Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Bob Marley’s Death

The first superstar from a developing country, Bob Marley, lost the battle to cancer 30 years ago to the day, May 11, 1981. In commemoration of his life and legacy, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, CA has memorabilia from the Marley family’s personal collection on exhibit until October 2, 2011.

Of particular interest is Bob Marley’s trademark Gibson guitar. It was whisked away from its home at the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica and is now on display for the first time in the United States. “That was his baby,” Ziggy Marley said. “That was his weapon. That’s what he held closest to him onstage, offstage. It’s made of wood, it’s natural. Some of Bo b’s sweat, whatever, is in that wood, that guitar.”

Completely aligned with his father’s love of cannabis, Marley affirms that the exhibition can be better appreciated “spiritually high or high on herb.” And we appreciate his candor.

Across the world people are uniting to celebrate the work of Bob Marley and the undeniable impact he had on humankind during the mere 36 years he graced us with his presence. Be it a red, green, and yellow marijuana leaf or a photo of Bob Marley smoking marijuana – those iconic images have infested cultures worldwide and are eternally branded “Bob Marley/Rastafari/Jamaica.” Juxtapose this message with the lyrics to his songs, which promoted freedom and social justice, and boom – an obvious discrepancy appears. Do you think Bob Marley would approve of his cannabis centered legacy? Or would he hope to be remembered for his lyrics encouraging peace? Perhaps he would caution that cannabis is a tenet of the Rastar religion, not the entire enchilada.

Regardless, during his time Marley  went against the grain; and we admire the courage it took for him to be himself. Dr. Seuss put it best,“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

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