By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
As the world marks 37 years of Bob Marley’s death, Nollywood veteran, Segun Arinze has called on reggae musicians in Nigeria to continue to use the genre to spread conscious and positive messages to correct the ills in the society.
Marley is one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and one whose impact endures across generations of music fans around the world.
The reggae legend with 42 official releases, countless photos and videos of him captured both on and off the stage is the most celebrated reggae artist in the world.
Arinze, a.k.a “Black Arrow’’ said this in a telephone chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
The Onitsha born actor and graduate of Dramatic Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria, also said that reggae had become a culture.
“Today is Marley Day. I call on Reggae musicians in Nigeria to continue to use the genre to send conscious and positive messages to correct the ills in the society like Bob Marley, Mandators, Andy Showman, Ras Kimono and others.
“However, the music industry is dynamic and changing; there are new styles and beats to reggae, so you need to adopt it but maintain the messages that are philosophical and endearing to the heart.
“Even though Marley is gone, his music lives on; Reggae artists across the country should continue to spread the message,’’ Arinze said.
The talented actor with several endorsements also said that Marley’s legacies remained relevant in the 21st century, 37 years after his death.
According to Arinze, Marley’s songs are prevalent today adding that everything he sang about is still happening today.
“He is like a prophet; his songs inspire people up till today. I even listened to his songs yesterday.
“I just pray and hope that his family carry on with the legacy he left behind and continue to impact on the people and society.
“But unfortunately, he died at a very young age; he did not make it up to 40 years. I pray his soul continue to rest in peace and wish the world Happy Marley Day,’’ Arinze said.
His lyrics of timeless protest songs such as “Redemption Song” “War” “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Crazy Baldhead,” have fired up social and political movements.
Marley was born on Feb. 6, 1945 to a British Naval Captain, Norman and Cedella Marley.
Marley was posted to the Western Indies during the second War World when he met Cedella. She gave birth to young Marley when she was 18.
The reggae legend’s early life was spent in rural mountainous terrain of the Parish of St. Ann community of Nine Miles in Jamaica.
The residents of the community have preserved many customs derived from their African ancestry especially the art of storytelling as a means of sharing the past and time-tested traditions.
In the late 1950, he left St. Ann and returned to Kingston, Jamaica’s capital.
The `One Love’ crooner had little Western education, but dropped out of school at 14 to learn welding.
After meeting and teaming up with a Reggae artist, Peter Touch, he quit welding and they jointly released a single titled, `Simmer Down’ which enjoyed airplay on the local radio.
Based on the success of the single, their relationship blossomed and in 1964, Marley and Tosh formed the `Wailing Wailers’ together with Bunny Livingstone Wailer, Junior Braithwaite, and Beverly Kelso.
Other members of the group were Rita Anderson (who later became Rita Marley in 1966), Judy Mowatt, and Marcia Griffith.
The musical group was popular in Jamaica as it performed in many shows across the country.
The group gained wider acceptance and in 1972 it was signed on by Chris Blackwell’s Island Records.
In 1973, they released their debut album titled “Catch A Fire’’ which launched them into super stardom.
With a successful music album, the group embarked on musical tour in Britain which was successful but turned out to be the turning point of the Jamaican based Reggae group.
After a successful tour, they came back to Jamaica and the group split with Peter Tosh and Bonny Walter opting out after alleging Marley’s domineering role while on tour.
Not perturbed by the split, Marley went ahead and got married to Alpharita Constantia “Rita’’ Anderson in Kingston, Jamaica, on Feb. 10, 1966.
Marley had many children: three with his wife Rita, two adopted from her previous relationships, and several others with different women. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children.