Marlians, Are They Cultist?

Marlians! I guess you must have heard of the movement, but what I can assure you is that you haven’t heard of the Marlian cult.

Who is a Marlian?

This is recent youthful movement gaining ground across Nigeria. 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 — It is often said that a true Marlian follow and obey the lifestyle and tenets of Naira Marley.

So who is this Marley? Well we know who Bob Marley is…He is the Original Marley. He was a Jamaican raised singer and songwriter born on (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.


So, who then is Naira Marley? In 2019, in the mist of the economic and political tension across the country, came a certain Azeez Fashola who swam into the spotlight with his hit single “Am I a yahoo boy” and his fight with the EFCC (Economic Financial Crime Commission). The track which had a lot to say about the societal expectations in this age and practices of the federal government, and which was solidified by his Marlians ideals and views. The “Marlian” term was first coined after he release another hit song” Opotoyi” (Marlian) which was dedicated to his fans.

So, at this point, the fight against him and the cancel culture was taking root. Public opinion was against him and his ideals as he was seen as a misfit. The last controversy came after the song “Soapy” which also spoke against his arrest and fraud-life. With the phrase “inside life” he talked about what he saw and experienced in prison but none of this was what caused the controversy. The songs lewd dance which depicting male masturbation was the point of this controversy. Now the surprising thing is that as people spoke against “Soapy” the more accepted it became. It was all the streets was talking about and then, the unthinkable happened. We (society) finally accepted the Marlians and Naira Marley. The movement had come to stay.

Are Marlians Cultist?

So, what could go wrong? 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.

How then do we identify a Marlian?

No-belt gang Marlian

Naira Marley himself gave this rule for admission into the Marlians group. In the lyrics of his song PUTA (PXTA on YouTube), he mentioned folks should adhere by “Zero belt, thousand trousers”. So, when you see young boys who don’t want to use belts, they may be Marlians.

Alcohol and Drug consumer Marlian

Almost all his videos glorify alcohol, hemp and hard drugs. Naira Marley called himself ‘Igbolabi’ meaning ‘Hemp was born’- a kind of explanation to say he was born to smoke weed. In case you don’t know, many young boys who want to feel among the Marlians are now into smoking weed, SK, Shisha, Tramadol or Loud. Many also drink the very intoxicating drink to show their membership of the Marlians group.

Zero Manners Marlian

According to Naira Marley, in the lyrics of PUTA says Marlians don’t have manners. They are meant to defy all manners taught initially and disobey constituted authorities. During the Marlians festival which was held on 30th December, 2019 at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, the young boys that attended validated this rule. Most jumped the fence because they didn’t want to pay the entrance fee. Isn’t that what Marlians are encouraged to do? On a larger scale, Marlians are permitted to talk to elders or any other authority figure anyhow since they have #nomannerz.

Little Regard

44 minus 4 is what? Forty! Naira Marley coined this 40 as “o fo ti” meaning folks should not be afraid of anything whatsoever. So, you can actually hear young boys saying MAFO, meaning, they have little regard or fear for anything or anyone.

Most of Naira Marley’s songs talk about the need to accept folks that are into internet fraud. They simply think making money from dishonest means can be justified. Such money, when made, should be spent on drugs, alcohol and sex.

Academic Drop-out

One of the very important rules of Marlians is, “Marlians don’t graduate, they drop-out”. A lady, in December, shared that she just graduated from school and was called names by other Marlians online. They called her a fake Marlian because Marlians don’t graduate, As a matter of fact, Poco Lee, the popular dancer celebrated his graduation with a t-shirt inscription that reads “Marlians wey no drop-out”. Late last year, Naira Marley sparked discussion when he said, “Having Big Booty Is Better Than Having A Master’s Degree”.

The question we should ask ourselves is, why did we accept the movement knowing what they were about? Is this the same movement as Bob Marley’s? Why did we start to term the movement we accepted not long ago as a cult? And is it truly a cult?

Narrating the story on Facebook the man, identified as Adebiyi hinted that his daughter’s school had accosted some girls who they identified as members of the ‘Marlian cult’.

Expressing his disgust, he narrated how the girls who are part of this group refused to wear panties on some selected days of the week as a way of identifying with being a Marlian.

Adebiyi also mentioned that his daughter has brought shame to him, which made him to examine her and take appropriate actions. 

So are the girls really “cultist” for displaying the characteristics of an accepted societal movement. Reacting to that, Popular controversial media personnel Freeze wrote in part: “Beating won’t work, talk to her and make her see reason. Teach her the real truth about Christ not the worship of money most of your churches teach…”

So, what do you think? Are they cultist or not?

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