Leading Bob Marley Archivist Speaks About the Legend

Photo Courtesy of Monosnaps, Flickr Creative Commons

A multimedia presentation titled “The Life of Bob Marley” was well-attended by a mass of students intrigued by the life and work of legendary reggae musician and icon Bob Marley this past Monday. 

The creator of this presentation, Roger Steffens, is the leading archivist of Bob Marley materials. Steffens is also a radio personality and has been featured on television shows like VH1’s “Behind the Music,” “American Masters” and “VH1 Confidential/Ultimate Albums.”

The event, which was held in the Sharp Theater, welcomed a full crowd of over 100 students, professors and Bob Marley enthusiasts. Marley has been an incredibly popular and well-known figure for decades,  and the attendance reflects the impact he continues to have on young people today. 

The affair consisted of Steffens sharing his personal experiences and stories about Marley from his early years with the group “The Wailers,” to impactful concerts and performances that hold a place in pop music history to this day. Steffens spent a two-week stint with Marley and was more than willing to share his familiarity with one of the most lauded musical figures of all time. 

The video portions of the presentation included archival photos and video of Marley from when he was just starting out to when he drew crowds of over 80,000. Also discussed was Marley's influence in Jamaica and the attempt on his life due to political tension in the country when he became labeled as a proprietor of one of the factions. 

Much of the footage was solely owned by Steffens – which enhanced the experience due to the fact that these images were relatively unseen by people who had not been to the United States touring exhibition – and has been seen at institutions including the Smithsonian and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

In the final act of the show, Steffens lectured about Marley’s legacy and the awards that he garnered posthumously. He went into the mystery surrounding Marley’s life and the strange coincidences that marked his seeming immortality as a figure of freedom, musical expression and reggae godhood. 

A collection of students thanked Steffens following the presentation for his lifelong work, while picking his brain about what it was like to be around Marley. He also offered students a free book about Marley that included pictures, information and a general insight into the life of one of the world’s most prominent figures.