Veteran reggae artist and living legend, Freddie McGregor, knows a thing or two about reggae music and he definitely knows what is and isn’t great music. As far Ziggy Marley winning the 2017 Reggae Grammy Award, Mr. McGregor says it was “scandalous but not surprising”.
Ziggy’s self-titled winning album, Ziggy Marley, is little known within the reggae community and does not contain any great reggae songs but it beat out five other nominees to take the coveted and elusive award, an award that has slipped away from the grasp of many global icons in reggae music.
Greats like Sizzla, Beres Hammond, Chronixx, Dennis Brown, Third World, Gregory Isaacs, Yellowman, Barrington Levy, Marcia Griffiths, Etana, Vybz Kartel, Capleton and McGregor himself are yet to win a Grammy. This year marks the 11th win for the Marleys in the Best Reggae Album category since the awards started in 1985. A few weeks ago, McGregor was strident in his condemnation of the practices of the selection committee for the reggae Grammy. He lashed out at the awards, calling them “an embarrassment of indescribable magnitude to reggae music”.
Whenever a Marley is nominated in the Best Reggae Album category, statistically, the chances of someone else winning are rather slim. Since 1998, of nine times when the Marleys were nominated, they have won all nine times. One of the most embarrassing Marley Grammy wins was when Stephen Marley won for an album, did the acoustic version of the very same album and won with it again.
A Grammy expert pointed out that the Marleys have won more Reggae Grammy Awards since the category’s inception than black artistes have won Album of the Year Awards in the Grammys’ 59-year history.
“The Grammy Awards lack credibility on many levels, so rather than hoping and dreaming of winning a Grammy, we need to focus on building and strengthening our own Jamaican brand, like the JaRIA (Jamaica Reggae Industry Association) Honor Awards, and turning it into an altar at which reggae lovers from around the world will come each year to pay their respects,” McGregor concluded.
The story of the Marleys is unfolding into one of Stolen Legacy, where generations from now reggae will be seen as more Jewish than Black. People say the Marleys win all the time because the father was great but they are ignoring the elephant in the room which is the Jewish connection. It is no coincidence that Ziggy Marley has come out in staunch support of Israel.