popularized reggae music and sold more than 20 million records. He’s considered as the first worldwide celebrity who hailed from the so-called Third World. Known as the reggae legend, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Among his other posthumous recognitions is The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
Although he died at a very young age of 36 from cancer, his legacy in music, fashion, politics, and cultured transcend time and boundaries. Most importantly, his philosophies against prejudice and violence still reverberate. Growing up in Jamaica, he was derogatorily nicknamed “White Boy” for the lighter tone of his skin as the son of a white British naval captain. This experience of racial bullying helped him develop his philosophy that says, “I’m not on the white man’s side, or the black man’s side. I’m on God’s side.”
When his original band The Wailers disbanded after gaining international success, Marley took center stage as songwriter, rhythm guitarist, and singer with his new band. This allowed him to freely produce politically charged albums with lyrics reflecting keen social consciousness. Using his songs as medium for social change, he transformed into something more than a reggae singer: an influential cultural icon. Inevitably, he became a target for assassination, which only heightened his legend status and motivated him to produce the most militant albums of his career.