The following was written by Alex Mathews and is in response to: Reggae was born and died with Bob Marley.
Desmond Dekker made reggae international on a worldwide stage and blazed a path for “all” the rest to follow. In the 1960s this Dekker and Prince Buster were the “only” two internationally acknowledged ska and reggae artist in the world. Both had numerous hits and high profiles. Their achievements should not and cannot be underestimated; the results of it were reggae’s resultant triumphs in the 1970s & beyond.
Both Desmond Dekker and Prince Buster are revered in England especially by the original Skinheads and two tone rude boys & the mods. Their hard work & endeavors created the platform for all reggae artists who followed them to achieve global success.
Bob Marley was just another artist in reggae when he was involved in a parochial reggae scene. Until of course a wealthy Chris Blackwell took him under his corporate wings and sold him to a white audience, diluting Rastafari and the teachings of Marcus Garvey, all for the sake of commercial gains. Of course, before all of this, Chris Blackwell had to convince him to abandon his Black brothers in Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
Once Bob Marley saw that he could make a lot more money from a white audience, the man who sang, “This is Black man redemption” and “Am a survivor, a Black survivor” changed his tone to, “I don’t dip for the Black man or the white man, I dip for God.” A venerable ethos in a perfect world but not in reality. What Bob Marley did in this change of stance, was a classic example of; where you sit is where you stand. In the ghettos of Trench Town, he was with the Black man or pretended to be with the Black man but in the search for maximum financial gain from a white audience, he sold them out in a second.
The least Bob Marley could do is ‘dip’ for the BLACK MAN because EVERYTHING he had and became successful with, was created by and belonged to the BLACK MAN. But don’t expect gratitude! Certain whites with an agenda seem to have a habit of colonizing & anointing Black art forms with false ‘KINGS’ and ‘QUEENS’.
For example: Bix Biederbeckie king of Dixieland jazz, Benny Goodman the king of swing, Woody Guthrie king of folk blues, Chet Barker king of Be Bop, Peggy Lee queen of jazz singing, Frank Sinatra the king of jazz singers, Elvis Presley the king of Rock n Roll, The Beatles kings of rock, Eminem the king of Rap.
The only constant here is that they are all white interlopers in Black art forms that have superior practitioners in every field. In the 70s, there were not “good white” reggae artist to attribute the kingship to, Matisyahu wasn’t around then, Bob Marley was the closest to white that they could find.
Bob Marley is a continuation of this odious practice by the white media to rush to white! So as to deny credit to the original Black creators. A biracial person is given credence that is undeserved to feed a particular white racist agenda.
NO! Reggae music did NOT die with Bob Marley, just another useless, desperate white totem.