- Purchase/rental options available:
This paper examines two prevalent representations of Bob Marley in popular culture: Marley as a revolutionary and Marley as an icon of peace. It contends that although his legacy is often reduced to an essential meaning such as peace promoter or an advocate of violence, a closer look at his life and lyrics suggests that Marley's views of peace and violence were more complex. I problematize these binary readings by contextualizing Bob Marley using his religious faith in Rastafari, his sociopolitical background, and Caribbean liberation theology. I suggest that for Marley peace meant freedom and the presence of universal equal rights and justice. I argue that there is enough ambiguity in the songs, and relevant context, to suggest that a metaphorical reading of violence is only one possible way to understand these songs and propose that another possible reading is that he did not necessarily rule out violence as a viable option for attaining peace.