7 Ways To Celebrate Bob Marley (Besides The Obvious)

When it comes to cannabis culture icons, one name tops the list: Bob Marley, who tragically died of cancer 35 years ago today at the age of 36. His work with The Wailers helped introduce reggae - and its pro-cannabis stances - to mainstream American culture. And in return, America - as well as much of the world - embraced Marley as a symbol of peace and tolerance.

To celebrate Marley's life, here are six ways you can pay tribute to the legend.

1. Listen to the 'Song of the Millennium'

It's impossible to pick one song as Marley's best. But the most historical song is arguably "One Love," which the BBC selected as the song of the millennium in 1999.

Check out the music video, featuring cameos from Paul McCartney and Musical Youth. (Anyone remember "Pass the Dutchie"?).

2. Go sightseeing

If you need any proof that Bob Marley is loved the world over, just consider the number of tributes paid to him. In New York City, you can check out Bob Marley Boulevard in Brooklyn. In Banatski Sokolac, Serbia, a statue of Marley has helped Serbs and Croats put aside conflicts and celebrate peace and tolerance in a land that was torn apart by war during the dissolution of Yugoslavia. And India hosts a number of Bob Marley Restaurants in cities like Agra, where patrons can enjoy local food and Marley grooves.

But the best tribute has got to be the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica. The museum is located in a home where Marley lived from 1975 until his death in 1981. The site features tons of Marley memorabilia and the One Love Cafe, where visitors can enjoy Jamaican cuisine. Famous patrons have included President Barack Obama, who visited the museum last April.

Here's a sneak peak:

3. Kick the ball around

Simply put, Bob Marley didn't like football (soccer)...he loved it. In 1979, he told a reporter:

"Football is a whole skill to itself. A whole world. A whole universe to itself. Me love it because you have to be skillful to play it! Freedom! Football is freedom."

And he also once said:

"If you want to get to know me, you will have to play football against me and the Wailers."

So if you want to celebrate his life, consider kicking the ball around while playing some classic tunes. And if the weather won't let you hit the field, you can sit back and learn some moves by watching a master at work.

Bob Marley had game:

4. Listen to some tributes

There is no shortage of bands paying homage to Marley by putting their own spin on his tunes. If you've got some time, give a listen this collection of 20 covers. But if you're just looking for a quick hit, you can't go wrong with The Fugees' take on "No Woman, No Cry."

We also put together this mix of some other great covers of 'No Woman, No Cry' for our Facebook fans.

5. Read a modern classic

If you're not into sports and want to spent a quiet weekend at home, check out Marlon James' novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, which features a fictionalized account of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. The novel won the Man Booker prize in 2015.

Here's James discussing Marley and his novel:

6. Check out Marley's marijuana product line...or don't

Marley Natural - a New York startup backed by Privateer Holdings in partnership with the Marley estate - is using the reggae icon's birthday weekend to launch a line of cannabis strains branded after their namesake. The strains will be available first in California's medical dispensaries, but they will soon be offered for recreational use in the legal states. The Marley Natural line also include beauty products and smoking accessories that will be available nationwide.

So you could celebrate Marley's life by picking up something from the line...or by boycotting it altogether. Some critics have misgivings about the marketing of Marley's name, and the company's association with Privateer.

Mike Alleyne, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and author of The Encyclopedia of Reggae, told Verge:

"Given Marley's anti-capitalist, anti-establishment identity, the idea of having a company that evokes the name of centuries-old pirates, and a very negative tradition of imperialist assault... sends a lot of the wrong messages. I'm not sure if anyone involved in the whole process is thinking about it, but it's not a good conceptual foundation for this enterprise."

Meanwhile, VICE has criticized Marley Natural for exploiting Marley and Jamaica.

But the company presents itself as part of Marley's vision and a new era in his posthumous legacy. Take a look and decide for yourself if the company is honoring or exploiting the icon:

7. Put away the alcohol and meditate

In the 1979 documentary "Come a Long Way," Bob Marley explained that he prefers marijuana to alcohol. "Alcohol make you drunk, man. It don't make you meditate. When you drink alcohol, you don't meditate - you're more giddy-headed. Herb is more a consciousness."

Check out the full clip - including Marley's reflections on Rastafarianism - here:

h/t Billboard, BET, The Guardian, Open Culture, Paste Magazine, The Verge, VICE

banner image: Flickr / julio zeppelin


After a battery of tests and misdiagnoses, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease twelve years ago, and thus began a long battle with trial-and-error medical treatments. I changed my diet several times, even though my doctors didn’t seem confident it would change much (it didn’t), went to physical therapy for pain-related issues, and took so many different pharmaceuticals I can’t even begin to recall each and every one. My days were foggy due to side effects from pharmaceuticals, such as steroids, that made me feel worse than I did before I even took them.

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