Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerland, on May 30, 1980. (Ueli Frey, WikiCommons)
Bob Marley is a paradox — part “Is This Love” and part “Buffalo Soldier.” He is the poster boy and evangelist for reggae music, viewed through a commodified 21st-century lens that sanitizes the truly radical nature of his music and legacy. Although less discussed among much of Marley’s contemporary worldwide fanbase, the singer-guitarist’s political messaging and activism speaks to the generations-long resonance and power of reggae music.
“For a lot of people in the 21st century, Bob Marley is all about ‘One Love,’ and he’s been systematically defanged. But for a lot of people, it’s still about ‘Get Up, Stand Up,’” said Don Letts, a first-generation Black British man of Jamaican descent whose contributions to reggae and punk include multiple documentaries, videos for The Clash, BBC 6 Music shows, and the Reggae 45s podcast…
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