Read the article below the Ghion Cast video; the words I write are always more meaningful to me than the words that I speak.
Prophets did not go extinct; every generation has been greeted with one prophet after another who chose to unite people through love instead of seeking self-gratification. What the system of repression and avarice fears the most are not bullets or those who choose to battle hatred with yet more hatred—these people are only feeding the flames of injustice. Rather, what iniquity fears the most are those who decide to be prophets of peace and battle hate armed with love and preach unity above division.
Bob Marley was one of these prophets; a musical messenger who chose to use his talents to sing about redemption, unselfishness and love above all else. The truth of Marley’s untimely death only God knows, but one only has to look at the way that past prophets have been silenced to realize that there is always consequences in this world for those who choose to be messengers of peace. There is no sadness though, Bob Marley’s message is greater in his death and his music lives on in his absence.
It’s not only Bob Marley’s music that lives on; the branches of Marley’s oak tree has extended like roses planted by water as his family has picked up the mantle where he left off and continued the legacy of musical excellence. The list is too many to name—forgive me if I omit a few as I rattle some off—Rohan, Ziggy, Cedella, Julian, and Damian are but a few who continue the riddim after Bob Marley’s heart rhythm expired. The Marley family is musical royalty in ways heretofore never witnessed, this is what happens when a family is formed by two musical giants as Rita Marley is a musical phenom as well.
Add to this list a new star who is hitting the stage by the name of Skip Marley. The son of Cedella Marley, Skip is only 20 years old yet he is already electrifying the reggae music scene. It was not too long ago that Skip Marley shied away from the stage, until Stephen Marley pushed him on stage at one of the endless procession of concerts that Skip Marley used to attend on a regular basis. Skip Marley was born into music and at an early age was already playing the guitar and the piano, but many times we are not ready to share our pearls with the world until the time and fate push us towards our destiny.
After a gentle nudge from Stephen Marley, soon enough Skip Marley found himself immersed in the music industry. As all musicians know, before singers are discovered, they often toil endlessly in the shadows. Inspired by the sorrow of a friend, Skip Marley wrote “Cry to Me”—which led to a contract with Island Records. From there, life went on fast forward as soon enough a song that Skip Marley performed called “Lion” found itself in the ears of Katy Perry. A megastar thus embraced a musical prince and the rest is a story that is being sung right before us.
The irony of it all is that Skip Marley was the first in his family to crack the Billboard top 10—not even Bob Marley accomplished this feat. It goes to show though, where past legends clear the path, future greats are able to seize endless opportunities. “Chained to the Rhythm” debuted at number four in the top 100, an occasion which marks the arrival of Skip Marley. But it was “Lion”, a song about love and unity, that opened the door for Skip Marley to ascend to the upper echelon of the music industry.
When asked about the song “Lion”, Skip Marley minced no words. He wrote the song to encounter the paradigm of conflict and hate that we find ourselves bracketed by. “The world has gotten very tense,” said Skip Marley. “I felt like I needed to reassure people in the safety of love and community.” The spirit of Bob Marley is alive and well, Skip is echoing the message found in “War”, “Redemption Song” and “Buffalo Soldier” by reassuring people to be about love instead of turning towards acrimony and violent rhetoric.
It will not be politicians who will deliver us for those who thrive from disunion have every incentive for the status quo to remain as is. If we have a chance at a redemption song and a redemptive era to set before us, it will be artists—singers, painters, writers, and the those who love to create—who will lead us away from exodus and towards the Zion of peace and love. All starts with the heart and exudes to the melodies that are omnipresent; if we still our minds we can listen to the redemption song that is all about us. Bob Marley sang about this melody more than 30 years ago; where he left off, his family has continued and keep proving that no one can kill the riddim.
A big shout out to the proud nation of Jamaica who are the sons and daughters of the continent of Ethiopia. You can’t spell Jamaica without Jah neither can you love music without loving the people of this proud island nation. I want to personally thank you for the way you love Ethiopia and how you continue to honor the legacy and pride of Adwa through your music and through your spirits. Emperor Haile Selassie once visited Jamaica and that visit was seen as God’s blessing by Jamaicans. Know that the blessing goes both ways for your nation has graced Ethiopia with melodic love and the kindness of the humble givers you are. Shashemene has been and will forever be a fountain of rejuvenation for any Ethiopian who travels to that wonderful community. Be patient, there is a promise of restoration and redemption yet coming—a prophecy of fiker (love). It goes by the psalms of 68:31 (link).
I mention the continent of Ethiopia at the start of this paragraph for the continent we now imprudently call Africa was once called Ethiopia. So you are Ethiopian just like me and so was Bob Marley. Redemption songs are found when we understand that we are all one people for love is a gift that knows no boundaries nor is it limited by any barrier. They keep silencing prophets who speak this love and unity but their message only gets more powerful upon their death. Prophets thus don’t die, they live on through words and the riddim which is all around us #MarleyRiddimLives
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~ Bob Marley
Check out the video “Lions” that continues the legacy of Bob Marley through the voice of Skip Marley. Trust me, the passion and talent did not skip his generation. Love skipped right into his heart and from his heart into our spirits if we let it.
Stay tuned, a Ghion Cast (podcast) with amazing music and a message of love and unity is now being edited and will be added to this article as a YouTube video in a couple of hours. Until then, enjoy this prior Ghion Cast I recorded about Teddy Afro, Ethiopia’s musical giant, who loves and honors Bob Marley in his music.
WE ARE ALL ETHIOPIAN!
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.