November 1, 2006

Results of Bob Marley/Rastafari Survey

First, give thanks to all who participated. I have learned a great deal and the survey has confirmed many of the thoughts that I’ve had about Rastafari and Bob Marley.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Here are a few clips and thoughts about the survey.

Questions 1: Gender
Female: 52%
Male: 42%

Question 2: How old are you?
15-25: 10%
26-35: 29%
36-45: 26%
46-55: 29%
56 or older: 6%

Summary: Questions 1 and 2:
I was really happy that so many women (52%) took part in the survey and I was equally pleased with the distribution of the curve.

Questions 3: What is your country of origin?
Caribbean: 35%
North American: 48%
European: 3%
African: 13%
Summary: Question3
I’d have loved to have had more African representation, but if ah so, ah so.

Question 4: In what country do you currently reside?
Caribbean: 6%
North American: 77%
European: 10%
African: 6%
Summary: Question 4

This may say more about bloggers and our migratory patterns. I'm thinking about a book that Francis Wade mentioned on his blog, Flight of the Creative Class.

Questions 5: Are you Rastafari?
Yes: 13%
No: 87%

Question 6: Has the Rastafari movement influenced your life?
Yes: 84%
No: 16%
Summary: Questions 5 and 6.
In a way, I was also glad that so many non-Rastafarians took the survey because it illustrates the impact that Rastafari has had on the non-believers like myself.

Question 7: If you answered YES, give me one example of how the Rastafari movement has influenced your life.
· I just love TRUE Rastafari, calm, loving people who are so aware of self and place. Great folks to lyme with.
· One example of how the Rastafari movement has influenced my life is by making me more aware/conscious of our history, culture, traditions, teachings, way of life, and how we are all connected.
· I was raised by a Rastafarian father. I believe that a lot of the love I have for being a Jamaican of African descent stems from the link that Rastafari has with the nationalist movement. My father always taught me to love this. When we wanted to process our hair, he would ask with such concern why we would want to change it as beautiful as it was already. I believe the self-love that I was taught as a child enabled me to respect myself and accept other cultures, loving no matter what "race" a person is deemed by society, most importantly without denigrating myself.
· Through its liberation philosophy and its self-empowerment teachings.
· One example is the idea of wearing natural hair. Dreadlocks, specifically
· In the late 70s and 80s, Rastafari was a clean way of living and came with a tremendous spirituality and love for our brothers.
· The "One Love, One Blood" is important to me and other people around me to understand that we are no different from each other. We have the same needs, dreams, and hopefully the same values. Skin color doesn't matter it's just a matter of ridding the world of downpressors.
· This may seem like a silly example but Rastafari made me as a black person feel great pride for being black and also changed me attitude to black hair. I realised it didn't have to be straightened or be in extensions etc. Now I have my hair in twists :-)
Summary: Question 7
Rastafari has had a psychological, political, religious, and cultural impact that has expressed itself in self-pride, connection with Africa, appraisal of religious beliefs, and changes in diet and hairstyles.

Question 8: To what, if anything, do you credit the global spread of the Rastafari?
· Bob Marley.
· Bob Marley, Reggae, Peter Tosh, Winston Rodney, Afrikan Dreamland
· Reggae
· Ganja smoking
Summary; Question 8
Nuff said.

Question 9: How has Bob Marley's music influenced your life?
· It has been the backdrop of many introductions to foreign people and lifestyles. I tell people I am Jamaican.
· His music made me realise that I wasn't alone in wanting to change things. It made me feel great, to put it simply, and told me that there was hope after all.
As a writer, Marley and reggae in general, taught me that Jamaica patois could be used as the voice of serious literary thought. Those complex themes could be discussed in songs and words. This contrasted with the Louise Bennett school of minstrelsy which relegated patois to slapstick or the Roger Mais school of distance which relegated it to the voice of "those people"
Bob Marley showed me that life is beautiful.
· His music brought me closer to my religious upbringing and moved me to revisit Biblical quotes and passages that I had not read in decades.
Bob's music was a part of what helped me to be strong while growing up. It always gave me hope, even when things could have been better. I feel that his music helped in my brainwashing (a very good thing!) with the positive messages that he wrote. It just felt as if everything he sang came from the heart
· Have found comfort and truth in his music and camaraderie with others when listening to his music.
· It hasn't really influenced it, to me its just music that I enjoy, like any other.
· Influenced my Pan Africanism -Influenced my Black pride -Influenced my taste in music with conscious lyrics -Influenced my pride in my Jamaican heritage -Influenced my musicianship (especially Aston "Fams" Barrett).
· He is definitely prophet through music.
· It's made me a happier person. Release yourself from mental can anyone forget his lyrics?
· He truly changed my outlook on life.
· To stand up to what is wrong, and at the same time refuse to be subdued. I am a rebel. I am an African - with a culture full of moral values. Bob's music laments the division of Africa and calls for its unity.

Summary: Question 9
Bob Marley’s has had a psychological, religious, political, and cultural impact. And some people just like to dance.

Again, this survey has been a real eye-opener for me and I've learned many things just by doing it. In fact, I can feel a post coming on. More importantly, however, I'm interested in your comments.


Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon said...

I've been a Marley fan since '75 when I was 19...Bob's had a significant impact on my life. First, I was amazed that as a young kid who grew up in the mountains of Oregon his music was able to find me (same as ten years earlier when the Beatles' music sought me out!).

Secondly, I've always loved the 'revolutionary' attitude of his music, as well as the pure, sweet love songs that seemed to pour out as effortlessly as the fighting songs.

Finally, his life story holds great meaning for anyone: his steadfastness on keeping to his one true path (putting his music out in to the world). Purely as a life lesson, this is a great story to learn from and model as you can. Of course we are all different, but the truly great artists seemed to have no choice - they NEEDED to follow the path they chose. Or, to be more pointed, the path chose them and they followed it come hell or high water.

But the bottom line is, no matter what I'm doing, when I hear a Marley/Wailers song come on it brings a smile to me - there he is, decades later, still spreading his music and messages.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Tim,
This was also part of the aim of the survey--to bring the Wailers fan out of the woodwork and to try and give an objective measure. It was also fun to do.
Give thanks for dropping by.


Stephen A. Bess said...

This was a great survey. I've learned more about the Rastafarianism. The influences seem very positive and uplifting.


Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Stephen,
Yeah, it was! I mean we know of Bob and Rastafari's influence, but HOW these influences manist themselves in people's lives and in the world always fascinated me. I think I have part of the answer. And like I said with the female contribution, that was also aa mssing part of the picture for me.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Stephen. One thing that I've always tried to remove from Rastafarianism and Reggae in general, is the outward trappings of people who know little of the movement. They associate it with smoking, dreadlocks, and listening to loud reggae.

One of my brothers dabbled for a while in Rastafarianism, and he neither smoked nor had dreads.

For me, as an African, Marley came around at the right time, and told us to "Set it up in-a Zimbabwe." He encouraged us to look the beast in the eye in song.

The poll result do have a few unexpected turns, but all in all, the polls confirms many of my beliefs about Rastafarianism.