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Watch This: Damian Marley Debuts Controversial ‘Nail Pon Cross’ Video

Published on August 25, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Watch This: Damian Marley Debuts Controversial "Nail Pon Cross" Video
Reggae artist Damian “Jr Gong” Marley performs with rapper Nas (not pictured) at the Austin City Limits Festival on Friday Sept. 16, 2011 in Austin, Texas. The festival celebrates its tenth anniversary this weekend. (AP Photo/The Daily Texan, Fanny Trang)

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, the youngest son of legendary reggae artist and cannabis enthusiast Bob Marley, released his highly anticipated visual to “Nail Pon Cross,” the debut single from his upcoming album Stony Hill. Marley’s newest single sheds light on some of today’s most controversial and highly publicized issues in politics and the media, such as race relations and police brutality.

His message in “Nail Pon Cross” is simple: Be wary of who you pass judgement on. However, Marley’s polarizing imagery in this nearly 4-minute long video has some viewers praising him and others upset. During the video a young black man, a Muslim man, a police officer, and even Marley himself are crucified on utility poles in the streets of Los Angeles.

But those who immediately deem Marley’s visual as blasphemy may be taking his lyrics and the video’s director, Darren Craig’s, artistic interpretation far too literally. In an interview with Billboard.com, Marley says:

“So we are not reenacting the crucifixion of Christ but showing the crucifixion of many. Whether people like it or not, the most important thing is to raise conversations about the judgements made against people.”

Marley remains true to his roots and holds the philosophies of his father near and dear to his heart. “In Nail Pon Cross,” he sings:

Don’t throw no word/ I beg you don’t throw no stone/ If you living in a house of glass/ Do onto others / As you do to your own/ You never know when you might cross path/ Have a look within/ Cause another ones win/ That should not be your loss/ If the tables spin/ You a laugh up an’ a grin/ Be careful who you nail pon cross

Marley’s fourth studio album, Stony Hill, will release exclusively on the music streaming service Tidal on October 28th. It’s the highly anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed album Welcome to Jamrock, which won him a Grammy award for Best Reggae Album and another for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2006. Marley is the first ever Jamaican reggae artist in history to win two Grammy awards on the same night.

What are your thoughts after watching Damian Marley’s “Nail Pon Cross?”

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Nicolle Callier
Nicolle Callier
Nicolle is an editorial intern at Leafly.
View Nicolle Callier's articles
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