Born Nesta Robert Marley on February 6th, 1945, Bob Marley was far more than a musician. He was a father, a Rastafarian, and maybe the single most influential reggae artist of all-time.
He began his career in a band called the Wailers in 1963, where he slowly grew to international fame. By the time of his death in 1981, Marley had been awarded the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government and the Medal of Peace from the United Nations in 1980.
You can see Marley’s influence on the culture still today. From the marijuana merchandise, to the dreadlock caps you can buy at Six Flags, Bob Marley remains relevant to every generation.
Two years ago, on 4/20, Snapchat took some heat for using Bob Marley’s face as one of it’s filters on accounts of digital version of blackface — just an example of how even the newest technology tries to use his influence. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone tries to make a hologram of him at a concert, although I hope not.
His songs are like sunlight, they just feel good to the ears. It’s clear he was coming from a place of peace, and whenever he spoke you felt as such.
So, to honor his birthday, here are 7 of my favorite quotes of his.
“I have no education. I have inspiration. If I was educated I would be a damn fool.”
Ever since I was young, education was held with the highest regard. A good grammar school was necessary in order to get into the right program in high school that would ultimately secure a notable university.
In this quote however, Bob Marley suggests education isn’t the end-all-be-all. When we depend completely on education and formalities, the ingenious of spontaneity can’t prosper, and we wouldn’t have the innovations we have today. This quote balances that scale.
“Herb is the healing of the nation, alcohol is the destruction.”
According to drugwarfacts.org there were 33,171 alcohol related deaths last year. The number of deaths caused by Cannabis (Marijuana)? Zero.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
Bronx native and Grammy nominated rapper/personality Cardi B kind of just jumped into stardom. In what seems to have been just one calendar year, she went from no music career to three number one songs on the Billboard 200 in the same year.
In her new CR Fashion Book magazine cover interview, she revealed the downsides of the wealth and fame, which spoke to what Marley was hinting at.
She told actress Zendaya, who interviewed her:
“One negative thing is that, even though I’m happy, I feel like I was a little bit happier two or three years ago when I had less money. I had less people who had opinions about my life. I felt like my life was mine. Now I feel like I don’t even own my life. I feel like the world owns me.”
“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!”
What made Marley so great is that his solutions to what seem like the most complex of roadblocks are always simple.
Here he’s saying just by merely living and appreciating life, you can achieve your vision. It’s when we focus on what doesn’t matter where we get side-tracked.
“Babylon is everywhere. You have wrong and you have right. Wrong is what we call Babylon, wrong things. That is what Babylon is to me. I could have born in England, I could have born in America, it make no difference where me born, because there is Babylon everywhere.”
Misfortune is inescapable and perfection is a myth.
A lot of times we like to get on our high horses to point out how someone else is wrong, when our way of life could be just as wrong to them. Marley is saying not to put anything past anyone, including yourself.
“Live for yourself and you will live in vain; live for others, and you will live again.”
Bob Marley’s music is undeniably filled with love. And that love you feel once it’s serenading in the air is impossible to bottle, you want to share it and give it to others to experience too. The same goes for life.
When we live a life of love, we want others to take part, be a part, and benefit from what you’re experiencing. That’s what it means to live for others, and that’s what will ensure us of our best lives.
“The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.”
Bob Marley was in tune with his soul. He understood what it meant for someone to love unconditionally, even in an era where women’s rights much further behind than they are now.
Setting this kind of example as a superstar is important. There are many men who probably needed to read this for a wake-up call and it further proves that Marley’s legacy precedes just the tunes he makes.