Jean teaches astrology, tarot & metaphysics. She is an author, ordained nondenominational minister, & member of the NJ Metaphysical Ctr.
Food for Thought
Bob Marley, or Robert Nesta Marley, 2/6/45-5/11/81, is the revered Jamaican musician who introduced Reggae music to the world. Bob was the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of Bob Marley and the Wailers, consisting of himself, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh. Marley also spread the Rastafarian religious movement throughout the world, voicing the political and social conditions that existed in Jamaica during his lifetime through his music. All these years later, he is still considered Jamaica’s Ambassador to the People, and they talk about him as if he were still here.
Marley’s father was Norval Sinclair Marley, a white English/Jamaican Captain of the Royal Marines, and his mother was Cedella Booker, an 18-year-old Black woman. Norval Marley supported Bob and his mother until he died when Bob was 10 yrs. old. Marley faced issues about his mixed ancestry throughout his life, although he came to terms with it. He identified as a Black African, citing the two biggest influences in his life as Haile Selassie and Marcus Garvey. As a Rastafarian, he believed that Haile Selassie was a living God in Ethiopia, and a theme in Marley’s work discusses the return of the Rastafarian people back to Africa, likely in Ethiopia. Bob wrote many songs about the oppression the Black people fought in many instances.
When Bob Marley was 12 he moved to Trenchtown, Kingston, a poor and squalid government complex. He met up with Bunny and Peter there, and they cut a record, with "One More Cup of Coffee and "Judge Not", songs that did not get air play in 1962, but are part of the Songs of Freedom Box Set now. In 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson, and it has been said he was so shy that he gave a note to a friend to pass on to her before he would speak to her. They moved to Wilmington, DE for a time to visit Bob’s mother, but Bob did not enjoy the fast pace of American life. He and Rita formally became Rastafarians when they returned to Jamaica, and Bob began to grow his famous dreadlocks.
During the years of 1968-1972, Bob, Rita, Bunny and Peter tried to commercialize their sound, in both London and Kingston. Bob needed to establish himself outside of Jamaica, so lived in London for about a year. Island Records producer Chris Blackwell helped them cut an album, fronting the money, and Catch a Fire was the result.
Marley's Career Flourishes
By 1973, Burnin’ came out, and the popular songs "I Shot the Sheriff," and "Get Up, Stand Up," got Bob Marley critical recognition. Eric Clapton helped by singing and playing a cover of "I Shot the Sheriff," which was popular in the U.S. This album reached both reggae audiences and rock audiences, and Blackwell gave Marley his studio in Kingston on 56 Hope Road, which Bob used as both his office and his home.
Although the lineup of singers changed often, Bob still billed his group as The Wailers. His first breakthrough song in the U.S. was the anthem "No Woman No Cry," from Natty Dread. In 1976 there was to be a “Smile Jamaica” concert, organized by Prime Minister Michael Manley, to ease tension between warring political groups. Marley, Rita, and his manager Taylor were shot in Marley’s home before the concert, with Rita and Taylor sustaining serious injuries, though they recovered. Bob was wounded in the chest and arm, and many in the public thought the concert was a support rally for Manley. Bob performed at the concert 2 days later, responding that, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?” So Marley played for 80,000 people, but was emotionally wounded that he was shot in his own country. Some still suspect the CIA, as any person who seems to love peace is always suspect.
Marley left Jamaica to recuperate for two years in England, in seclusion and exile, although he wrote material for more albums there. He finally returned to Jamaica in 1978 to perform another political concert, once again trying to bring peace to warring political groups.
Bob Marley and the Wailers went on to release 11 albums, writing much more politically charged songs, such as "Survival", "Zimbabwe", "Africa Unite" and "War". Bob and the Wailers appeared in South Africa in 1979 to oppose apartheid, and support the struggles of the Black people there. Uprising in 1980 was Bob’s last studio album, and one of his most religious.
"Get Up, Stand Up"
Bob Marley Never Goes Out of Style
Bob’s life as a Rastafarian was a big part of the Reggae culture. He grew his dreads long and became a vegetarian, indulging frequently in “ganga”. When asked to explain his religion, he said, “Be still, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is the Almighty, living God, the Bible says so, the newspaper says so, and I and the children say so. I don’t see what more people want. Maybe they want a White God, but God comes in Black too.” Bob quoted the passage of the Bible where Jacob gives his blessing to his son Joseph. Marley was baptized by the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Kingston, Jamaica in 1980.
Bob had 11 children who are officially acknowledged on his website, including three with his wife Rita, but this author believes Bob and Rita had four children together. In 1977 Marley was found to have malignant melanoma under one of his toenails. He refused to have the toe amputated, stating religious reasons. Bob continued touring, his last concert at what is now the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, PA. But soon after the concert date, the cancer spread throughout his body. Marley was treated at the Bavarian Clinic Josef Issels, where he received a controversial type of cancer treatment, based mostly on diet and drugs, but after 8 months he got worse, and although he tried to get home to Jamaica, his organs failed at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami, FL. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.”
According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Bob Marley was the Third World’s first superstar. He was the man who introduced the world to the mystic power of Reggae. He was a true rocker at heart, and as a songwriter, he brought the force of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Smokey Robinson to his work. Bob Marley was a symbol to poor and powerless people everywhere; if one had talent, they could make it. Even at the height of his wealth, he lived mostly on Hope Road when he was in Jamaica, ate the same foods he ate when he was poor, and got up early every morning to enjoy nature. Marley was a good and spiritual man, who left us all too soon, at the age of 36.
Oprah Winfrey, born 1/29/1954, was actually born Orpah Gail, her first name an incorrect spelling from a woman in the Book of Ruth in the Bible. Oprah is the ultimate success story, a poor, Black woman born in Mississippi, who co-anchored an evening news show, and eventually had her own talk show, which is one of the most successful of all time. Today she is the only self-made Black billionaire in world history!
Oprah had a hard life of poverty, and experienced sexual abuse by her uncle, her cousin, and a family friend. She confided this on one of her own shows in 1986, when the topic was sexual abuse, but although cathartic for her, the family lived in denial of these facts. Oprah became pregnant at age 14, and lost the child in infancy. Once she became famous, a family member sold this story to The National Inquirer, a trashy gossip newspaper, further hurting her.
She was sent to a more affluent school, but suffered teasing and abuse, and finally her mother sent her to live in Nashville, TN, with her father Vernon, who though only a one-night stand for her mother, was really Oprah's father. He did encourage Oprah, and she became an honors student, got on the speech/debate club, and was voted Most Popular Girl in East Nashville High School. Oprah’s choice to work in the communications media did not surprise anyone, as she had a natural way with people, and they loved to confide in her.
She was the first Black female anchor of a local radio station, and stayed during her first 2 years of college. Oprah relocated to Chicago to host the half hour morning talk show AM Chicago. At the time Phil Donahue was the most popular radio talk show host, but within months Oprah overtook him, and critic Robert Ebert signed her up for syndication with King World. It was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the rest is history.