Freddie McGregor stood up to the Marleys and he is winning.

Freddie McGregor was the only reggae artiste brave enough to stand up and speak out about the injustices in the music where the Grammy Awards are concerned.  Reggae and dancehall fans often voice their displeasure about the undeserved number of Grammy Awards that the Marleys were winning but almost all artistes remained silent, until McGregor spoke up.

In 2016, after seeing Ziggy Marley being nominated for another Grammy Award and a lot of artistes with higher quality music being ignored, McGregor referred to the Grammy nomination and selection process as “an embarrassment of indescribable magnitude to reggae music”.

Stephen Marley was quick to come to the defense of his family brother, as was expectedbut his argument did not make musch sense.  According to Stephen, the Marleys keep winning because of their hard work as if artistes like Tarrus Riley, Chronixx, Sizzla and Jah Cure are not also hard working and talented musicians.

After Ziggy ended up winning the 2016 Grammy Award, McGregor said it was “scandalous but not surprising”.

After McGregor’s comments, a boastful and hype Stephen said that whenever the Marleys release and album, it was like Usain Bolt entering a race as everyone know who the winner would be. Stephen’s statement was a big disrespect to Usain Bolt as the Olympic Gold Medalist wins races because of his talent while the Marleys win Grammys because of their last name and Jewish connections.

Executives at the Grammy Awards heard McGregor’s complaints loud and clear, however, and they are now taking steps to make sure that the most deserving artistes are nominated and selected for the Reggae Grammy and not only those with a Marley last name.

Late last week, Grammy executive got with members of the reggae and dancehall community to discuss a way forward in making sure that great reggae artistes will be recognized by the Grammys in the future.  Among the attendees were Mr. Vegas, Clinton Lindsay, Major Lazer, Neil Peart and representatives from 18 Karat Reggae.

One of the main issues discussed in the meeting was the fact that Orly Agai Marley, the wife of Ziggy Marley, is the governor of the Los Angeles chapter of the Grammy Executives.  This is a clear conflict of interest as this is the group responsible for deciding who is nominated and subsequently selected to receive the Grammy Award.

“The executives are also aware that for the past five years or so, Jamaicans are not satisfied with the final list, as they believe that the Marleys have a major influence on the selection. So the aim is to get rid of this misconception that the Grammy is not a level playing field as it relates to the Marleys,” Lindsay said.

He went on to state that everyone at the meeting was in agreement that the Marleys have used the influence of their last name to corrupt the system which has dealt a major blow to reggae music.

When music fans see the high number of Grammy Awards that Ziggy has won and listen to his music to find out that it is average at best, they think that is the best reggae has to offer and as a result they don’t take the chance to listen to the true greats of reggae like Beres Hammond, Sizzla, Capleton and Freddie McGregor himself.

Since the Grammys introduced the reggae category, Ziggy Marley has won eight Best Reggae Album Grammy Awards; five solo and three with the Melody Makers.  Stephen Marley has won six Grammy awards including winning for an album one year and then winning for the instrumental version of the same album the following year.  Damian Marley has won the Reggae Grammy three times but in his case, his Welcome to Jamrock album was deserving of the award that year.

Sadly, McGregor who got things moving in the right direction was not invited to the meeting by the Grammy Executives; nonetheless McGregor is very happy that progress is being made.

“Sometimes we are afraid to speak, so we don’t see changes, but I am really proud of what is happening,” McGregor told 18 Karat Reggae.

“The committee has made a good selection and the nomination is more important than the win, because there can only be one winner. All eyes are on Junior Gong and Chronixx. Both of them have exceptional albums, so the world waits with bated breath, to see who will emerge the winner,” he continued.

“If we feel comfortable with the albums that are nominated, then excitement will be generated and we will be satisfied with whoever wins. Things like this can only make the industry better,” McGregor concluded.




37 thoughts on “Freddie McGregor stood up to the Marleys and he is winning.

    1. I have always maintained that for the amount of musical talent in the island,one set of people always win the Grammy nooo sah big respect to bob Marley and the Marley name but over the years has seen a vast emergence of talent …it’s unfair and i really hope something is done about it this time ..the Grammy cannot be circulating in One family suh…


  1. While I get that Freddie Mcgreggor is entitled to his feelings on the matter, This article’s sounds mad biased. The writer seems to have included his opinions and it’s obvious he is not very fond of the Marleys. This is poor journalism. I should not be able to assume the writers position in a matter on which he is reporting by reading his article. Furthermore many of this writers claims is subjective, his feelings on Ziggy Marley’s album being “average at best” is his opinion. The Grammy’s selection process is not up to the Marleys and it is not there fault that their dad paved the way for them and as a result the average person hearing the name will automatically associate it to greatness, so their vote may be a biased one as a result. It may be unfair, but it is not Bob Marley’s offspring’s fault.


    1. i dont entirely agree because all this does is shine a light from a different perspective on this issue that i myself have always wondered about.

      And yes, over the years i have wondered about the Marley’s music and what the big deal was when there has been much better songs/artists doing great work for years…

      I just think its about time the likes of Beres Hammond win a grammy.
      Dont wait till he dead and give it to his offspring


    1. journalism includes opinion writing, a writer can take sides if they wish as long as they assert that its their own perspective…


      1. Ziggy is a MARLEY! His last name alone will open many doors, his father left his legacy to be carried on and he needs no assistance from his wife or any other to open doors. I will say I agree with the unfair advantage he may have and that may be a concern to many, but speak on that, stop with all this nonsense as if the Marleys are part of some corrupt scheme plotting to keep anyone else from winning a grammy. These are allegations that have not been proven so it is slander, smearing the people good name. The article should read Freddie Mcgreggor takes on the Grammys not the Marleys, the Marleys nevah do him nothing.


  2. All the best reggae artists are invited to perform in Zimbabwe by public demand. If you haven’t performed in Zimbabwe it means you are not good enough not even for a Grammy


  3. Jamaica isn’t the only caribbean island that produces reggae music. The U.S. Virgin Islands have great reggae artists. Maybe other representatives from other islands should have been invited as well. The article comes across as Anti-Marley, your focus should be including ALL REGGAE ARTISTS regardless of where they are from.


  4. #A lot of person talking are doing so because they have a mouth to chat. alot of our music are no good. The general public have no interest in it. The marleys have answered the of the general public. I havent listened to any of Ziggy`s album but i know for a fact that Junior Gong & Stephen has some excellent work that desire the rewards that they have gotten. I am particular please of the awardees this year and if Jr Gong wins its not from been bias his abum is that good.Chronixx albums is also very good and i would also be please if he should get it. As jamaican we need to be a part of the solution. Join the Academy or the commision so that our voices can be heard. The Marley`s do that. If youre not a part of the solution then youre a part of the problem…: Esoteric thinkers avoid conjectures…PB


  5. Seems to me that lots of folks forget that reggae music was de likkle dutty music dat was invented by poor black slave from out of jamdown .it was these poor black ghetto jamaicans who let other black people adopt our kingston music culture .and now every black folks from ware ever just want to hustle it.


  6. As a journalist I feel compelled to school the author on the fact that news reporting doesn’t have opinion. News reporting deals strictly with the facts. The inclusion of your opinion automatically renders any story an opinion piece. Now if this piece above is your opinion and not news then ok but don’t try to defend it. And this is strictly an opinion piece laced with bias. If your purpose was to speak truth to an issue the way you wrote this didn’t do it justice. I read other pieces on this site about the Marleys and it is patently obvious that you have an issue with the sons of Bob. I suggest you face, address and deal with it as opposed to using this medium to assault our eyes with your bias. Reggae music and the legacy of Bob deserves better.


    1. People from eberywhere isn’t hustling reggae music, reggae music is love, many can relate, I don;t care where it originate, it is infectious and this music of love has spread like wild fire, why are you trying to contain it? Reggae is the people dem music!


  7. As the founding chairman in 1984 of the Reggae Grammy Committee and its chair for 27 years, I have heard all these arguments for decades – and made some of the same ones myself. But let us be absolutely clear about the facts. The committee is a Screening committee only. That means they do not choose any of the nominees at all. They only screen to make sure all the potential nominees are, in fact, legitimately reggae albums. Nothing more.
    Also, the gratuitous mention of Mrs. Ziggy Marley as “jewish” is outrageous, defamatory and on its face, anti-semitic. Her faith has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand.
    It is up to the general membership of the Recording Academy, somewhere around 14,000 people, to vote in the first round and choose the five albums that will be the actual nominees. The second round, with far fewer voters among the membership (they would never reveal the actual numbers to us), chooses the winner. Obviously the name recognition of the Marleys is a tremendous asset, especially among those who choose to vote in the Reggae category who know little about our music.
    I have in other places suggested that Ziggy, already holder of a significant number of trophies, withdraw his name from future consideration, and open the way for other worthy artists to share a little of the glory. This is not meant in any way to denigrate his remarkable achievements and contributions to the form. But – when is enough, enough?
    -Roger Steffens, author “So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for this response as I find it very informative and it in fact merits being its own blog post, as myself and I imagine many in the reggae community do not understand how the Grammy process fully works.

      We do take great exception to the “anti-semitic” labeling, as that is as far from the truth as one can get. Like real reggae, like real Rasta, we stand for equal rights and justice. We were talking about Ziggy Marley who supports apartheid but won 8 Grammy Awards from an art form that came about fighting oppression, so it was important to point out to the readers how it all intertwined.

      Again thanks for the great info you provided. We stand for justice whether you are a Black south African, A Brown Palestinian or a White Ukrainian.


  8. Not to say the marley are best but thier keep touring .the group tour for three year non stop while person only tour for six month .what we fine happen here people going to vote for those who thier see .plus thier audance for more .


  9. This is just poor writing. Opinion piece or not. It reads very disjointed and does nothing for the credibility of the site. 2 stars.


  10. I did not know that the Marleys win that many awards.why,why? That is so unfair to Beres Hammond, Freddie,Capleton and sanchez.That is not right. The Marleys music does not make me want to get up and dance. I will pay any amount of money to see these artist that I listed. Are you kidding me!! I paid over a thousand dollars for a cruise to see Berres March 2016.And I will be going on another cruise 2018 to see him again, this time Sanchez will be joining. Oh my gosh I did not know that’s what was going on.If the Marleys was going to be on a cruize I would not go. I have respect for them because of their father. But I think the reason why they honestly got the awards, they are carrying their father’s name. That’s not right.


  11. I am from the UK and at this year’s MOBO awards I was so shocked that the Marleys picked up a award for best reggae artist that is a sandal as I can’t recall any hits last year or this year in the UK by any of the Marleys,so many artist had big hits and never even got a look in , something is not right




  13. I happen to grow up with Bob Marley. We lived on the same street in Trench Town. As one of the School Boys I recorded my first song at the age of 13 way before Bob recorded his and Freddie, Bob would have LOVE what you did because he hate injustice . One love to all. You want to hear my music? go to Youtube and type Colin ska Johnson. Bob seh ” Wi come from Trench Town wi free the people wid music.” HELP!


  14. Freddie McGregor, as a veteran in the industry should know better. The main reason why there is no separate Reggae and Dancehall category and as why so many Marley’s have won the Reggae Grammy has nothing to do with corruption. It has to do with the lack of participation form industry Dancehall and Reggae folks. Reference the following:

    Freddie McGregor should have known that they had to become Recording Academy members to vote

    “Student memberships are available for $25 per year (or $50 for four years), and the annual fee for voting and associate members is $100”

    Most of them don’t want to pay the dues!!!


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