Legislator in Jamaica Calls for Bob Marley to be Named Official Country Hero

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A Jamaican legislator has called for reggae legend Bob Marley to be named a national hero of the country.

The legislator, Lisa Hanna, is asking the nation’s parliament to dub the legendary songwriter and performer an official national hero, a move that is one of many recently seeking to honor the country’s history outside of their harsh colonial past.

The English-speaking Caribbean nation is one of many countries in the region with a history of violence from European invasion. Now, many want to reclaim their heritage and separate from that.

The Marley proposal comes from Hanna and if adopted it would make the “No Woman No Cry” singer a national hero—officially. That title is already held by seven Jamaicans, including Black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey and the nation’s first prime minister Alexander Bustamante, Reuters reports.

“Bob Marley deserves that recognition because he lived a very short life that transformed the thinking of people around the world,” Hanna told the news outlet.

The move comes months after Barbados gave a similar recognition to the current pop star Rihanna during a November ceremony on the island, which also has ties to the British colonialism and monarchy.

As of now, it’s unclear whether the parliament will adopt Hanna’s motion, but the legislator says she hopes it will be approved in time for the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence on August 6.

Marley, who was born in 1945 in the rural area of St. Ann to a white English father and a Black Jamaican mother, moved to Trench Town in Kingston when he was 12 years old. That’s where he and fellow musicians developed their reggae sound.

Marley died in 1981 of melanoma, skin cancer.

Marcia Griffiths, who sang with Marley for years, including on “No Woman, No Cry,” supports Hanna. Griffiths says, “Bob is a legend and an icon who has done so much for the entire world.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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