Bob Marley would have turned 70-years-old on February 6, 2015. His home country of Jamaica is remembering him with a six-day, star-studded festival starting February 1 in Negril, featuring artists such as Lutan Fyah, Anthony Cruz, and Mackie Conscious.
The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston will host a symposium on Reggae's influence on music, fashion, and culture on February 6. Additionally, the Grammy Museum has declared February 6 to be Bob Marley Day at the museum.
The 2015 Grammy Awards program is scheduled to be held on February 8 in Los Angeles.
The Voice quotes the Grammy Museum's director, Bob Santelli, as saying that although the museum is not holding a special celebration for Marley's birthday, "The Grammy Museum will mark the 70th anniversary of Bob Marley's birth by proclaiming February 6 'Bob Marley Day' at the Grammy Museum."
Marley's music continues to inspire and influence art, music, fashion, politics, and culture around the world. Marley is remembered not just for his musical gifts, but also for his simple, down-to-earth manner and his desire to promote the Rastafarian message of love and social justice through his music.
Roger Steffens, writing for PBS in 2001, compared Marley's influence with that of other musical icons, including Elvis, Michael Jackson, and The Beatles.
"[As] big as the Beatles were, you hardly see any Beatle shirts around anymore, except for those few featuring John Lennon's sorrow-inducing visage. Can you imagine an image of Elvis sewn onto the sleeve of an armed guerilla? When was the last time you saw a Michael Jackson flag or a Bob Dylan sarong or Madonna rolling papers? All of these exist in Marleyite forms, his [Bob Marley's] iconography well nigh a new universal language, the symbol, as Jack Healey of Amnesty International continues to tell people, of freedom throughout the world."
Marley is also associated with marijuana and the movement to legalize the drug. As the legalization movement firmly takes root in the U.S., Marley's image is also being used to promote Marley Natural, which sets its sights on becoming an international marijuana brand.
Bob Marley's birthday will also see previously unreleased music. The new music will include Easy Skanking in Boston '78 with video footage captured by a fan Marley allowed right up front at the concert. According to Rolling Stone, the highly-anticipated CD/DVD is due for release on February 17.
[Image: Bob Marley]