The latest installation in a 12-part series which delves into the life of reggae icon Robert Nesta Marley has been released. Part seven in the YouTube documentary, titled Legacy: Freedom Fighter, sees some of the world’s most renowned artistes, writers, activists and film-makers dissecting songs and messages from the legendary singer as they juxtapose it with the grim realities still facing minority groups today. According to the episode’s description, Marley had the ‘unique power of uniting and articulating the long and painful journey from oppression’, as well as the ‘struggles his brothers and sisters have endured over the years as they battled with social issues such as racial inequality’.
The miniseries opens with American rapper and activist Chuck D stating, “You can’t have peace if you have a foot on your neck stomping you down”, and segues into one of Marley’s most poignant freedom-fighting songs, War. Released by Marley back in 1976 from his album Rastaman Vibration still resonates with persons battling racism, colourism and classism. The words, “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior, is finally and permanently, discredited and abandoned. Everywhere is WAR,” perfectly sum up what the series creators say is the reason for the rise in modern-day activist movements such as Black Lives Matter and why the fight for freedom is still important today.
“When you are a person that believes that this movement is not just about black people in America, but that we have to be concerned with the diaspora, then Bob Marley’s music becomes a connector and it helps us to speak a certain language,” said Tamika Mallory, co-founder of UntilFreedom (an international social justice organisation), as she spoke about the influence of Marley’s music. “I know that people across the world revere Bob Marley as one that helps to articulate their struggle, their love, their pain.”
Music of freedom
Expressing that Bob Marley is one of the first individuals who come to mind when she thinks of freedom, activist Yany Smith said the singer, through his music, fought to be free in every sense of the word. “I think of liberation when I think of Bob Marley’s music,” she said. “I think of a person who constantly fought to be free; free mentally, free from enslavement, free from just the western religion. Free in every aspect of life.”
Her thoughts led to the documentary seguing into a reflection of Marley’s Redemption Song. The track speaks about black people being taken from their motherland and sold into slavery and their need to continue the great fight for freedom, confident in the fact that redemption must one day be theirs. “You have to actually believe that you are free and you’re willing to take nothing but that,” said Mallory in her analysis of the song. “And I feel like Bob Marley, as an artiste, was the type of person who was looking for those who believed that freedom was a demand, not a request.”
Olu, artiste and one half of American hip-hop duo EarthGang, said once he understood what Marley was preaching in his music he was ‘hooked’, and that the reggae singer’s messages continue to expand generations. “What Bob Marley was talking about expanded generations. It was like an age-old thing in a spiritual language that I never heard before with anybody’s music.”
Ky-Mani Marley, one of the late reggae icon’s sons, said that although his father’s music was largely about uplifting black people, he cared for all people and was essentially all about ‘one love’. “From the legacy, where we come from, my father was really about one love. I don’t think he had thoughts on African Americans different from white Americans. Even though it (his music) was about black upliftment, it’s not speaking of separation, we’re speaking of upliftment and still togetherness,” he said.
The first episode in the Legacy: 75 Years A Legend documentary premièred back in February as part of the late icon’s birthday celebrations. The series is being presented by Universal Music Enterprises, Tuff Gong and Island Records, and will explore the relevance of Bob Marley today while exploring the impact he had while alive.
Credit: Source link