Bob Marley: 6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981
I can’t believe it’s been 30 years ago since our musical prophet died. I grew up with his music in my formative years in Jamaica. His music brought pride and clarity to my teenage years. His music brought wisdom and calm to my adult life. I have passed this legacy onto my son.
In honor to the memory of Oscar Grant…
When I was a part of the Uhuru Movement here in Oakland Ca, back in the late 1980s, I was introduced to alot of powerful protest music, and most of it was Roots Reggae. I was already familiar with Bob Marley, since his hit Roots, Rock, Reggae was played “on the R and B” here in California, U.S. But I started getting a fuller understanding of the power of this roots music as I was exposed to other artists. This black liberation music taught me alot about who I am and the struggle that I find myself in. It also taught me that I and all black people should be involved in the fight. Get in where you fit in!
There was one album that stood out for me. It was titled, “Liberation” by Bunny Wailer, who was one of the original members of Bob Marley and the Wailers. In the beginning they were simply called The Wailers. But stuff happens, and eventually they separated and Bob Marley became the most well known and famous of the three, which included Peter Tosh.
Every song on the Liberation album is powerful and spoke to our struggle as black people! I especially like “Rise and Shine”. The song is classic for the bassline intro alone, but the beginning chant (lyrics below) along with that powerful bassline ought to move you! I remember how this music encouraged me and propelled me to continue struggling for black liberation and my own mental freedom!
I’m wondering, is this type of powerful liberation music still being made anymore?
This is the cry of a people
who were robbed and raped from their homeland
and their loved ones.
A people stripped of their culture,
their dignity, their liberty and their rights
and by the cruel and presumptuous
hands of the colonial and imperialistics slavers
were cargoed into the west,
where for over 400 years they have toiled and laboured,
and with their blood, their sweat, them tears and hands
they have built the great city of Babylon,
only to be paid with the wages of the taskmaster’s whip,
torture and death. continue
Then the lyrics to Bunny’s song “Ready When You Ready” is another powerful one, speaking directly to the people about revolution of the shitstem.
Mi ready when you ready fi go chant down Babylon, dutty system.
Mi ready when you ready fi go lick down Babylon, in a rhythm.
Mi ready when you ready fi go tear down Babylon.
Mi ready when you ready fi go mash down Babylon.
Them nah do it like how dem say dem plan
dem just a dash it out dey in a foreign land.
A hungry nation is a angry one
and it is bound to cause a revolution.
Power struggle a bubble it a bubble
and starvation is on the double.
The ghetto children don’t seem to stand a chance
instead of opportunity it’s self reliance. cont.
As the last surviving member of the original Wailers, Bunny Wailer is that unsung giant of the black liberation struggle. He’s only 63 years young and is still fighting through his music. One Love!
A Luta Continua!