Sun | Feb 18, 2018

Diaspora J’cans renew call for Marley as national hero

Published:Monday | January 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Bob Marley

A year before he chose Zion in 1981, Jamaica's most famous son Robert Nesta Marley, OM hailed the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe with a stirring performance at the Independence Day celebrations in Salisbury. On April 21,1978 at the One Peace Concert in Kingston, he united then Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley and leader of the opposition leader Edward Seaga.

Internationally, Marley's work has been recognised time and time again. In 1999, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame. At the turn of the century, British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC proclaimed his song, One Love, the 'Song of the Century.' Time Magazine then named, 'Exodus', 'Album of the Century'.

Quite and extraordinary accomplishment considering his song and album won ahead of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and other top American recorders. In 2001, Marley's named was engraved on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He remains the only Jamaican to be so honoured.

It is clear, Marley's impact was more than musical. As journalist Malika Lee Whitney wrote in her book, Reggae King of the World - "With his lyric litany he attacked those forces that were responsible for the social conditions in which he lived and dared to ask them why. He provoked a conscious awareness among people all over the world and encouraged them to take stock of themselves and to make whatever adjustments to their lifestyles that were necessary."