Bob Marley was born today, Feb. 6, in 1945 and he died on May 11, 1981; but his legacy of love via music is stronger than ever. The Bob Marley One Love Experience, an immersive exhibit celebrating the iconic artist, is now in L.A. giving fans of reggae music and the man who elevated its expression, a multi-faceted and existential deep dive.
It’s the perfect cultural event to visit as Black History Month gets underway, showcasing Marley’s prolific songwriting output and so much more. From “Three Little Birds” to “Jamming” to “Buffalo Soldier,” Marley’s music evokes joy, pride, unity, and spirituality centered on the Rastafarian view that Jah (God) resides within the individual. It’s a beautiful sentiment no matter what you believe and One Love evokes the irie vibes, even as it serves as an exhaustive historical examination. On Saturdays, Bob Marley expert Roger Steffens shares background and stories via detailed tours through each room.
“We are so thrilled to have the exhibit opening in Los Angeles just in time for Daddy’s birthday, “says Bob’s daughter Cedella Marley. “After being in London and Toronto, it’s going to be amazing bringing the experience here to the U.S. for the first time and just steps from Daddy’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
Held at Ovation (formerly Hollywood & Highland shopping center), the experience is as huge as Bob’s persona. Taking up H&H’s old Sweets Hollywood candy emporium, it houses 15,000 square feet of art, artifacts, photographs and experiential activities. The entire Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Bob Marley Archive is included here, with lots of rare memorabilia, and “the world’s largest indoor vinyl record” celebrating Marley’s landmark “Legend” album.
A walk through the immersive “One Love Forest” recreates a trip to Jamaica with multi-sensory atmosphere and a lush cannabis garden-style green room with bean bags and a giant joint prop photo op. There’s no real weed here and you can’t toke up (we’re guessing the private launch party which saw the Marley family in attendance might have been an exception), but the scenery and atmosphere are notable, nonetheless. If the biggest tourist-friendly destination in Hollywood is celebrating Marley and ganja in this way, it marks another step toward normalization and more so, celebration of the plant that the music icon touted in song.
Other cool environments: a room highlighting Marley’s love of sports, a look at the Soul Shakedown studio, an art gallery walk-through (with works by Mr. Brainwash, The Postman, Camoworks, and Idiotbox) with Silent Disco headphones providing an aural backdrop, a backstage environment, and a room showcasing the Marley family’s enduring musical and social impact.
“The Bob Marley One Love Experience was created to showcase not only Bob the musician, but Bob the father, visionary, hobbyist, and humanitarian,” says Jonathan Shank, producer/director of Terrapin Entertainment Station, who created the show with the Marley family. “So much of this exhibit aims celebrate the legacy of the reggae legend through his influence on everything from music to street art and cannabis. We hope that visitors will leave the exhibit with a unique perspective on Bob Marley and a deeper love for the man behind the music.”
Exhibit runs thru April 23rd. 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood. Tickets at www.bobmarleyexp.com.
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