KINGSTON (Reuters) – Jamaicans celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of late reggae legend Bob Marley on Friday with a jamming session at his former home and a free concert as the Caribbean island continues to wrestle over his place in its pantheon of heroes.
A “mini-jam session” is scheduled at Marley’s former home at Hope Road, north of Kingston, as well as discussions on reggae, a popular genre that began in Jamaica in the 1960s with strong influences from calypso and jazz and lyrics of social protest.
A free concert on the Kingston waterfront on Saturday is expected to draw crowds, and local reggae artists, including one of Marley’s sons, Ky-Mani, are set to perform. Police have announced traffic detours and street closures in anticipation of the throngs.
No new heroes have been added since the 1980s and a committee has been examining nominations for the last three years, with Marley and former Prime Minister Michael Manley among a list of 10 names mentioned.
Some committee members are believed to oppose Marley because he smoked marijuana and sometimes disrespected authority as part of his Rastafarian faith which rejects materialism.
The Marley family is celebrating the birthday by launching a “feel good social video movement” titled #Share1Love to honor Marley’s vision of a better world.