“‘Bout time, been our time, that time is now,” Cedella Marley reflects on her dad, the late patriarch of her family, and what he would say if he were alive today.
Bob Marley wrote the song Burnin’ and Lootin’ in 1973, “This morning I woke up in a curfew/ Oh God, I was a prisoner too, yeah/ Could not recognize the faces standing over me/ They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality.”
The lyrics, read today, feel eerily representative of the civil unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd on May 25th in Minneapolis by a uniformed police officer.
According to Billboard’s LyricFind US chart, from June 13th, the song is in the top 5 fastest momentum gaining tracks in lyric searches and usages globally, which is no surprise given the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement amplified by Floyd’s murder.
In Bob’s short time on earth he put reggae music on the global stage. His mission: to tell the stories of his troubled homeland, Jamaica, to the rest of the world. Motivated to fight social injustices through his music, Bob made an impact that has been able to live on and flourish, 39 years after his untimely death.
Today, his oldest daughter Cedella Marley, the CEO of the Bob Marley Group of Companies, continues his legacy. “The spirit within music was very important to him. He understood the way music could reflect and inspire culture.” His music and message continues to live on stronger than ever, at a time when the world seems to need it the most.
A musician herself, Cedella released ten albums with the Melody Makers in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The band was comprised of four Marley children: Cedella, Ziggy, Stephen and Sharon. The group would go on to win three Grammys, and officially disband in 2002.
Today, Cedella’s passion for music is still as strong as ever. She recently released the song “One World, One Prayer” with her dad’s band The Wailers, her son Skip, Shaggy and Farruko. The anthem is meant to unify people by spreading the message of love and unity, a message her dad stood adamantly behind.
Scrolling through Cedella’s Instagram feed is a testament to the legacy left by her father. In a caption about her upcoming book, Redemption: Reflections on Creating a Better World, she says “One of the biggest lessons Daddy taught me is that even in the most difficult circumstances, change is possible [...] Nearly 40 years after its release, the message of “Redemption Song,” still rings true today.”
Redemption Song was the last song on Uprising, his ninth and final album with The Wailers. The song’s powerful message has a unique tie to Canada. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, the lyrics were inspired by a speech given by Black rights activist Marcus Garvey in Syndey, Nova Scotia.
On October 1st, 1937, Garvey, a Jamaican civil rights leader spoke to a full house at Menelik Hall, concluding his speech with: “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”
Today this message lives on through Marley’s lyrics. Redemption: Reflections on Creating A Better World, is a compilation of quotes, interviews, and writings by Bob, and edited by Cedella. The book explores what it means to seek justice and how to remain focused and optimistic about the future. It promises to deliver “the real Bob Marley to us at a time when we truly need him.”
“Be yourself no matter what,” this is the greatest lesson Cedella says she learned from her dad. “It’s given me a strong sense of self. I’m cool with expressing who I am rather than trying to conform to the ways some people expect [me] to be.”
As a Black woman who has had a successful career as a musician, author, activist and executive; she says, “Don’t be voiceless, it’s about being seen and heard, no one can take away your value. You have something to contribute to the world, we all do!”
Bob’s voice is heard through hers. Her work with The Bob Marley Group of Companies allows her to pass on her father’s vision and legacy to the next generation.
Cedella takes pride in the carrying on the Marley message through her music, books, philanthropy and social media. Most recently she shared a video of comedian Amy Schumer’s daughter reading Get Up, Stand Up with her father. When asked about these proud posts, she simply states, “Dada said it best, his music will live on forever.”