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Important to Know the
Meaning of Marley's Music
As college students, one of our
favorite ways to relax and enjoy
ourselves is listening to music. Our
musical taste are as diverse as our
personalities and backgrounds.
However, one musical form
which seems to be bringing these
differences together is reggae. On
college campuses throughout the
United States, both black and white
students seem to share a common
interest in this form of musical
expression which has been around
for decade and pioneered by the late
Jamaican-bom Rastafarian Bob
Last week, a friend of mine, in
the midst of her studying popped in
a Marley classic into her cassette
While she and everyone else are
entitled to listen to what they want,
I could not help but see the irony.
Here is a white girl, who by no
means is an activist for black
Americans, listening to a man who
devoted his life to condemning the
social institutions that deter Blacks
from progressing; the very institu
tions that her ancestors help to es
In his songs, Marley views these
institutions as the reason why blacks
have had to engage in an endless
struggle for social equality and
And while many of us say we
enjoy reggae and readily name
Marley as our favorite reggae artist,
how many of us ever listen to his
message? How many of us see
Marley as someone who helped to
bring the black struggle to the fore
front of the world’s attention?
I am afraid not many.
While my friend listened, it
became clear to me that she too, did
not listen. This was more offensive.
Here she was with the opportunity
to learn about what “my people”
have gone through and continue to
go through, and by no means was
she taking advantage of the oppor
Sure, she buys Marley tapes and
CDs but does she really get the gist
of what he is saying? Does she
really hear the words and the futile
cries in his songs?
As I began to sing the lyrics to
one of Marley’s songs the answer to
my questions became clear. I could
not ignore the astonishment on my
friend’s face as she compared what
I was singing to what Marley was
singing. The words were the same.
Her reaction told me that fw the
first time, she was listening to the
words and not just the melody. Fot
the first lime, Marley’s message
was no longer hidden by his accent
or the musical instruments in the
As blacks, we too are guilty.
We see reggae as being “hyped,”
different, relaxing and something
which we can dance too. This stere
otype must change. Reggae, like
rap, is not just another musical cate
gory. It is in fact a protest. And
those who sing and fully engage in
this protest are deviants of Ameri
can culture and its social institu
As black Americans, we must
regain control of the music and the
message. It is no longer enough to
say, “yeah, I like Bob Marley.”
Along with this statement, we must
be ready and able to explain why. A
new-found insight and respect for
the “protest” must be internalized
so that Marley’s and other reggae
artists’ message does not lose its
purpose in society.
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In Recent Coverage
Editor’ sNote:The Media Issues committee is a sub~cotnmttee of Caro
lina Association of Black Journalists (CABJ). The purpose of the
corrmttee is to probe the media for accurate and fmr coverage of
minority issues, the committee promises to look for and examine both
good and bad aspects (^Triangle^ea newspaper coverage.
The Daily Tar Heel has shown either insensitivity or a lack of
essential knowledge conconing minority affairs in its coverage of two
First, in a Sept 26 article titled, “Fraternities boast higher-than-
average GPAs,” the DTH did not acknowledge that predominantly
black fraternities exist. The article mentioned the GPAs of 17 majority
white fhuemities. Although it did state that all fraiemities were not
rqnesented, it is rather hard to believe that there were no statistics
available on a single black fraternity.^
The information in the article came from a report compiled by the
student affairs office, v^ich did not indlude black fraternities. Univer
sity Editor Steve Politi said.
Demonstrating the DTfTs apathy toward the issue, Pditi said, “I
didn’t think to look into it.”
But a lack of knowledge about tlw blk;k community also art>ears to
play a role in this instance of inadequate coverage. DF// Editor Jennifer
Wing, in a conversation with a me^ issues committee representative,
said she did not notice the oversight Ignorance is no excuse.
To make this article mtMe thorough, the £>r// should have put forth
the effort to contact or research at least one black fraternity to acquire the
In the second instance, we found unbalanced Cdverage of a jtc^tb^
player as compared to that of a UNC wrestlCT and ex-student. All were
accused of violent acts toward women.
Football player Tommy Thigpen was charged with two counts of
assault Mi a UNC field hockey player. Wrestle Carmen Catullo and
former student Christopher Bums were accused of seccmd-degree rape.
The first two articles about Thigpen showed his picture while the
article about Catullo and Bums did not While each story was placed on
the front page and above the fold, the absence of a picture with the rape.
story de-emphasized the act of Cartullo and Bums. The picture placed
mcffe attention on the "niigpen story and left a lasting impression in the
In light of last Monday’s issue, we are pleased to finally see fair
coverage of both Thigpen, and Catullo and Bums. The fact that pictures
appeared with both stories certainly gives equal attention.
It is ironic that these stories received this coverage after committee
members spoke with DTH editors. If conversations between the two
caused the change, then we encotirage more communication.
In looking at both the fratemity and assault stories, we see that
communication can bring about change. Minorities need to continue
discussions about these types of issues with the DTH and other publi
cations, More importanfly, th&DTH needs to increase its awareness of
minority concerns and educate its staff about others besides themselves.
We see this as a way for the campus’s largest paper to become mwe
Media Issues Committee writers were: Stacey Belnavis, Keisha
Brown, and Tiffany Draughn.