He is transcendent — clearly, for his music, but in a broader sense, he has “transcended race and pop culture.” With each strum of his guitar, his entire existence bridges the gap between mainstream America and the entire world. We sit with living legend Ziggy Marley to talk about his passion for humanity, what prompted him to publish a cookbook, and why imminent cannabis legalization is “waking up to the truth”

Words by: Richard Coyle
Snaps b: Zach Weinberg © Tuff Gong Worldwide

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past quarter century, you’re familiar with Ziggy Marley – the son of music legend and icon Bob Marley. Ziggy is a seven-time Grammy and Emmy award winner, humanitarian, author, singer, songwriter, and producer. Often times, picking up the proverbial baton and recommencing the legacies of megastar parents is more challenging than blazing your own trail, but unlike the offspring of influential icons like Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee, Ziggy Marley has extended and elevated the legacy of the Marley namesake with his own unequivocal success. Ziggy is certified reggae royalty as well as a committed humanitarian; some would even call him a living legend. He’s released six studio albums, been on Sesame Street and performed alongside Paul McCartney – not many artists can stake that claim. Most importantly, Ziggy preaches compassion, love and being good to your fellow man through his music and entrepreneurial endeavors. One thing that is clear: nothing Ziggy does is solely for monetary benefit, as evidenced when he talks about his many business projects. Being philanthropic is embedded in his DNA. In early 2001, Ziggy shifted his focus and became more politically engaged, serving as a Goodwill Youth Ambassador for the U.N., and creating a label in Jamaica called Ghetto Youths to assist the children there. Having been active in the Bob Marley Foundation’s causes, including Africa Unite, Ziggy would later expand his goals to benefit others by creating his own foundation, U.R.G.E., in 2007, designed to help underprivileged children and give them the opportunity to attend school. Marley would also continue his altruistic efforts for other organizations such as the Nancy Davis Foundation, Little Kids Rock, and many others, which makes perfect sense – after all, when Bob Marley, Ziggy’s father, passed, he parted these final words to his son, something we’d all do well to remember: “Money can’t buy life.” We all know Ziggy Marley as one of the most influential musicians of our time, one whose message has always been to come together and make this world a better place. Ziggy takes time from his extensive touring schedule to sit with us and talk about balancing his career, family, and why the United States’ legalization of cannabis will be an awakening for all of us.
You’re on the last leg of your 2016 Tour, how has that been?

We’re getting ready to go there but what we have done so far is good. We’re having a good time and people are getting the message.
You’re very family focused. Tell us about your children’s book “I Love You Too”

I have seven kids, 4 younger ones who I spend a lot of time with. Family’s become a building block. Family life if you can get it right is like inspiration or revelation. If you have a good family life, it helps everything out in life. It’s very important. So I wrote I love you which was based upon a song I wrote from my kid’s album called Family Time.


Tell us about your Ziggy Marley and Family cookbook?

The cookbook was really fun to do. Not just with my relatives but friends too and extended friends. Everybody kind of had their input and gave recipes my sister, my wife, my mother-in-law. It was a big family endeavor and I’m glad to share that with everybody. What was the inspiration behind the cookbook? One day I was cooking some fish I was cooking, I didn’t have my recipe and I was making it up as I was going and put in this ingredient here, what else do I have in the kitchen that I could use like coconut milk and I tasted it and was like wow! This is really good [laughs] I called my friend and said hey, I’m going to send you a picture so I took the picture and sent it and said, this is called the coconut dream fish let’s make a recipe! I love cooking and creating and thought let’s do a book!
Is there an emphasis on healthy, organic cooking?
It’s healthy but it’s not about preaching to the people. It’s healthy. This is the recipe and it uses organic ingredients, come and join us. We don’t preach about the food itself or the ingredients. Can you talk to us about your vape pen? It’s a partnership. It’s a business yes, but there’s a charitable aspect to it. There a reason why we do it. Not just a product. It’s reaching people and the more people we can reach, the better. Make people’s lives better.
Tell us a little about Ziggy Marley Organics?

My own coconut lines, hemp seeds, coconut oil, lemon, ginger, curry, almond orange. In the medical world, they just found out that it’s good for but in jamaica, we been using that year. We don’t even have a lab. It’s non-GMO, we have hemp seeds. Again, it’s a platform for us to share.
As busy as you are, what other projects do you have going on right now?

The only other project I have right now is going on in my head. That’s going to be something on the screen. I have some creative ideas I want to express on screen for the next year.
Can you talk to us about your philanthropic organizations like URGE?

Philanthropy is a fancy word for character and being good human beings. The URGE organization was set up for anybody who wants to get involved or donate to what we do. It’s not necessary to do what we do. We’re going to what we do regardless even before we had the organization URGE. This is us. It keeps us informed about what’s going on in the world. It’s unlimited resources giving enlightenment. We donate to schools. You know children are the key.
What are your thoughts on the US looming legalization of cannabis?

It’s good obviously because to demonize the plant and criminalize people who might what to use it in private. I think that the whole world knows that the argument for that is hypocritical. It’s good that people are waking up. We can say Legalize it, but it’s a waking up to the truth. Legal is terminology that they can decide what is legal or not, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right. It’s a waking up to the truth. Call it more of a cause. Not even that it’s legal, but people can understand about the plant now and the benefits. That’s the one thing happening for us that is good for the world. It’s a natural resource we can make use of. We talk about marijuana from the smoking side of the plant. The medicinal side of the plant There’s also the industrial side of the plant as well. To utilize every side of the plant. This plant has a whole story that we should be listening to.

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