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How Bob Marley changed the meaning of Marcus Garvey’s “One Love”.

Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley

The goal of the great Marcus Garvey was for the Black race to become one unit regardless if they were in Africa or scattered in the western hemisphere by the oppressors.  Garvey’s motto for Blacks was “One God, One Aim, One Destiny” and he would end all of his speeches with the phrase “One Love”, even though he would drag the word love so it sounded more like One Loooooove.

Garvey coined the phrase “One Love” to promote self-love amongst Black people who were taught to hate themselves for so long.  The one God of which Marcus Garvey spoke was the “God of Ethiopia, the everlasting God”.  This is the same God that Leonard Howell a student of Marcus Garvey looked to when he started the Rasta movement.  As the Rasta movement grew in Pinnacle (A Rasta community formed by Howell in St. Catherine, Jamaica), One Love also became the motto within the community.

The cry of One Love signifying unity amongst Black people to combat white oppression lasted for decades until Bob Marley decided to put the phrase in a song.  It is not known if Bob had the same intention for the phrase as did its creator Marcus Garvey or even Garvey’s student, Percival Howell.  What we know is that reggae song “One Love” is actually a cover version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People get Ready” but Bob replace Mayfield chorus with the Marcus Garvey’s One Love.

With Garvey’s phrase put to song, the phrase has completely lost its meaning.  Instead of promoting Black love, One Love now means that Black people have no right to love themselves unless they love all other ethnicities also.

The hippies who could care less about Black progress saw the Rasta movement as something cool to be a part of and used the One Love phrase as a stamp of approval that they can be part of the Rasta movement if they choose to.  Black sellouts or Bag-a-wire, as we prefer to call them, were all too happy to feel loved by whites that they did not care if it was true love or if the so-called love even included respect.

So with hippies wanting to be a part of Black culture for the “coolness” and not the struggle, couple with self-hating Blacks dying to feel accepted, Garvey’s One Love that was supposed signify Black unity has become a cry of kumbaya.

 

 

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2 Comments on How Bob Marley changed the meaning of Marcus Garvey’s “One Love”.

  1. Roy Sweetland // January 3, 2018 at 3:20 am // Reply

    Bob Marley’s One Love is not a Cover version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get ready” as you incorrectly stated. ONE LOVE is indeed a phrase that the hon. Marcus Garvey used as parting greetings. The lyrics of Curtis song is completely different from Marley’s One Love and in contrast reflects Marley’s Rastafarian outlook versus Mayfield’s Christian misguided views, If you search all of Bob’s song you will never find any line that Curtist used in his song, In crediting Mayfield, Marley wanted to show the contrast between his Rastafarian livity and the Christian beLIEf, Curtis made an empatic statement in people get ready with “There is place for a hopeless sinner who has hurt manking jus to save his own soul” While Bob did not make a remark but instead asked a question and make it clear he prefaced that line by saying in One Love “Let hem all pass their dirty remarks, there is one question i really want to ask, IS THERE A PLACE FOR A HOPELESS SINNER who has hurt all mankind just save his own …..BELIEF” not SOUL .. Lets get together to fight this hold armagedon son when the MAN come there will be no DOOM

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roy Sweetland // January 3, 2018 at 5:59 am // Reply

    Bob Marley’s One Love is not a Cover version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get ready” as you incorrectly stated. ONE LOVE is indeed a phrase that the hon. Marcus Garvey used as a parting greeting. The lyrics of Curtis song is completely different from Marley’s One Love and in contrast reflects Marley’s Rastafarian outlook versus Mayfield’s Christian misguided views, If you search all of Bob’s song you will never find any line that Curtis used in his song, In crediting Mayfield, Marley wanted to show the contrast between his Rastafarian livity and the Christian beLIEf, Curtis made an empatic statement in people get ready with “There is NO place for the hopeless sinner who has hurt mankind jus to save his own soul” While Bob did not make a remark but instead asked a question and to make it clear he prefaced that line by saying in One Love “Let them all pass their dirty remarks, there is one question i really want to ask, IS THERE A PLACE FOR A HOPELESS SINNER who has hurt all mankind just save his own …..BELIEF” not SOUL .. Lets get together to fight this holy armagedon so when the MAN come there will be no DOOM

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