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For Ziggy Marley, a leader who doesn’t achieve peace is a leader who fails

Ziggy Marley performs in Los Angeles in May. | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Ziggy Marley had one simple goal going into the making of “Rebellion Rises,” the reggae legend’s seventh solo album: to offer encouragement to and a voice on behalf of humanity in the face of overwhelming negativity and darkness.

“The rebellion that we speak of is a rebellion that the majority of humanity will instigate to change the world and rebalance the world into a more positive, unified, less divisive place,” he says. “But I feel like we need a voice. And this is that voice.”

Dreams like that come naturally to Marley, having grown up with Bob Marley for a father and seeing the impact one voice can have in shining a light in the darkness.

Q: Do you find it hard to stay as optimistic as you sound on the title track, given the current political climate?

A: No. I feel like I’m more optimistic now. I’m more confident because I know if we could have our voices be heard in the world, the majority of us would want peace, the majority of us would not want to hate each other.


When: 7 p.m. Aug. 28

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The majority of human beings … are loving people who want to live together. I have no doubt. So I am very positive knowing that most of us are that way. Now, all we have to do is instigate the will in ourselves to make the changes we talk about happen.

Q: The album opens with “See Dem Fake Leaders.” Were there particular leaders you were thinking of as you were writing that?

A: I’m thinking about all leaders on the planet Earth who pit people against each other based on religion — Christian, Muslim, Judaism, whatever it is — who preach that one religion is greater than the next one, that one belief takes you to paradise and the next belief takes you to hell. I’m talking about political leaders across the spectrum, from Africa to United States to Russia to Jamaica. Everybody is included in this. We’re not picking and choosing here.

And this is our reality. Our leaders should be able to achieve a world that is much better than the world we live in today. If they were doing their jobs properly and had their priorities right, this planet could be a much better place to live. And so, we don’t see them as leaders anymore. We just see them as fake leaders. A leader brings people together.

If the leadership on this earth cannot bring this planet together in harmony, then what is your job? What is your objective as leaders on this planet?

What are you doing for humanity if at this point in our history we’re still fighting over land, we still quarreling over religion, we’re still quarreling over race … Where is the voice of humanity in all of this political and religious and racist noise that’s going on? This is not about Donald Trump alone. It is across the board.

Q: Your father obviously sought to make the world a more enlightened place through music. Could you talk a bit about the impact that had on you?

A: It played a big part, obviously. I saw that music was a powerful tool as I was growing up. Less now because it’s controlled a little bit more by corporations that want to diminish the voice of dissent, the voice of consciousness in the dialogue of our culture.

Music in the past was much more free, where music today is much more cookie-cutter and less vocal in its dissent. A lot of individuals are much more self-centered in their artistic expression. But growing up around my father, I saw music as a vehicle for social change.

Q: I read that you’re working with Paramount on a biopic about your father. Is there anything you can say about what’s going on with that?

A: It’s early, early, early stages. I cannot say more than that. Once I have more concrete information we’ll put that out there but right now it is too early to say anything.

Q: Your son Gideon is on “The Storm is Coming.”

A: This is his first time. And it was not planned. He came into the studio one day when I was working and I said, “Do you want to be on the record?” He said, “Yeah.” So I put him in there but I didn’t do it as a joke or as some kind of gimmick.

I made him work for it. I made him practice. I wasn’t gonna do it and say, “Hey this is cute, my kid is on the record.” He had to work hard to be on the record. It’s not easy work.

Q: You were 11 when you first appeared on a record with your siblings. And you’ve had family members on your records on and off throughout the years. What is that like for you?

A: We’ve got a connectivity because we’re close together as family. And it makes, I think, creating music have an almost telepathic vibe to it because we’re very close in our relationships, in our blood, in our DNA. There’s something special about that.