Shenseea has sparked a raging debate on social media, after she posted a tweet on Thursday declaring that Reggae legend “Bob Marley is bigger” than pop icon Michael Jackson.
Although the Lick artiste did not elaborate further, or attempt to qualify her comment, she has been feeling some heat from American fans of the late Thriller megastar, but has also attracted the support of Soca singer Denise Belfon and Born Jamericans’ Edley Shine.
Bob Marley is bigger than Michael Jackson
— Shenseea (@SHENYENG) December 1, 2022
“They can’t fathom the heights of where @shenseea is really coming from,” Denise Belfon noted, in response to the tweet, while Edley noted: “A ring born Jamaican should always feel this way; f what anybody think!”
Over on the Shade Room’s Instagram page, much of the comments were dismissive of Shenseea, with many people, including Jamaicans, declaring that the two men ought not to be compared, as they were in different categories and ought to be left to “Rest In Peace” while others declared that the Lick singer was simply seeking “a viral moment” as Jackson had more song sales and so was “bigger.”
“I don’t like the fact that we like to compare people and hate it when we are compared with others. They’re two legends that have created so much impact that’s transcends across different countries and cultures. Even after their deaths they are both influential and are most talked about musician… I am sure these two legends wouldn’t appreciate the comparison….MJ and Bob will forever be legendary. One love ❤,” jamaican_kerrylee said.
“I’m Jamaican and I can safely say it’s pretty much equal. They are (not were) Global superstars whose music is still felt today! No need to pit them or countries nor cultures against one another. Shenseea really moves like one agent kmt,” reinen0ire said.
One commenter, mbodimentmemoir described the tweet as “a weird and random comparison”, while briannaangelique added: “Apples and oranges, let them GOATs rest”.
There were, however, several like frozone.datman, who sided with Shenseea, positing that unlike Bob, nobody was aspiring to be like Michael Jackson, in terms of dress or mannerisms, except during seasons like Halloween, and purely for gimmickry.
“She ain’t lie! Everyone wants to be a Rasta and follow… because of Bob. I don’t see no one wanting to be a moonwalker and love that life because of Michael. Michael inspired music; Bob inspired a lifestyle… Let’s talk about the impact each had on people. Not record sales not music. Thriller is a big deal when Halloween comes around, but Bob’s song hit all day bro. But as I said let’s talk about influential life impact,” he noted.
The New York Times declaration of Bob Marley as “the most influential artiste of the latter half of the twentieth century”; Time magazine’s naming of his Exodus album as the 20th Century’s most important album in 1999 and the BBC’s declaration of the Gong’s One Love, as the Song of the Century, were among the accolades Reggae fans presented as “proof” that the Jamaican was ahead of Jackson by far.
Other commenters pointed out that Jackson’s name was not revered but that Marley was the one whose name is venerated globally, despite the Beat It artist selling more records, particularly in his home country.
“This is an American theory. In most if not all European countries Bob Marley music is being streamed daily and is kept alive various ways but you’re in tune to America not the world,” k.adejah_ argued, while attathon added: “You know how many mind Bob set free from slave mentality, how many revolutions he started across the fcking world while mj was busy trying to look like a white man fck you and your puppet”.
Another commenter yurpp063 pointed out that nobody was making any effort to keep Jackson’s name alive, and that Marley had left an unmatched legacy, which had nothing to do with sales or money.
“This the first time I heard Mike name since he been dead. I see and hear Bob Marley daily. Mike was so big den why ain’t nobody still tryna keep his name alive WITH ANYTHING?” he questioned.
Over on DJ Akademiks’ Instagram page, he shared Shenseea’s post and asked: “Is this facxxx or fiction”.
The comments were polarized just the same, but with several jokes thrown in at Shenseea’s expense.
“She just wanna be starting something 🥱,” jaywzythealien quipped, while daermani added: “Twitter gave too many people free speech”.
As the debate raged, some commenters argued that it was difficult to come to a conclusion, as both men had made an impact in their own way.
“It’s close. I can guarantee there are more pictures of Bob Marley hanging up than Michael Jackson. But that’s a hard one to discuss,” vtevh_takeoff stated., while shaydominus noted: “Bob Marley is more influential. Michael had more fame. During their time they were possibly equal… Reggae is the most influential piece of music alive today due to the genres it’s birthed. Bob and Michael convo is like biggie and pac. Whitney and Mariah. Jay z and nas…”
Another commenter, x_blake posited that Jackson was only bigger in his home country while Marley had made “a whole religion (Rastifari) popular and international”.
“Go to Africa, South America: he’s the de facto example of blacks in the new world… His message has spread everywhere to when you hear 1 love you know exactly who they are talking about. Maybe MJ is bigger in the U.S but the U.S only,” he said.
On Shenseea’s Twitter page, Basil Proudly noted that unlike Jackson, Marley was still being heaped with accolades, decades after his passing.
“Influence is measured in different ways. There’s a hairstyle called “Bob Marley”’ there’s no such hair style as “Michael Jackson”. There’s a day called “Marley Night”, no such day as “Jackson Night”. I can also tell you that Marley’s best track is more popular than MJ best track,” he stated.
SelectaLeon, for his part, sought to highlight Marley’s post-humous accolades by Time and BBC, which he said made him greater than Jackson.
This resulted in a lengthy exchange with a Jackson supporter, who replied that neither of the mentioned songs came close to the sales of Jackson’s Thriller, which is the world’s biggest-selling album of all time “certified three times Diamond and 7 times platinum in US sales alone & 360 million sold worldwide”.
Not to be outdone, SelectaLeon shot back: “You know that Toyota sells more than Bugatti, right?”
He then added: “What impact did MJ have in Africa? Imagine a man from a small island that wasn’t even 2M people at the time. Making such an impact around the world. MJ impact is based on dancing and videos. Bob made political impact. MJ is just entertainment production”.
“Nuff a Unnu Naah Wul a Proppa Meds and really a Look into it. Bob’s Music Can Fan the Flames of a Revolution. Uplift the Oppressed and give them the energy to keep fighting. Much as I Rate Michael Music his music only gonna make you kick up your foot and Moon Walk. Bob Marley Music is a whole Different Level a Consciousnes,” shortboss11234 stated.
Others argued that although Jackson was indeed, the best entertainer of all time, he was not as influential as Marley, whose music inspired the liberation of Zimbabwe, nor were his songs in the same category, since the Jamaican’s were “global anthems” and “message music for social Justice and spirituality”.
“Bob Marley has always been probably one of the most influential people in the world. Even on his best day with his best tracks, Michael could never touch Bob’s revolutionary tracks like Redemption Song or Get Up Stand Up. … A Rastafarian man who came all the way from the ghetto of a small island with little opportunities to create music that would influence the world,” she noted.
Others noted that it was Americans’ insular way of thinking why they believed Jackson was the bigger artiste, simply because of sales.
“He (Marley) is …way way waaaaaaaay bigger…Americans seem to forget that they are not even 5% of the world,” hullgraff said, while eric.genius, in noting that Marley’s legacy lives on through his seven sons added: “Simple true because I heard a bob song now and then on our airwaves in the uk. I cannot recall a jacko for real I believe that. His sons also help enlighten the name.”
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