Bob Marley was about peace, love and harmony - Son Julian speaks of father’s message, lessons learnt on anniversary of reggae legend’s birth
Julian Marley has no grandiose plans set to mark the celebration of his late father’s 76th birthday anniversary today. But one thing he knows for certain, is that he will be reflecting on the life lived by the great Robert ‘Nesta’ Marley, and the messages of peace, love and unity that he left with the world. Dubbing those messages as his father’s legacy, Julian Marley told The Gleaner that as the world pauses to remember his father, there is one thing he’s requesting especially of Jamaicans.
“The message my father was always sending is for us to live up and to live right. He was about love, living in harmony and us uplifting each other. That is the biggest lesson I learnt from him and his music and that is what I want people to reflect on most today,” he said.
For Julian Marley, that message is of particular significance as Jamaica grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and rising crime and violence.
“His messages are even more relevant today as we deal with the pandemic, and in Jamaica, crime. He would be so sad and disappointed to see how we are living among each other. Knowing that as a Jamaican he preached positivity and messages of love and his own people can’t get together, I know it would be very hard for him to see. When it comes to the music and the message of humanitarianism and upliftment, Jamaica should be the place that everyone talks about because we birthed one of the greatest artistes to do that. We have to pay respects to him by doing what he says in his music,” said Marley.
The son of the late reggae legend said when it comes to living in unity, perhaps if his father were alive, things would be different.
“It’s a very disgraceful feeling seeing all that is happening and maybe if he were here, it wouldn’t be like this in a way. Imagine he’s not here and we get so much power from him. What if he were here? But since he’s not and he left us with the blueprint on how to love via his music, its on us, all of us to really carry these messages through in this time. That is the greatest thing we can do to thank him. We have to listen and add the messages to our lifestyle,” he shared.
Admitting that although he never really spent much time with his father as a child, Julian said the father/son connection is as strong as any and is the reason he lives his life in a particular way.
“I never really spent much time with my father but I learn about him through his music, through stories from people who knew him and through the people whose lives he impacted and of course, I also have that connection with him through the bloodline. Yuh have your father and yuh mother and their DNA runs through your veins so what you don’t know, you will feel. It’s more of a natural mystic than anything else,” he said.
Today is not only a day of reflection for Marley, but one of celebration as well.
“I don’t know yet what I will be doing. I am still brainstorming on what will be happening, but I definitely will be very spiritually high, very musically high, very upful and just filled with positive vibrations. I learnt to live that way because of him. Wherever I am and whatever I do I shall be celebrating to the utmost highest. Plus, I know the world will be celebrating and so I will also take an eye to what everyone else will be doing online because you know everything is online now,” he said.
The stage is set for a whole slate of events as Jamaica and the world honours the anniversary of Marley’s 76th birthday today. The events include a Bob Marley tribute live-stream by Stephen Marley, along with a limited six-LP and a three-CD set release of Songs of Freedom: The Island Years. SiriusXM’s new Bob Marley Tuff Gong Radio channel will also run speciality programming on the day, tagged ‘All Bob, All Day’. The virtual global birthday celebration, hosted by the Bob Marley Museum, will feature messages from the family; a Miami performance mash-up featuring the Marley brothers and third-generation Marleys; a Survival cypher performance, featuring: Skip Marley, Jo Mersa, Tifa, Kabaka Pyramid, Agent Sasco, and Tanya Stephens; More Family Time with Ziggy Marley; memorial tributes for Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert and Betty Wright, and performances from Papa Michigan, Richie Spice, and Beenie Man. Other presentations include ‘In the Marley Kitchen’, featuring chefs Brian Lumley from District 5 at the R Hotel and Kush Tafari from Kushites Vegetable Cuisine; story reading; yoga and a children’s sing-a-long.
Marley’s 76th ‘earthstrong’ will be celebrated under the theme Survival, the name of his militant 1979 album.