WILLIAMSBURG, VA—In an unprecedented effort to fight injustice, reggae music legend Bob Marley, dead since 1981, rose from his grave in Jamaica early Sunday to free his most devoted followers, American college fraternity members, "from the bonds of oppression."
Marley's recordings, which originally raised awareness of the Rastafarian faith and the plight of underprivileged Jamaicans and Africans, have taken on an even deeper meaning as the Greek fraternal system, a maligned, misunderstood minority group itself, has fervently embraced the driving, soulful music.
Minutes after his resurrection, the dreadlocked spirit materialized in the backyard of Epsilon Iota, the Sigma Nu chapter of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Radiating a transcendent aura, Marley addressed the college's recent campus-wide ban on bonfires.
"I appeared to I fraternity brothers to tell them be strong," said Marley, standing in front of hundreds of hooting fraternity members. "I say don't let dean of students, Henry Riegert, fool ya, or even try to school ya. We'll get that bonfire going in time for da mixer, mon. A fire a man's own business."
Marley was referring to Dean Henry Riegert, who recently denied Sigma Nu's request to host the annual homecoming mixer after their back-to-school party resulted in three severe injuries and two cases of acute alcohol poisoning.
"I songs was about the plight of the brothers and sisters in Jamaica, mon," Marley said. "But right now, it is the frata mon who need it more. They are standing by I music during they keg party."
Marley has been touring the country, acting as the voice for America's fraternities.
"Frata mon's life is hard," said Marley during a press conference Monday at Iowa State University's Acacia fraternity. "Professor, he flunk you all the time. Policeman, he ticket you for the noise. Board of Regents, they make so many rule, try to keep the fraternity music down."
In ongoing meetings with fraternity presidents nationwide, Marley said he has heard accounts of mandatory sensitivity seminars, confiscated fake IDs, citations for public nudity, and unfair public perceptions of fraternity members.
These harrowing stories have inspired Marley to hold a benefit concert Oct. 15 at the Las Olas Open-Air Ampitheater in Cabo San Lucas. All proceeds from the benefit, which could prove the largest gathering of reggae-loving frat members since the Reggae Sunsplash tour in 1997, will go to a legal-defense fund overseen by the North American Interfraternity Conference.
Admission to the concert will be free for any member of the fraternity system wearing a baseball hat cocked to the side or back.
"I is hoping to get as many of I brothers to the concert as I can," Marley said. "I want them to see that many people may not hear the cries of the oppressively rich white children, but Bob Marley hear them."
Jason "Boner" Bonham, chapter president of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Tufts University, described Marley's second coming as "killer."
"We're going to Cabo San Lucas!" Bonham said. "The only thing that would be better is if Jim Morrison himself rose from the grave to jam with Bob."
"Seriously, I'm such a huge fan that I've practically worn out my CD copy of Legend. It's the best fuck music," Bonham added.
Although Marley will return to his grave after the Cabo San Lucas concert, he said he will rise up occasionally to give impromptu shows in the billiard rooms, arcades, and basements of fraternity houses across the nation.
"Rasta no abide a sad fraternity mon," Marley said. "I and I will see da brothaman through. These songs of freedom… They all they ever had."