Ziggy Marley on the Importance of Giving Back

It’s 11:00 AM in Los Angeles, California. Activist and musician Ziggy Marley chats with me on the phone. Most recently, Ziggy was featured alongside wife Orly, daughters Zuri, Judah, and Justice, as well as sons Daniel, Gideon, Abraham, and Isaiah for the new holiday campaign ‘Give the Gift of UGG’, which helps promote community, unity, […]

It’s 11:00 AM in Los Angeles, California. Activist and musician Ziggy Marley chats with me on the phone. Most recently, Ziggy was featured alongside wife Orly, daughters Zuri, Judah, and Justice, as well as sons Daniel, Gideon, Abraham, and Isaiah for the new holiday campaign ‘Give the Gift of UGG’, which helps promote community, unity, and family. UGG is giving back to communities with Marley’s foundation he founded: U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a nonprofit organization that donates to women, children, and communities in need and HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles), a charity that provides underserved youth with free, exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.

I talk to Ziggy as he reflects on the decade, charity work, and the youth paving the way for the future.

How did you originally get involved with charity work?

As a young teenager growing up in Jamaica I started doing stuff there. People were hungry, people didn’t have homes. I started at a young age with my mother and father. I started very young and until now.

How has your activism and philanthropy played a role in your life as a father, a musician, and, just in general, as a person?

It’s a part of who I am. It’s like inside of me. That’s my heart. It’s how I feel. As a father to set a good example for my children… As someone in society who gives back to the less fortunate. Something that is positive. This is who I am and how I was born. We just try to develop that core: that thing that is inside of us and develop. Try to do more and do what we can that’s positive for the future generations. My children and their children and their children. The future generation.

You have a family of musicians…. Do they get involved with the charities?

My family is visiting places to help the homeless. As a musical artist, I try new stuff for auction and charity. I give performances. It’s not just my own charity but other charities. My focus is change with my music and my family.

How can others get involved with these charities?

Well, I mean, for me—I always tell people, “Look around you”. Look for a charity in your neighborhood. It’s not about my charity. It’s not about me. It’s about helping people wherever people need help. Look for a charity in your neighborhood. Where can you help? Who can you help? Who needs help? In your family…In your community… You don’t have to look far away.

I’m curious about the ‘Give the Gift of UGG’ campaign. Tell me about that.

I was wearing UGG before the campaign and I like their stuff. When the opportunity came to do something with them [I did]. Then there’s the charity component of the ‘Give the Gift of UGG’ campaign with two charities. One is mine and another one I help in LA is called HOLA, which helps underprivileged kids. That was a big sell for me. I wanted to do it if we could support charity as well… Everything sticks well together. Me loving the brand before the campaign and the brand willing to do some charity work. It’s a family affair. It’s all good.

Any new plans for the upcoming year as far as your music and philanthropic work?

Well, I just put out a new single. It’s on YouTube and it’s called “Friday’s On”. It’s a song about the kids who are fighting for the future marching against climate change and gun violence. It’s a good song. Philanthropic? We have a charity in Jamaica for education that we’ve been doing and will continue to do so. There are also some charities we’re looking at here in LA.

What would you like to see for this new decade in terms of charity and awareness?

For this new decade… Everything comes from love, you know? More love in society. That will help bring other things together. More love, more understanding, less divisiveness, better leadership. I think that’s the leadership that will bring a more unified country. All goodness comes from the foundation of love and unity and good leadership. That’s the most important thing I would say for this next decade is to move away from divisiveness and hatred….More speaking with each other with respect… Human respect and dignity, you know? Right now we need more of that. That is actually where we are headed even though now it’s so hard right now to see. The world is going to be a better place in the next decade because we see what hate and divisiveness has been doing and it’s not something that is part of this. We cannot have economic prosperity without unification and love to go with that. It doesn’t link the society. You need unity, love, and understanding. That’s what makes a society great and not how much money society has.

Looking back on this last decade what inspired you the most?

The kids, the future generation. The youth who are making their voices heard. That is what the most important inspiration I think for me. Listening to their voices. The future generation will be a really constructive, understanding, and caring generation. I am looking forward to that. The youth is the most inspiring for me.

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