Fitting as yesterday would have been his 69th birthday, I came across a "10-things-you-didn't-know-about" Bob Marley story that blew my tight little topknot ten feet high. The similarities between "Tuff Gong" (that would be Bob) and this bling-lovin' "Geishanista" (that would be me) are beyond AMAZEBALLS. Of course, I had to share.
Let's get right down to it — he loves reggae, I love reggae. Yup. I'd even bake a red, yellow, and green-striped cake in honor of the endless hours spent listening to "Rastaman Vibration" back in the day, but we all know that could end badly ... and I'm not talkin' funny brownies. Nothin' says lovin' like hemp-glazed goodies, but ovens are bastions of pure Bavarian evil at its Black Forest best. Think Hansel and Gretel. (See German reference below.)
Aside from both of us being singer/songwriters with measurable disdain for "The Man," what could Bob and I possibly have in common? Jump aboard the Zion Train and compare the deets ... simply put, you'll be bowled over. (No pun intended.)
Iconic Rastafarian reggae superstar. Jamaican legend. Philanthropist. Dad.
Fabulous, quirky underdog with killer biceps. Comedic rapper. Label whore. Mom.
So far, crazy, right? For starters, everyone knows what he was smokin', yet no one's quite sure what my deal is. Heh-heh. (A stretch, perhaps, but SUCH a kawinkydink.) Next in a long line of implausible parallels, he hated his birth name, Nesta Robert Marley. BINGO! I hate mine too. (Not tellin'.) Hence, why I answer to any and all of the following: Lady Geisha, Lady G, Lady G-lo (me an' Jenny are both from Bronx blocks), or LG. Or Yakeii Tiesha. Or Zoe Black. Or Zo-Zo, as a friend affectionately calls me. (Is there some sick subliminal Bozo reference there? Not quite sure, though you'll never catch me in an orange wig.)
Moving on to commonality number three ... Bob possessed the ability to read palms starting at age four. (Much to his mother's shock--and horror--when his predictions actually came true.) Moi? I have psychic dreams in which I telecommunicate with people. Sure as I'm one chopstick short of a pair, the very next day that dream plays out in real life. I kid you not. (There are witnesses.)
Both TG and I had childhood demons which made us even tougher. Bob was known by Kingston peeps as a "white boy"because he was bi-racial. (His dad, Norval Marley, was a Euro-Jamaican of British heritage.) Growing up in the Bronx, I was known as "twiggy legs" for having super skinny legs like Twiggy's. (The 1960's model.) Clearly it was due to my pasty "white girl" half-German, half-Irish descent. Uncanny, eh? That's what I said.
Here's another biggie. Bob, quite the ladies man, had one famous, albeit slightly overused, pick-up line. "Yuh wan have ma baby?" charmed countless women right out of their tams. (Evidently it worked. He has 11 confirmed children, three with wife Rita.) Though I wouldn't exactly call it a "pick-up line," one of MY all-time favorites is "So you've heard of me?" after strange men say my name upon meeting. Boy, the stories I could tell. (One confirmed child.)
Having grown up in poverty, Bob was uber-generous once he attained success, and supported many less fortunate. Let's just say I, too, grew up appreciating every damn dime. To that point, I'm currently working on geisha-tastic projects that will enable me to contribute to various charities, specifically those supporting single parents, women, gay/lesbian rights, animals, and the creative arts. What the ...? We could've been twins. Just sayin'.
Lastly, one of Bob's most famous quotes is "Love the life you live. Live the life you love." Well, SHUT UP -- THAT'S MY FAVE QUOTE EVER! Can you believe it? Talk about six degrees of separation. It's like we had the same brain.
During my punk-rock-girl-pack days at Irving Plaza's reggae nights in NYC, I had no clue Bob and I were such simpatico souls. His lyrics lingered in my strangely shaven head over and over and over -- like smoke circles. (Another coincidence? I think not.) The signs were all there, but I'd been blinded by mohawks in a sea of dreads.
If anyone ever told me how much we had in common, I'd never have left Montego Bay during a spring break vacay with a wacked-out Sicilian BF. F*ck that maan, I could've partied with BOB and, IMO, we could've made beautiful music together. Could you see me as a Wailer? No, really. (Mwahahaha.)
Luckily, I can still relive those days via several very well-worn cassette tapes that survived the decades since. It's easy breezy to kick back, play the songs, and light one up (an aroma therapy candle, that is ... what were YOU thinking?), yet somehow this newfound knowledge of our special connection presents me with a higher responsibility to honor this talented man. To honor his music. To honor the political angst. To honor "US."
As I'm set to record two new songs this month, maybe, just maybe, I'll mull over a potential third. Now, and this could be a stretch, is anyone up for "GANJA-MANIA"? ('Cuz we know damn well "Everybody's doin' it, everybody's doin' it!")
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