This Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, marked the world premiere of the highly anticipated “Bob Marley: One Love” biopic. Following the life of the Jamaican singer-songwriter, the viewers watch as the emerging star deals with the outbreak of hate and violence around him as he pushes back against extreme adversity to transform the art of reggae. Cultivating mixed reviews at the end of its first week in the box office, critics compliment the movie on its depiction of Marley’s legendary influence, but denounce its poor script and lacking storyline. 

Growing up, for me, Bob Marley’s music was always on rotation at the beach. Its calming and peaceful tone was the perfect backdrop for a day in the sand. As I grew older and began to understand his lyrics more deeply, I realized that these songs were so much more than their good-feeling beats. Containing messages about love, life, peace and the presence of God, Marley’s music urged to transform the polarized world around him, sentiments that still hold extreme importance today.

Marley was so much more than a man with a guitar; he was a son, a husband, a father and, most importantly, a man who was willing to use his talent for good. Wanting to “get together and feel alright”, my roommate and I spent this past Friday watching the biopic and enjoying every moment. Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the man himself, the British actor embodied the person that Bob Marley was beautifully. Stepping away from the media’s musical megastar persona, Ben-Adir was able to portray the heavy vibrations and humanity of the reggae icon, depicting him in a way that was “pure and true.” Award winning actress Lashana Lynch goes above and beyond in her dynamic performance. As she pours her heart and soul into the role of Rita Marley, Lynch is able to shed light on Rita’s importance, rather than allow her narrative to be overlooked and diminished to that of merely the wife or the mother, emphasizing the notion that “wisdom is better than silver and gold.” 

Staying true to the musical legend’s words, the soundtrack in this film asserts that “when [the music] hits you, you feel no pain.” As the audience watches the unruly world that surrounds Marley, they are able to observe how he used his music as a tool to promote goodness. While the reggae singer found himself experiencing his own afflictions in life, Marley is able to turn to his music, rather than the violence seen by so many of those in his community. 

While critics may have harsh things to say about the storyline, upon my own viewing, I thought the biopic did an astonishing job emphasizing the message of the film. That message happens to be the same message that Marley asserted throughout his life and the message that continues on as his legacy: that being granted a life is a blessing, and that one should live that life in a way that promotes ultimate positivity, peace, love and goodness; that each and every one of us needs to, “Wake up and live, y’all/Wake up and live;” that when you see trouble in the world, we need not be afraid, as “All you got to do: [is] give a little.” 

Whether or not you are a Bob Marley fan, this biopic is a must see. “Bob Marley: One Love” is a perfect piece to celebrate not only Black History Month but the lasting important impact of a musical and political trailblazer. Still holding true today, Marley’s message asserts, “We got to fight the system, because God never made no difference between black, white, blue, pink or green. People is people, y’know. That’s the message we try to spread.”

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