I was at a Bob Marley Tribute concert a couple of weeks ago at the House of Blues. A fellow actor peep hooked me up w/ a free ticket & a backstage pass. I had a sneaking feeling that this would probably bring out a majority white audience & lot of people who liken rastafari to weed & not any the political stance that led to the liberation of Jamaica from British rule. There was the usual suspects...the white hippies from yester year, the Rastafari elders w/natty dreads, the white frat boys, sistah's looking to show thier winding skills, the white women looking to explore thier Jungle fever & the blk man who are happy participants. Thier were several musicians who were all talented & brought thier version of the brillance that was Bob Marley to life on the stage. What was missing for me is the real reverence for the lyrics of what Bob Marley was writing. I saw people especially white couples who were grinding to the words of Jah, Love or Exodus. Young, white men singing "Irie" with drinks in thier hands coming from thier post at AIG. Black men who were just looking to get thier "packages" rubbed out on anyone's backside. Obviously, I understand it's a concert and people have to express themselves but I wondered when did roots reggae become a place for people to unleash thier inhibitions. When did the music of political liberation become reduced to frat boy excess? I am certain that dancehall ( which I am a fan of) is partly the culprit but also the commercialization of Bob Marley. He has become a cool product placement & the political commentary has gotten lost in everyone wanting to feel "Irie". Bob Marley literally risked his life in perserving the progress of Jamaica & speaking about the economic injustices that run rampant in the third world. His love songs were few, he used his prestige as a platform for political movement and commentary. He used his beauty & sexuality as a way to lure people to hear about the pain which is the everyday reality of many, many people. He enjoyed all the carnal & financial benefits of being a rock star but his private home was an open place & his religion was always at the forefront. He was a falliable man, especially in his emotional life but as a freedom fighter his vision was crystal clear & watching that audience at the House of Blues just brought sadness to my heart. I cant imagine that this was the legacy he wanted & how his birthday should be recognized. Again, there is no resolution just a commentary from a blk chick who lives in NYC.
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An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.