Ziggy Marley: Let's Not Be Food 'Lab Rats'
The Root spoke with the reggae heir about his campaign against genetically modified food.
ZM: The important question is, do people have a right to know what they're putting into their bodies? If the answer is yes, then everything should be clear and transparent. If people don't have a right to know, then put nothing on it -- no calories, no cholesterol, nothing. But I know we have a right, and that right is important to me.
If food is labeled, some people might choose to eat stuff that's genetically modified. They might decide they love it. But give us a choice. The big thing here is that the people are the lab rats and the guinea pigs.
TR: What do you want people who aren't aware of the debate surrounding the labeling of genetically modified foods to know?
ZM: At some point in time, the politicians decided this issue with the pharmaceutical guys. They decided genetically modified foods didn't need to be labeled. And the American people are sleeping and need to wake up. The problem is disguised in food products -- nice-looking hamburgers and nice-looking corn.
I'm sure someone is out there saying maybe it's all the liberals, but this shouldn't be a partisan issue. Regardless of your political party, you should want to know what's in your food. And even if you don't care about the food, you must care about the rights -- the right to make choices, and the right to know what you're eating. If not, this could just be the beginning of rights being taken away from people and what people don't have the right to know.
If we don't stand up for this, then what are we going to stand up for? It's an American concept. We have freedom of choice and freedom of religion, and we should have the freedom to know what's in our food.
TR: You're performing at the Howard Theatre this week as the first stop of your tour. What's next for you in terms of music, your food line and activism, and how are you balancing it all?
ZM: We have an album called Wild and Free. We're getting ready to hit the road for a couple of months, on a tour through the U.S. and Canada. I have some other ideas I'd like to explore. I have dreams.
But everything is everything; everything is one thing, so there's no need for balance. My advocacy starts with my everyday life -- talking to my friends and neighbors. I don't need to set time apart because my advocacy and my music are intertwined -- there's no differentiation between them.
Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root's staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.