Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Stephen sees no Marley bias in Reggae Grammy

Published:Sunday | December 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Stephen Marley has a classic reply to The Sunday Gleaner's suggestion that may be a sentiment that once a Marley is nominated for a Grammy award in the reggae category, the other nominees can forget about winning.

"Whe yu do from Bolt inna de race?" he asks rhetorically.

"I mean, like our work speak fi itself. An we nah try impress no one or nutten like dat. Yu hear Gong say when yu hungry, bway dem make yu brother be yu enemy (from Ambush in the Night)? Me no waan get drawn into dem kinda vibes whe all ones whe yu look up to an suppose to a commend and help along, yu feel like yu inna position fi compete, so yu haffi defend yourself."

"Me no inna dat. An we know we no make music fi trophy, we know dat, outta yu integrity an yu heart. But at the same time, we know the work an experience whe we put inna de music an' no guy can take dat from we either. So no, I don't think the Grammy is biased. Definitely I think we deserve every accolade whe we get," Stephen said, laughing.

"Yeah. And definitely others deserve as well, of course. No question bout dat. But whe me ago say? Of course me music deserve fe in the category nominated - and win, if it win," Marley says emphatically.

Any perceptions of bias apart, Marley has deeper concerns about the Reggae Grammy and how it should be approached by those who take issue with it.

"Us here, if this Grammy thing is so important to we, then educate youself an' fin' out whe we a do wrong, when yu a talk bout de Marleys an de who do dis an who do dat. We a still part a de backbone inna dis ting ya," he said.

The Sunday Gleaner, asks Stephen to clarify the "we" and he exclaims emphatically "Marley! And the family. How you mean. You know how long me a burn da fire ya? From 1979 me leave school 2 o'clock fi go rehearsal 3:10, go home yu do yu homework, go a yu bed. Whe yu a say man. No man can take dem ting deh from we," he said.

"A no like here is a pedestal. No, we go tru it as likkle yute same way a work pon de same stage as we father, International Year of the Child. We go on 7 o'clock, de Gong go on at 11. We have worked our way into this. Lloyd Parkes an them people a back we up. It wasn't no joke. It wasn't because of who we were. It was because we deserve that position. Yeah, yeah yeah."

Stephen made it clear that Bob did not give his children an easy path.

"My father definitely wasn't one whe you ago make the team true him a the coach. As a matter of fact, everybody run 10 laps, you run 15, a so him stay. So trust me, we go through it."

"So y'nuh, nobody cyaa take dem ting deh from we. Min' how oonu a call up we name too. Jus' low our name outta de ting. Right low we name outta dem ting deh. God bless."

The nominees for the 2017 Grammy award in the reggae category are Devin Di Dakta and J.L., for Sly & Robbie Presents ... Reggae for Her; J Boog for Rose Petals; Ziggy Marley for Ziggy Marley; Raging Fyah for Everlasting; Rebelution for Falling into Place; and SOJA for SOJA; Live in Virginia.

Since the Reggae Grammy was introduces, Black Uhuru winning in 1985 with Anthem, members of the Marley family started winning in 1989 with Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers' Conscious Party. The most recent win was Ziggy Marley with Fly Rasta in 2015 and Stephen's most recent solo win was with Revelation Pt I: The Root of Life in 2012.

- M.C.