Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back!!!! Welcome Back to all The Black Fist Everyday Black History Series Readers!
I've been getting a lot of emails, comments & phone messages from you, the readers asking for General Nikki X to return back to our black history series and I heard you loud & clear! I appreciate all of you who cared enough to request this series back & I value you and your wonderful comments! So here we are on our thirteenth installment and I am so happy to bring to you the man I've loved for as long as I can remember! This brother really needs no introduction and the history I'm bringing to you today will only touch the surface of his intellect & genious. I encourage everyone out there reading this to pick up Songs of Freedom, the 4 Cd collection of Brother Bob Marley's career. You can order it online as I did or you can pick it up at select reggae outlets that specialize in true reggae music. This outstanding collection will run you about $60.oo or so maybe less, but every song is worth every penny.
So without further ado, I bring to the stage our dear beloved brother whom just yesterday May 11, 1981. died at the age of 36. Our brother will be forever missed but his spirit is alive and well. Doesn't seem like 25 long years since his death. I would suggest to everyone to also read the book: No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley by Rita Marley with Hettie Jones. It shows the strength and power of a black woman who stood loving and firm behind her man. Sista Alfarita Constantia Anderson-Marley, known to the world as Rita Marley stood strong with him until the day he died as his beloved wife and soulmate. Bob Marley had numerous affairs, women came and went outta his life but his one true love was Sista Rita Marley, his soulmate till death did him part.
Brother Bob Marley and Sister Rita Marley are Black Royality. A King & Queen to the black nation to always honor and respect!
Now onto our Black Fist: Best & Brightest Everyday Black History Series, this installment we like to call: ONE LOVE! Thank you for your patients now sit back & enjoy the life and times of.....
ROBERT NESTA MARLEY 1945-1981
Robert Nesta Marley, (February 6, 1945-May 11, 1981) better known as Bob Marley, was a Jamaician singer, guitarist, songwriter, Rastafari and activist. He is the most widely known writer and performer of Reggae music, infamous for popularizing the genre outside of Jamaica. Much of his music dealt with the struggles of the impoverished and gave a voice to the oppressed around the world while spreading messages of hope and unity. His songs, encouraging a positive way of living while rooted in truth, expressed his experiences of struggle and everyday life in Jamaica in a relatable way to all people that has made his music universally loved.
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Bob Marley was born on Tuesday, February 6, 1945 in a small village of Nine Miles, Saint Ann, Jamaica. His father Norval Sinclair Marley, was born in Jamaica in 1895 to English parents who originated from Sussex, south east England. Norval Sinclair Marley, a married man was a Marine officer and captain, and also a plantation overseer when he had an affair with Bob's mother, Cedella Booker, an eighteen-year-old black girl. Although it has been a held belief that Marley's father was white, new research has shown otherwise. In Christopher J. Farley's book "Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley" it is uncovered that Norval's mother was classified as "colored" on her birth certificate, meaning Marley's father was at least partially black. As a result, Marley did not know of his father's hertiage, and lived life under the misconception that his father was white. Norval died of a heart attack in 1955, age 60, when Bob was just 10 years old. Because of his fair complexion, Bob Marley faced questions about his own racial identity throughout his life, especially when Jamaica was experiencing racial tension in the 1960s. He reflects:
"I don't have prejudice against myself. My father was white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't dip on nobody's side. Me don't dip on the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me dip on God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white."
Bob Marley became friends with Neville "Bunny" Livingston (a.k.a Bunny Wailer) with whom Marley started to play music. It was at one of these music sessions with Bunny Wailer that Bob met Peter McIntosh (later known as Peter Tosh) who also had musical ambitions. The three of them hooked up together and became known as "The Wailers."
In 1962 Bob Marley recorded the first of his two singles, "Judge Not" and "One Cup of Coffee." The singles attracted little attention at that time. Both were later re-release in the album Songs of Freedom.
Bob Marley soon took on the role of the leader, being the main songwriter and singer. Much of The Wailer early work, including their first single Simmer down, was produced by Coxsone Dodd at Studio One. The single topped Jamaican charts in 1964 and established The Wailers as one of the hottest groups in Jamaica. They followed up with songs like "Soul Rebel" and "400 Years". On February 11, 1966., Bob Marley married Rita Anderson, and stayed for a few months in the United States where his mother was then living. Upon returning to Jamaica and The Wailers, Marley began practicing Rastafari and started to wear dreadlocks.
Bob Marley was a member of the Rastafari movement, which believes Haile Selassi I of Ethiopia, the former Emperor of Ethiopia to be Jah (God) incarnate, the returned messiah. Rastafari culture was a key element in the development of reggae, Marley's adoption of the characteristic Rastasfarian dreadlocks and use of marijuana as a sacred sacrament in the early seventies were an integral part of his persona as a famous musician. He would enter every show proclaiming the divinity of Jah Rastafari.
BATTLE WITH CANCER - DIAGNOSIS
In July 1977, Marley was found to have a wound on his right big toe, which he thought was from a football (soccer) injury. Urban legends have since told that it was British television personality Danny Baker who had caused the injury during a celebrity football match. The wound would not completely heal, and his toenail later fell off during a football game. It was then that the right diagnosis was made. Marley actually had a form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, which grew under his toenail.
Marley was advised to get his toe amputated, but refused because of his Rastafari beliefs that the body must be whole, that to have an amputation would be a sin, that faith would ensure him living forever regardless of the cancer and because he saw medical doctors as samfai, confidence men who cheat the gullible by pretending to have the power of witchcraft. He was also concerned abut the impact the operation would have on his dancing. Still, Marley based this refusal primarily on his Rastfari beliefs, saying "Rasta no abide amputation. It don't allow a mon ta be dismantled." (Catch a Fire, Timothy White) He did agree to undergo some minor surgery to try to excise the cancer, which was kept secret from the wider public.
COLLAPSE AND TREATMENT
The cancer eventually spread to Marley's brain, lungs, liver, and stomach. He later collapsed while jogging in NYC's Central Park, having recently played two shows at Madison Square Garden as part of his fall 1980 Uprising Tour (the remainder of which was subsequently canceled). Bob Marley played his final concert in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on September 23, 1980; the live version of "Redemption Song" on Songs of Freedom was recorded at this show. Marley sought medical help, and decided to go to Munich in order to receive treatment from cancer specialist Josef Issels, but the cancer had already progressed to the terminal stage.
Marley wanted to spend his final days in Jamaica but became too ill on the flight home from Germany and the plane was forced to land in Miami so that he could receive immediate medical attention. He died at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami, Florida on May 11, 1981. His final words to his son Ziggy were, "Money can't buy life." Bob Marley received the honor of a State Funeral in Jamaica. It was a dignified funeral with combined elements of Ethiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafari. He is buried in a crypt at Nine Miles, near his birthplace, with his Gibson guitar, a bud of marijuana and a Bible. A month before his death, he was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit.
Bob Marley had 12 children, four by his wife Rita. His children in order of birth:
- Sharon, born 11/3/64 to Rita, by another man before she married Bob and later adopted by Bob.
- Cedella, born 8/23/67 to Rita.
- David "Ziggy", born 10/17/68 to Rita.
- Stephen, born, 4/20/72 to Rita.
- Robert "Robbie", born 5/16/72 to Pat Williams.
- Rohan, born 5/19/72 to Janet Hunt. Married Singer Lauryn Hill.
- Karen, born 1973, to Janet Bowen.
- Stephanie, born 1974?, to Rita by another man, and later adopted by Bob.
- Julian, born 6/4/75, to Lucy Pounder.
- Ky-Mani, born 5/26/76, to Anita Belnavis.
- Damian "Jr. Gong", born 7/21/78, to Cindy Breakspeare.
- Madeka, born 5/30/81, to Yvette Crichton, born 19 days after Bob's death.
Well folks there you have it! What a way to welcome back our Black Fist Everyday Black History Series, Huh?!? By celebrating on yesterday the "25 anniversary of his death, Bob Marley" Bob Marley was truly a musical genious and revolutionary black activist in every sense of the word. We will forever remember the life works and music of our dearly beloved black revolutionary....Robert "Bob" Nesta "Marley!
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Thank you for reading this 13th Black Fist Everyday Black History Series installment! And if you liked this one, please feel free to read all 12 previously written enlightening and informative installments, print them out, share them with your friends & family! It's all right here at "The Black Fist Blog!" And tell a friend to log on to www.theblackfistblog.blogspot.com soon because here at "The Black Fist Blog"...Everyday is Black History Day!