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It came from a personal need for me, as Bob’s eldest son, to be a part of

a film about my father. There have been a lot of other projects presuming to tell

his story, but I thought it was time for one coming from his family, not from some

third party claiming to be the authority on Bob Marley or reggae.



Ziggy Marley Struggling for Peace in the World

An Interview with Kam Williams


David Nesta “Ziggy” Marley was born in Trenchtown, Jamaica on October 17, 1968 to Bob and Rita Marley. A five-time Grammy-winning musician, actor, artist, activist and humanitarian, Ziggy has enjoyed a prominent presence on the public stage for over a quarter-century.

At the age of 10, Ziggy first sat in on recording sessions with his father’s band, the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers. Later, he joined with his sisters Sharon and Cedella and brother Stephen to form Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, which enabled him to craft his own soulful sound blending blues, R&B, hip-hop and roots reggae. The Melody Makers earned their first Grammy (Best Reggae Recording) for their third album Conscious Party (1988), produced by Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, which included the hit songs “Tomorrow People” and “Tumbling Down.”       

Subsequent albums included the Grammy-winning One Bright Day (1989), Jamekya (1991), Joy and Blues (1993), Free Like We Want 2 B (1995), Grammy-winning Fallen is Babylon (1997), Spirit of Music (1999) and Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1 (2000), featuring some of their biggest hits, as well as a cover of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” While selling millions of records and selling out numerous concerts, Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers never lost sight of their foundations in faith, fellowship, and family.

Involved with a breadth of charities, Marley leads his own, URGE (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a non-profit organization that benefits efforts in Jamaica, Ethiopia, and other developing nations. The charity’s missions range from building new schools to operating health clinics to supporting charities like Mary’s Child, a center for abused and neglected girls.

The title of his latest album, Wild and Free, is a little ironic, given his time-consuming commitments to family, philanthropy, songwriting, producing, studio work and touring. Ziggy also continues to head Tuff Gong Worldwide in honor of his father’s own music label Tuff Gong Records, working on the re-launch of the official Bob Marley website and an exhibit at the Grammy Museum in L.A.

Ziggy divides his residency among Florida, Jamaica and California, and has his own website at Ziggy Marley. Here, he talks about Marley, a new documentary about his father. 

Kam Williams: Hi Ziggy, thanks for the interview.

Ziggy Marley: Thank you, Kam.

Kam Williams: Do you remember Ras Karbi, who played with your dad in Jamaica before embarking on a solo career?

Ziggy Marley: Jah, mon.

Kam Williams: Well, during my brief career as a musician back in the Seventies, I got to play on an album with Ras after he moved to the States.

Ziggy Marley: Nice, nice.

Kam Williams: I loved the movie Marley. It taught me so much I never knew about your father. Why did you decide to make it?

Ziggy Marley: It came from a personal need for me, as Bob’s eldest son, to be a part of a film about my father. There have been a lot of other projects presuming to tell his story, but I thought it was time for one coming from his family, not from some third party claiming to be the authority on Bob Marley or reggae. The only thing that would be me more authentic than this would be Bob himself.

Kam Williams: It’s definitely a very rich and spiritual film which humanized him in ways I never expected.

Ziggy Marley: Jah, mon, we want people to feel that human connection, that emotional connection, that real connection, and Kevin [director Kevin Macdonald] did a great job of achieving that. 

Kam Williams: Wesley Derbyshire asks: How do you think your father’s music has made a lasting effect on the world?

Ziggy Marley: My father’s music gives hope to people and also inspires them to break the bonds of injustice and to be positive in life. I’ve seen that everywhere I go, especially in poor countries and poor neighborhoods. Even in speaking to actual freedom fighters from South Africa to Ethiopia, they always told me how influential the music was in their struggles.

Kam Williams: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What is the most significant life lesson you learned from your father?

Ziggy Marley: Everything I’ve taken away from my father has been significant. So, I can’t say that any one lesson is the most significant. By being around him, I learned that there is a purpose in life, and that if we are inspired to help people, we should do it. And that there is a spiritual side to life as well as to music, and that we are here for a bigger purpose than just ourselves. Those are some very significant ideas of my father’s that I have carried with me all my life and still cherish to this day.

Kam Williams: Harriet Pakula Teweles asks: What was it like growing up as the son of such a famous icon?

Ziggy Marley: I’d divide it into two periods. Bob wasn’t as big an icon as he later became after he died. When he was alive, he just acted like what he was, a musician that people loved. He never behaved in any superficial or iconic way. He was just being himself. There wasn’t anything special or different about our lives. In Jamaica, everybody’s the same. The second period began after he passed away, when his iconic stature grew and everywhere we went people would show us a lot of love as Bob Marley’s kids. That was very positive for us.

Kam Williams: Marcia Evans asks: How long did you live in Trenchtown?

Ziggy Marley: I was born in Trenchtown and spent my early years there as a toddler. When my dad made more money, we moved out of the ghetto to a better neighborhood with better schools. Eventually, he purchased the home on Hope Road from [Island Records producer] Chris Blackwell, which also became his headquarters.

Kam Williams: Film student Jamaal Green says: First and foremost, I would like to say love and respect to you and your family for providing the world with generations of great music and good vibes. With the debut of the documentary Marley, is there a possibility of someday making a dramatic film about the life of the "Honor Rebel" Bob Marley? If so I would love to apply for the job.

Ziggy Marley: [LOL] Jamaal, you just might be able to direct it. It’s going to take a few years to get there, so you might be perfect, if you’re available at that time. But it’s not something that we’re focusing on right now. When we are ready, it will have to be a magnificent piece of work.

Kam Williams: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier asks: Who would you like to portray your father, if you make a movie about him?

Ziggy Marley: That’s an issue. We don’t know.

Kam Williams: How about you?

Ziggy Marley: I wouldn’t play him, but we haven’t looked that deeply into it yet.

Kam Williams: Patricia, who is Haitian-Canadian, was also wondering whether the movie Marley will be available subtitled in French, her native language.

Ziggy Marley: I hope that the distributors will make the movie available in whatever subtitles are needed in different areas.

Kam Williams: Patricia’s has a couple more questions: Do you enjoy listening to your own CDs?

Ziggy Marley: Umm… not really.

Kam Williams: And, what message do you think people will take away from?

Ziggy Marley: I don’t think there’s a specific message. I want people to feel an emotional connection to Bob, a human connection as a friend, as family.

Kam Williams: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

Ziggy Marley: I can’t think of one off the top of my head right now.

Kam Williams: Your dad gave you the nickname, Ziggy, meaning Marijuana. And you are an advocate for the legalization of pot. Why is that, because you consider it a sacred herb or a recreational drug?

Ziggy Marley: My interest in it is actually a much wider spectrum than merely smoking Marijuana. It’s all about the use of hemp for clothing, for building materials, and as a bio fuel, as an environmental alternative in the industrial sense. Plus, the seeds have nutritional value. That’s what I’m interested in bringing to light, because everybody just talks about the smoking, the smoking, the smoking. I’m trying to get across to people that if we in this world are serious about the Green Revolution and saving the planet, then this plant has to be a part of the discussion, because it is the most suitable natural resource with thousands of beneficial uses.       

Kam Williams: What is your favorite dish to cook?

Ziggy Marley: Right now, just oatmeal.

Kam Williams: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Ziggy Marley: I don’t know what I see… [Pauses to reflect] I see a body. I see a body.

Kam Williams: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

Ziggy Marley: Peace in the world.

Kam Williams: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

Ziggy Marley: Playing on the streets of Trenchtown.

Kam Williams: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

Ziggy Marley: A snake.

Kam Williams: Bernadette also asks: What is your favorite charity?

Ziggy Marley: I’m into anything that really helps children.

Kam Williams: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

Ziggy Marley: Successful people… [Ponders the question] That’s kind of a trick question, because it depends on how one defines success? Success means different things to different people. To me, the greatest quality of successful human beings is the ability to love.  

Kam Williams: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?

Ziggy Marley: It makes you stronger. Yeah, it makes you stronger.

Kam Williams: Dante Lee, author of "Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst?

Ziggy Marley: My best business decision was to be independent as a musician and artist. My worst was compromising on certain aspects of a deal for the sake of other members of my group when I shouldn’t have, because I was right in the end. 

Kam Williams: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

Ziggy Marley:To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I don’t think about it. [Laughs]

Kam Williams: Thanks again for the time, Ziggy, and best of luck with the film and the concert tour.

Ziggy Marley: Thank you, brother.

Could you Be Loved  / Natural Mystic / Concrete Jungle / Rastaman Vibrations

Trailer for Marley

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Africa Unite: A Celebration of Bob Marley’s Vision

Directed by Stephanie Black

In 2005, to celebrate what would have been Bob Marley’s 60th birthday, his widow, Rita Marley, and several of Marley’s offspring staged a gala concert in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in celebration of the iconic reggae singer’s commitment to African unity. In addition to the concert, a week of Unicef-sponsored workshops, discussions and debates took place, in which delegates such as actor and human-rights activist Danny Glover and controversial Jamaican politician Dudley Thompson contemplated what it means to be an African descendant outside Africa. Young people from all over the continent also gathered to discuss their own roles in Africa’s future.

Africa Unite: A Celebration of Bob Marley’s Vision is Stephanie Black’s documentary of the event. Black has already given us the hard-hitting Life and Debt, which explores the destructive impact of the IMF and the World Bank in Jamaica, and H-2 Worker, which exposed the unbelievably exploitative situation facing Jamaican sugarcane cutters in Florida. In Africa Unite, she makes efforts to keep a political-activist focus intact, which is difficult, because much of the movie is devoted to bland concert footage. But the film’s most heartening bits come in testimony from the young Africans who will themselves make up Africa’s next generation of leaders. Also captivating is the sub-plot provided by Bongo Tawney, a poor, elder Rasta who travels to Ethiopia for the first time and who is visibly moved by what he encounters there.

On the downside, the film is generally disjointed. It is sometimes difficult to get a sense of how the events unfolded, and of the exact significance of each segment, as there is so much concert footage interspersed. The concert footage itself does not translate particularly well to the small screen; you probably had to be there to understand the magnitude of the concert, which lasted 12 hours and drew over 350,000 people. And no disrespect to Marley’s children, but every time I’ve seen them live, I wish they would leave their father’s work alone and concentrate on their own talents. But needless to say, as this concert was in celebration of Daddy’s birthday, every one of the Marley boys presents a classic number from the 70s, and for some reason, each feels the need to remain on stage for the entirety of his siblings’ performances, which only adds to the dragging sense of what features here.

The bonus concert footage fares little better than that on the main DVD, though a duet by Rita and Marley’s mother is kind of sweet. In contrast, there are illuminating, though brief, interviews with Rita Marley and several of Bob’s sons, giving some context to the proceedings in terms of their own views on Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular. In summary, although it’s hardly essential viewing overall, Marley fans will probably find something of interest.


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Africa Unite

                       By Bob Marley


Africa, Unite
'Cause we're moving right out of Babylon
And we're going to our father's land

How good and how pleasant it would be
Before GOD and man, yeah
To see the unification of all Africans, yeah
As it's been said already let it be done, yeah
We are the children of the Rastaman
We are the children of the Higher Man

Africa, unite 'cause the children wanna come home
Africa, unite 'cause we're moving right out of Babylon
And we're grooving to our father's land

How good and how pleasant it would be
Before GOD and man
To see the unification of all Rastaman, yeah

As it's been said already let it be done
I tell you who we are under the sun
We are the children of the Rastaman
We are the children of the Higher Man

So, Africa, unite, Africa, unite
Unite for the benefit of your people
Unite for it's later than you think

Unite for the benefit of your children
Unite for it's later than you think
Africa awaits its creators, Africa awaiting its creators
Africa, you're my forefather cornerstone
Unite for the Africans abroad, unite for the Africans a yard
Africa, Unite

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 30 April 2012




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