Marley statue rise in London as others fall in US cities

A view of the front entrance to the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston
A view of the front entrance to the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Dec. 13, 2013.
REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy/File

“Say you just can’t live that negative way,

If you know what I mean;

Make way for the positive day

‘Cause it’s a news day (new day)

and if it’s a new feelin’ (new feelin’) yeah

Said it’s a new sign (new sign) Oh what a new day!”

“Positive Vibration” — Robert Nesta Marley


When Rastafarians opine the fate of Babylon, they often claim the manifestation will be evidenced by the toppling of dynasties, kingdoms, powerful nations and their monuments.

Avowed believers have even predicted the dismantling of symbols, relics and treasures associated with military conquests, slavery and acquisition of wealth.

Last year following the disheartening visual image surrounding the brutal murder of Floyd Lloyd, a national movement to dishonor previously revered white heroes resulted with frequent removals of their monuments and statues.

Incensed activists collaborated on efforts to mobilize movements devoted to rewriting history; deface constructs perceived by Black citizens as constant provocation and embarrassment in order to challenge the status quo.

Trophies honoring confederate generals and even a president were hauled from their bases.

From the steps of New York’s Museum of Natural History where Teddy Roosevelt sat atop his horse flanked by a Native American and a Black man — to city squares and circles throughout the south, Civil War soldiers were dragged from their poised positions.

However, in contrast to the protests here, next week, a seven-foot, bronze, statue of Robert Nesta Marley— Jamaica’s most public Rastafarian — will be hoisted in the Baltic Triangle of Liverpool, England.

Probably the first erected in tribute to a Rastafarian, non-resident Black man, its unveiling will be the second for a Jamaican national.

In 2016, Mary Seacole, another Jamaican was regaled with a statue in London. The unveiling marked the first Black woman to receive the extraordinary recognition in England.

She was nurse who helped beat the cholera scourge during the Crimean War.

Her story has been well documented.

How Rastafarian Marley is able to penetrate the confines of royal dominance seems the unlikeliest imaginable recognition.

His music has always denounced the excesses of colonial nations, considered by Rastafarians and conscientious activists as the epitome of Babylonia.

Marley’s lyrics often condemned inequities of the oppressed.

And yet a faction of British society sees fit to place the image of a foreign-born, Rastafarian among those of the most respected in Britain. They plan to celebrate with a festival named in honor of one of Marley’s best-selling compositions.

Organizers of the five-year-old Positive Vibration Festival commissioned the bronze monument.

Their explanation is “After a turbulent and difficult year for everyone, divisiveness has come to define a lot of public discourse.”

“Marley is a cultural icon who is recognized and adored all around the world, and his positive messages are needed now more than ever.”

A spokesperson added that from Sept. 10 “Marley’s message of peace, love and unity is to be on full display at the Positive Vibration Festival.”

The festival will encompass a two-day celebration with exhortations of reggae music, Jamaican cultural activities and tributes to the avowed first Third World Superstar and king of reggae.

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