Bob Marley’s 77th birthday was celebrated on February 6 with a conch note abengan animal horn used as a musical instrument, at 6 a.m. at his former home at 56 Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica.
The Trenchtown home of the world’s most famous cannabis ambassador is now the Bob Marley Museum, Jamaica’s biggest tourist attraction with over 60,000 visitors a year.
Bob Marley’s birthday took place under the theme Roots 77inspired by his song Roots, and was commemorated with a live reggae concert broadcast by radio Tuff Gong. The event was hosted by some of Bob Marley’s descendants, including his sons Ziggy, Stephen, Ky-Mani, Julian and Damian.
Bob Marley’s estate is now worth over $100 million
Marley’s estate is now worth more than $100 million and is largely in the control of his disabled widow Rita and second-born daughter Cedella. It includes the Bob Marley Museum and a recording studio in Kingston (both), a vinyl and CD press factory, record stores and a bookstore, and an avalanche of family-approved merchandise: cannabis and body care products, headphones and other audio devices, coffee, and even a line of “functional mushrooms” that has just been launched. But not his musical catalog.
A few years after Marley died, aged 36, in May 1981, an audit of his assets revealed only $250,000. Today, the family business earns at least $20 million a year, according to figures from Cannabiz Africa.
Cedella Marley said if her father was still alive he would probably be growing cannabis and joked that he would “be in trouble” over compliance issues.
A new live album titled “Easy Skanking in Boston ’78” will also be released this month, according to the Bob Marley Group of Companies. It will include two concerts given at Boston’s Music Hall in June 1978.
Will Bob Marley be declared a national hero of Jamaica?
In Jamaica, where Reggae Month is hailed, calls are mounting for Marley to be named a national hero. Perhaps when the island’s 60th anniversary of independence is celebrated next August, another milestone for Marley will be reached.
No new heroes have been added since the 1980s and a committee has been reviewing nominations for three years, with Bob Marley and former Prime Minister Michael Manley on a list of 10 names mentioned.
“It is high time the government made him our eighth national hero,” said Errol Campbell, 57, a mechanic, also from Kingston. “Bob was a reggae genius who did more for Jamaica than most by popularizing our music,” he added.
Some committee members reportedly opposed Marley because he smoked cannabis and practiced civil disobedience.
An annual “One Love” charity football match was played in honor of Bob Marley on February 18, 2022, with the participation of celebrities such as Olympic sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.