More than three decades have passed since the untimely death of Bob Marley. A rebel, a trendsetter and a legend, Marley’s influence on pop culture has had trickle down effects on the way many of us live, spend and consume in more ways than you might think. As a part of our Black History Month celebration and as a way to commemorate what would have been his 67th birthday, here are 5 ways in which Bob Marley affected Pop Culture:
- Rasta Man Vibrations – Before Bob Marley, Reggae music was relatively unknown to the masses. When Bob Marley and the Wailers exploded onto the mainstream scene with three consecutive albums reaching the Billboard Top 200 in 1973 and 1974, it solidified the genre’s presence in popular culture which only grew more intense over the years. Today, Reggae is a part of mainstream music on many levels, from cartoon musical adaptations to TV and radio spots.
- Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley was referred to by many as “the first pop star of the third world” and opened the door for dozens of other successful acts imported from similar territories. Weathering the initial xenophobia, Marley was able to connect with the masses while staying true to his Jamaican roots. Today most of us accept pop stars like Rihanna (Barbados) and Shakira (Colombia) endorsing brands and driving pop culture trends without thinking twice.
- Get Up, Stand Up – Remember Occupy Wall Street? A resounding theme and constantly chanted slogan was the “Get up, stand up/ Stand up for your rights” lyric from Bob Marley’s song of the same name. Along with other icons of the 1960s, Bob Marley stood for freedom, equality and self-expression.
- Legalize It – Like it or not, Bob Marley and his early cohort Peter Tosh presented, er… “alternative medicine” into the public eye in a different light. Most early users of the medicine in question were widely considered to be going down the road to life-ending substance abuse; Bob Marley started the “what if it’s not all that bad?”- conversation in pop culture (and now mainstream America) that continues to this day.
- Legend – HE’S BOB MARLEY! Even those completely unfamiliar with the man and his legacy know his face and name. He sold over 25 million records worldwide, has his face printed on just about any type of product you can imagine, was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World by the United Nations, wrote the song of the Millennium according to BBC (“One Love”), and left a timeless musical legacy behind. Here’s to Bob Marley!