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Music and Social Change

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This paper will examine the reggae music genre, discussing its impact on society. Bob Marley, as well as other notable reggae artists, has a definite influence on the society as they advocate for social change through their music.During his brief life (1945-1981), Bob Marley rose from obscurity and poverty to international superstardom. Bob Marley remains the single third world artist to attain such worldwide acclaim. Bob Marley attained this status through charisma and ambition, and was it, not for these traits, reggae music would still be restricted to Jamaican ghettoes, which was its origin. Bob’s life changed when Haile Selassie visited Jamaica. Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian Emperor, was a cherished savior of Africans in Jamaica. Bob’s ideologies shifted after spending one year in America where he witnessed the evils of the free market, as well as the oppression of capitalism while working at a major corporation (Stephens 34). After returning to Jamaica, Bob established the Rastafarianism religion, which entailed wearing his hair in dreadlocks. Rastafarianism had a significant influence on Bob’s music as he sang about how the white race oppressed Africans. Bob’s main songs that speak to social change are Buffalo Soldier and Could You be Loved.Bob’s reputation transcended the controversy associated with his practice of Rastafarianism. He was regarded as a peacemaker, which is notable through his Smile Jamaica concert that sought to reduce tensions between rival gangs associated with two of the main national parties during an election period (White 124). Bob and his best friend Bunny wrote many songs that had a monumental impact on the Jamaican and global society. Bob used his music to send off messages of hope, love, and peace (Jah). At the end of all his songs, Bob Marley used the words Jah Rastafari to show his belief in Jah, i.e. peace and love.