What It Means To Be A True Marlian

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According to the urban dictionary, A Marlian is any real follower of the controversial Nigerian singer, Naira Marley. On the surface, this definition seems to cover what it is to be a Marlian but doesn’t cut it for true Marlians. A Marlian is a Naira Marley stan — true Marlians follow and obey the lifestyle and tenets.

The original Marley was Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Marley (6 February 1945–11 May 1981). Bob Marley was a fighter and a lover of freedom. He joined the Rastafarian movement which emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. Rastafari, also known as Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is classified as both a new religious movement and a social movement by scholars of religion. Bob Marley joined the movement in regards to using “wisdom weed” that had grown on the grave of Solomon. Bob Marley believed in positivity and oneness and he’s known for many of his wisdom filled quotes like “Who are you to judge the life I live?” Some may say Bob Marley was the first true Marlian based on his lifestyle and beliefs.

Marlian Naira Marley

In 2019, amidst the economic and political tensions plaguing Nigeria, a certain Azeez Fashola popularly known as Naira Marley came into the spotlight. He was filled with controversies has he had a lot of issues with the EFFC. His single, “Am I a Yahoo Boy” which had a lot to say about the societal expectations in this age and practices of the federal government, solidified the Marlian ideals. When the term “Marlian” was first coined is unclear but following his release from jail, Naira Marley released a new song “Opotoyi (Marlians)” dedicated to his fans.

Marlian Naira Marley

At this point, the scales were tilting against Naira Marley and the Malians as cancel culture was taking effect. Public opinion was against Naira Marley’s ideals as he was seen as a misfit by society. Naira Marley’s last controversy was in June 2019 when he released “Soapy,” which spoke about his wrongful arrest and fraud-life. He used his popular “inside life” refrain to talk about the harsh conditions he faced in prison, but none of this was the reason for the controversy surrounding soapy, the song’s lewd dance depicting male masturbation was the main point of this controversy. As more people spoke out against soapy, the more accepted the song became. It was all the streets could talk about, and society finally accepted that Marley and the Marlians were here to stay defying society’s moral construct of what is right or wrong.


Marlian Naira Marley
Marlian Naira Marley

Following Naira Marley’s acceptance, several people started to identify as Marlians, this was almost like a new trend and it became difficult to tell what being a Marlian meant. Marlians have always existed in society, as the outliers and marginalized people for their choices and lifestyle, a misunderstood group of people without social approval. Naira Marley didn’t create Marlians, he simply gave Marlians a voice and brought them into the spotlight, in this regard, Naira Marley is the true President of the Marlians.


Marlians have these characteristics and they have also been approved by Naira Marley himself such as crazy hairstyles, alcohol addiction, no mannaz, weed addiction, lack of fear (MAFO), “no belt gang,” and many others.

Marlian Naira Marley

Naira Marley does not approve of the use of drugs which is found as a characteristic in certain Marlians. Marley’s influence on society is yet to be discerned as positive or negative, what is clear though is that he has provided acceptance for a set of people who until now barely had a voice, Marlians are currently one of the biggest groups, what they’ll do with the spotlight and their “no mannaz” lifestyle is yet to be seen, but their President Naira Marley has proved to be infallible because his faults, in fact, are what define him.

Marlian Naira Marley

Individuals can choose to appreciate Naira Marley’s music, but it’s been proven that it takes much more to be a Marlian.


Images of Naira Marley taken by Niyi Okeowo

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