April 20 blazed by this year and the marijuana holiday brought attention to society’s insensitivity to the contributions Bob Marley made throughout his lifetime.
Snapchat, one of social media’s front-runners, released a filter that transformed its users into Marley, dreadlocks and all. While the filter was created to give people “a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley” the filter was only available on marijuana’s day of fame, limiting Marley to the reputation of his contributions to the weed industry.
Although “Marley natural,” is named after Marley and centered around his love for the plant, Marley did much more than sing and be high.
His message of peace and revolution made an impact on global culture that lasted far beyond his last puff. Marley brought the world of Rastafarianism into music, and without that it is unlikely the message behind the religion would have spread beyond Jamaica.
Rastafarianism developed after the 1920s and 1930s when Jamaicans were in a period of great depression, post slavery and was created by Marcus Garvey as a basis for hope and peace. Marley sang about slavery, oppression, hope and occasionally weed.
While it is easier for listeners to enjoy the laid-back tone of Marley’s music and imagine being high instead of examining the legacy of slavery the way his music does, he should be appreciated and remembered for the latter.
Marley’s contributions to bringing the knowledge of a social issue in Jamaica world-wide are what he should be remembered and admired for year round, not just his smoking habits on an unofficial stoner holiday.