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Bob Marley, Popular Rasta Musician

Updated on January 18, 2013
Bob Marley, famously smoking weed in the Jamaican flag colors...
Bob Marley, famously smoking weed in the Jamaican flag colors... | Source

Growing up in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, you were exposed at sometime to the influence and sub culture of Rastafarianism.

You could identify them easily, they were the dreadlock wearing, peanut selling boys riding bicycles on the road.

They were also the one's playing Bob Marley's music, smoking 'reefer', marijuana to non speakers and hanging out on the streets playing music or making music.

They were also accused of crimes and criminal behavior. They also attracted the youth of the nation to live free and without restraints, while they talked of Jah, peace and social changes.

These Rastas attracted many a young man from good families and poor families. The appeal was different for all that decided to participate. They also attracted girls but not in the same numbers as angry young black men.

Young people looking for something to believe in and felt was just their own. Something against their parent's ideals, especially the hypocritical thoughts of the white man's version of Christianity.

Bob Marley was one of the most famous of all Rastas and still is because of his socially conscious music and lyrics that tell us to free our minds. But his music also holds other themes, which is typical of all people, not just musicians.

Most parents feared the influence and infiltration of the popular Rastas. The influence was negative, more than positive and that in itself is really because those who followed Rastafari, weren't sure if it was a lifestyle or a religious philosophy.

They could out talk you about the bible, articulating the fact that the oppressors wrote it to continue oppressive ideals, especially towards the black man. For the most part they were socially enlightening, making one think but like most religions based on man's doctrines they veered into things that are suspect like embracing the smoking of marijuana, pandering on the streets and living a poverty mentality, that is short lived - sometimes.

The movement originated in the slums of Jamaica, it also created slums in the Bahamas, that is part of what i experienced.

Bob Marley

  • Jamaican
  • Social Activist
  • Politician
  • Musician
  • Wife, Rita Marley
  • Children
  • Rastafarian

Rastafarianism is considered a messianic religio-social-political movement.

  • Where did it begin? In the Jamaican slums
  • When did it begin? During the 1920's and 1930's

Marcus Garvey is known as the formal founding leader. A black Jamaican, considered the second John the Baptist, who spoke at length against white supremacy and oppression. He also pushed for the return to Africa.

He also encouraged pride in being black. And breaking the bondage of slavery and inferiority mindset of centuries

Bob Marley is the world's most popular Rasta. He gained world wide recognition through his music - Reggae.

  • What is the appeal? A way of life. A religious philosophy. The social-political ideals.
  • What units them? Haile Selassie I - "might of the Trinity", he is considered their messianic Ethiopian Emperor by Rastas. Their belief and pride in the greatness of the African heritage, resistance to oppression and the influence of Jamaican culture.
  • Who do they refer to as Jah? They refer to God according to the old testament, name Jehovah, shortened of course. At least this is what i have been told.

The Rasta lifestyle incorporates the ritual use of smoking marijuana, no alcohol, vegetarianism and wearing one's hair in dreadlocks.

  • Political affiliations? Marcus Garvey,
  • Social beliefs? Liberation before Repatriation, resistance to oppression. During the 1930's they developed distinctive ways of living, art, hairstyle, language and music.
  • Religious beliefs? The Holy Piby is the black man's bible which is the Christian bible without the derogatory references to the African or black man. It also rejects the idea of the white man's supremacy. The black man's bible was complied by Robert A Rogers from 1913 to 1917. It is the bible in which Rastas trust, and the Divinity of Haile Selassie, which he denied. He was the deposed, murdered Emperor of Ethiopia.

Rastafarian Terminology is based on Haile Selassie's real name before he was crowned Emperor, Ras Tafari Makonnen.

Reggae music

  • skank, on the off beat - piano, guitar offbeats
  • pattern, second and fourth beats in each bar
  • drums for beat three, depends on counts
  • slower tempo
  • syncopated, melodic bass lines

is a fusion of music in the Caribbean, and it is distinctive because of that, you usually hear the undercurrents of a strong rhythmic beat produced by drums or the steady pulse of the guitar and piano.

Reggae continues to inspire people to think past the popular themes of our society. Bob Marley's music continues to be popular and Rastafarianism has grown through his influence even after his death.

Yet the stigmas associated with the Rasta's lifestyle and practice of habitually smoking marijuana continues to be under fire despite the fact that many places in America have recently legalized it for social use.

I disagree with that but that is another HUB!


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