Ziggy Marley Wants to Start a Revolution—But It’s Not What You Think

Meet the Marley That’s Calling for a Music Revolution

Written By: Jordan Ligons
Photographed By: Ryan Hensley
Styled By: Teresita Marie Ziggy Marley New Album
Grooming By: Lexi Kleyla Using Living Proof and Becca Cosmetics Ziggy Marley New Album

Ziggy Marley walks into the empty, dark room with a huge smile on his face. He takes in a deep breath, “Ah, The Roxy,” he says looking out onto the undressed, spot-lit stage where he’ll be jamming later that night. He continues to slowly move throughout the room, dreadlocks grazing the back of his knees, continually in awe. He looks back at his entourage and repeats to himself, “It’s the Roxy!” They nod in acknowledgement of the historical music venue on Sunset Boulevard. It’s his favorite club venue to perform in to date, and it’s written all over his face.

During the photo shoot, Marley starts strumming his favorite song off his new Rebellion Rises album, the song with the same name. An unplugged acoustic version of the chorus begins to fill the hot room.

“Rebellion rises,” the lyrics continue. “Walks of life, let’s stand together/ Dance all night with each other/ Love is its weakness/ The system I protest/ And we are its biggest threat/ The plague of consciousness.”

It really becomes more of an anthem than anything else; words that you should continually repeat to yourself as you are set to brace the day. This song, and all 10 songs on Marley’s recent album, goes beyond surface level. The lyrics and truths it elicit oozes out the speakers and grabs hold of your soul, your feelings and your empathy for humanity.

“I wanted to give a voice to humanity,” Marley, eldest son of reggae icon Bob Marley, says about the album. “I wanted to encourage humanity.”

And man, don’t we need it. In a world today that is in no greater need than to be ‘plagued by consciousness,’ relaying an encouraging message is what Marleys are so very good at—three little birds and all.

Music is typically a mirror of what is being reflected by current society. But, Marley says that he moved on from ‘political music’ roughly 10 years ago. He’s gone on record to say that he used to be a political musician but is now a spiritual one. “If I’m serious about connecting people to music, I have to connect on a human-to-human level,” he said in a Big Think interview. “We cannot change the political or social system of the world unless we change us as individuals.”

In his “Rebellion Rises” music video, there are people—all shapes, colors and sizes—holding a piece of cardboard with a portion of the lyrics on it as if to symbolize a protest sign, something we far too often witness on our news feed. But Marley challenges us with his new album. He challenges us to not think of the word ‘rebellion’ as a negative connotation, but rather in a new affirmative light.

“My inspiration was to cause a rebellion that entails the opening of our hearts. That entails the awareness, the consciousness and to bring the world more together. There is divisiveness, there’s war, there’s racism—and that’s what the rebellion is for. Humanity inspired me,” he said. “We’ve been against things, but no one ever focuses on what we are for so we can’t really go out and get it. We have to put all of our energy in what we are for.”

Music is a vessel to share how we’re really feeling, how we’re feeling about ourselves, humankind and the well being of our planet. Through this art form, the eight-time Grammy Award winner shows us that your art can be your message to the people.

“This album talks a lot more about outer change, change within society. Which still entails the change within oneself, but this album is more about outward looking in, rather than the inward looking out.”

These themes are universal; this isn’t only an American thing that we need to hear, it’s a global thing.

Going on an international and national tour for almost two years continually, the African drum percussions and Jamaican guitar licks that accompany Marley’s impactful musical lines go past borders, he says. “I’m very happy to see these songs and the messages that they entail is translating beyond language. Everybody can’t understand when I sing ‘Circle of Peace,’ not everybody can understand when I sing the song ‘Rebellion Rises,’ but it connects with all human beings.”

He doesn’t want them to be concerts, but rallies rather—a rally full of rebels.

“This is the reaction to what we are presenting to the people, that they are feeling this camaraderie, this rebellion—in the most positive sense of the word ‘rebellion,’” he said. “Not the stereotypical way with violence, but rebellion with peace and love.”

Marley has a way with words that after sitting, grooving or moving to his entire 35-minute album or fangirling at his sometimes three-hour shows, you walk away changed in some way. The lyrics have soul, as he explains, and without that, they cannot live on.

“I know what them feel, I see what them feel. Them feel humanity; them feel a connection with other human beings. Them feel a oneness with each other,” his voice is steady, unwavering talking about the live crowd. “Them feel a power because when human beings stand up for good in this planet, it is the most powerful thing. When we stand up for love and peace and justice together, without biases and hate. And [when we] peacefully speak of these things we want to see, it’s the most powerful thing that could ever be.”

Marley was born in the ghettos of Trench Town, Jamaica, but as his father became more renown they were able to move out. And yet, he always took them back to where they came from. They would return to serve and be surrounded with the impoverished. Marley just says it’s who he is. Those seeds planted way back then take root today with his continued philanthropic work in communities around the globe. Much like his foundation URGE, Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment, that aims to aid children in Jamaica, Africa and wherever else is in need through health, education and awareness about the environment.

Recently, CNN coverage of a massive pile up of plastic and pollution in the ocean near the Dominican Republic went viral. Marley shared it on his Instagram, and took it personally to decide that he too needed to make a change.

“Even if I cannot completely stop using plastic, I want to reduce my plastic use. Even the littlest thing that you can do is as effective as the biggest thing because everything adds up. It’s the small things that add up that make the change,” he said.

And if you, too, want to help change the world, he encourages you to also take small steps to make a big impact. “Small things count. You don’t have to be a legend or a president; it’s every little thing. Pick what you see—whether it be the environment, whether it be racism—and it’s the little things you do.”

Then, after a beat, he added, “To change the world, it starts with how you interact with people that you see everyday. Just everyday interactions with other human beings; every little thing you do has an impact.”

This, he says, is one of the major life lessons he took from his dad. A legend in the music industry, Bob Marley was also a person who sought after making the world a better place in anyway he could. He was a man of action, and we know actions speak louder than words. Ziggy, one of 11 children, said it was how his father interacted with people, talked with people—all things by doing, not by him telling him what to do.

“Live the good life, don’t talk the good life,” he reflected on what he continues to put in practice from his father. Ziggy was 12 years old when his father died from cancer. “Live a positive life, live a loving life, live a life that is not only for ourselves but a service to others also. You have to take care of yourself, of course, but you still have to set that example that doing good for other people is very rewarding in itself.

“Lead by example is a lesson I would take from my father, and I will pass it down to my children,” he added, “and hopefully, my life is a good example for them to see what can be done, not just for yourself, but for others.”

Now the head-nodding beat of  “One Love” is reverberating off The Roxy’s walls. The sold-out show is singing along while Ziggy and his band serenade them with a classic. He’s dripping with sweat, his eyes are closed; Marley transforms into a new persona on stage. The red, yellow and green lights beam down illuminating this homage to his late father. The entire set list is filled with musical chords that intertwine and unite the world. As the tour continues throughout North America, Marley will continue to spread the music, and spread a whole lot of love.

Legendary Venue: Bob Marley & The Wailers first performed at The Roxy July 10-15, 1975.

All in the Family: Ziggy launched his career as a part of the reggae family group Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, which consisted of his sisters Sharon, Cedella, himself and his brother Stephen. They had 10 studio albums starting in 1985.

Did You Know? Ziggy Marley performed the song “Believe in Yourself,” which became the catchy theme song to the hit cartoon “Arthur.”

What’s Cooking? Pick up Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made With Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen to make some of Ziggy’s favorite meals in your own kitchen. Featuring his wife Orly, sister Karen and daughter Judah, they are classic Jamaican recipes with a healthy spin.

Book Report

In addition to his cookbook, Marley has two other books under his belt:

-Graphic Novel, Marijuana Man: Marley purposefully uses the plant as a superhero, rather than a villain.

-Children’s Book, I Love You Too: Based on the song with the same title from his Grammy Award-winning children’s album Family Time.

Photoshoot Location: Ziggy Marley New Album
The Roxy Theatre
9009 Sunset Blvd Ziggy Marley New Album
West Hollywood, CA 90069 Ziggy Marley New Album
310.278.9457 Ziggy Marley New Album

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