This Saturday, February 6, would be the seventy-sixth birthday of reggae icon Bob Marley. For the last year, his family, including son Ziggy, have engaged in a year-long celebration of the elder Marley’s seventy-fifth birthday in 2020.
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During that time I spoke with Ziggy for the People Have The Power podcast about his own album, More Family Time, featuring collaborations with Tom Morello, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Ben Harper and more, and his choice of protest songs, which of course started with his dad’s “Slave Driver.”
” My first one was ‘Get Up, Stand Up,’ but I crossed it out because I was like, ‘That’s too obvious,'” Ziggy told me. “There’s another one called ‘Slave Driver,’ which is less obvious that I like. In my deeper cuts that would be the one.”
Ziggy says on the show he didn’t really understand the song until he got older. “As I got into teenage years and got into trying to understand things more and searching for spirituality, my later teen years, that’s when,” he says. “His lyrics got me like, ‘Who writes fucking lyrics like that’ ‘”Every time I hear the crack of a whip my blood runs cold.”‘
To him the song also feels very relevant in the last year. ” It came back another day because someone was like, we were talking about the Black Lives Matter thing, and someone was like, ‘Oh black people kill more back people than white people kill black people.’ And I was like, ‘You just started counting.’ And I kind of quoted that song,” he says. “So that song really came up during this protest and that’s why I remember that it was the song I quoted to let somebody understand that the Black Lives Matter movement is not just about now. It’s about from it started cause still things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be yet. So that song is perfect for me now.”
His range of protest songs goes from Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind,” which he covered, to Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power.” “In Jamaica I was a young youth who had a rebellious nature who wanted to be someone to take action to make a change in my society,” he says. “The politics that were happening in Jamaica, this song kind of related to me for my own existence in Jamaica at the time.”
For more with Ziggy Marley check out the full interview on the People Have The Power podcast.