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Damian Marley Speaks on “Nail Pon Cross” Music Video Controversy

Damian Marley Speaks on “Nail Pon Cross” Music Video Controversy

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Friday, 26 August 2016
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After premiering as a Tidal exclusive, Damian Marley’s powerful new video, “Nail Pon Cross” appeared on his Vevo channel earlier this week, bringing the disturbing visuals to the whole wide world. Although it’s not the first music video to feature a crucifixion scene—Damian told Billboard that he was inspired by his friend Nas’s “Hate Me Now” video—there’s still something shocking about watching Bob Marley’s son have nails pounded through his wrists and left on a telephone pole to die. A still from the video posted online generated a flurry of negative comments, especially from Christians who were offended by what they considered a sacriligeous image. “It’s ironic, because I’m being crucified for being crucified,” he recently told the Huffington Post in response to the controversy. Boomshots caught up with Jr. Gong to get his views on the visuals.

What an amazing video. Must have been an interesting shoot!

It was the most Hollywood shoot I’ve ever done—the tricks of it. Some of it was shot in a controlled thing, some green screen stuff. But yeah, they actually had me out in the streets of L.A. also.

You must know that you’re going to start a big conversation with this song.

Just the image that we’ve put up online, it already get a whole heap of comments. Some people agree, some people don’t. Some people like it, some people don’t. But me kinda really glad. We always make statements with our music, so to really have a visual that makes a statement too, it feels good.

Your choice of people who get crucified along with you is very interesting.

Yeah.

Can you talk about why all the people are on the cross?

Well it’s because, I mean, for obvious reasons. We have a young child, African-American child on the cross. We have a man that looks like a Middle Eastern brother. And we have a police officer. These officers nowadays in America has been branded to a certain level. But you still have to remember that these people are all individuals. Not because they’re in a uniform means that they’re going to behave a certain way—whether it be a positive way or not. Not everyone in uniform abuses them power, but some people do. So it kinda was really the same way. And all of these things have to do with the kind of stereotypes that we see happening in today’s society, where people are concerned that labels and stereotypes attached are put on these different people.

Damian Marley Speaks on “Nail Pon Cross” Music Video Controversy

And why do you put yourself on that same cross?

Cause it’s my song. [Laughs]

That’s a neat way to end all the discussion. But you are the one who put this out in the world, so it must mean something to you.

I just want to make it clear that we’re not trying to portray Christ. Christ was one of thousands upon thousands of individuals of people who was crucified on a cross. It could be anybody. But just to make it clear: We’re not trying to portray Christ. It’s the idea of persecuting somebody in the most public way.

It’s about more than killing someone, it’s about making an example out of them. That’s what crucifixion and lynching is about. It’s not just killing the person, it’s doing it in the most public way possible.

To instill a mentality. Yeah mon.

So everyone else will see this and know that “if you try and mess around this can happen to you too” kinda thing.

Exactly.

So this video, then, is a public statement of what? Is it like, “We’re not going to be intimidated”?

It’s a mirror. It’s just kinda holding up a mirror at society and saying “Hey—look how we’re judging each other.” Like I keep saying, when I wrote this song, I wasn’t thinking about police. When I wrote this song, I was just thinking about basic everyday shit. Just basically life. How we judge each other. How we judge our friends. How we judge everything. So that’s really what it’s is about. It’s really moreso a reflection of how society is being judgmental.
where labels and stereotypes are put on these different people.

The concept sort of reminds me of another record—it’s called “Judge Not.” Ever heard it?

[Laughs]

 

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