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Skip Marley will share more than one love at Actions for Change festival in Parkland

Just before Valentine’s Day 2017, one year before the horror visited upon Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Miami-raised singer Skip Marley appeared on the Grammy Awards telecast to perform with pop star Katy Perry on their just-released club hit “Chained to the Rhythm.”

The buzz surrounding the song, which would hit No. 5 on the Billboard singles chart, obscured the debut two weeks prior of a different kind of song from Marley, son of reggae singer Cedella Marley and grandson of music icon Bob Marley.

On “Lions,” his debut single for Island Records, the then 21-year-old Marley seemed to predict the passion and determination that young people in Parkland and across the country would harness after the MSD shooting a year later.

“We are the lions, we are the chosen / We gonna shine out the dark / We are the movement, this generation / You better know who we are, who we are," Markey sings on the track.

On Sunday, Sept. 30, Marley will be among the performers at the Actions for Change Food and Music Festival at Pine Trails Park in Parkland. Nationally touring band Michael Franti & Spearhead is a headliner for the concert, which also will include music from celebrity DJ Sam Ronson. Actor-activist Alyssa Milano and popular South Florida radio personality Paul Castronovo will emcee the event, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m.

Other musical performers will include Nahko, Carrie Manolakos, Ocean Park Standoff, Sordid Fable (formerly the Abbe David Band), the Paul Metsa Blues Quartet (with Sonny Earl and Wee Willie Walker), Friends of Peter Yarrow, the Peace Poets, and Shine MSD, featuring Douglas students Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Pena on their anthem “Shine.”

The food angle will be handled by more than 30 acclaimed chefs, including some who have worked at Michelin-star restaurants and been nominated for James Beard Awards. Among them are Marc Vetri from Philadelphia, Suzanne Goin from Los Angeles, Gabriela Camara from Mexico City and South Florida chefs Brad Kilgore (Alter in Miami), Jeremy and Cindy Bearman (Oceano Kitchen in Lantana), Michelle Bernstein (Crumb on Parchment in Miami) and Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale).

The festival also will feature live mural painting by Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, along with a silent auction of art and other items. The festival was created by MSD parent Doug Zeif, whose son was best friends with Joaquin Oliver.

Billed as a nonpartisan gathering “dedicated to providing love, hope and healing through the arts and empowering today’s youth to demand change,” organizers found a perfect crusader for that message in Marley.

Just a few years removed from Miami’s Palmer Trinity School, Marley speaks with that unusual balance of urgent righteousness and patient faith in humanity that his grandfather made famous. His set list in Parkland will include “Lions,” which he acknowledges was written as a call to action.

“I was talking to all the people, but in particular my generation. I was really trying to assure people — give them strength, give them power — in the possibility that we can make change in this life, in this generation,” Marley says. “My generation thinks there is hope for a better future. There’s hope for unity, and there’s hope for love and understanding. That’s how I feel personally, and I know other people feel that way, too. Love is the answer.”

Speaking by phone from a studio in Miami, where he is recording his debut album, Marley says he was “happy and honored” to be included in the Actions for Change festival.

“It’s a peaceful movement. It’s a love thing, you know? Love overcomes. We need love. We need light. I’m confident in the victory of good over evil always,” he says.

Marley says he admires what March for Our Lives and other student movements have been able to accomplish in changing the national conversation on gun violence, school safety and voting.

“It’s very important for the youths of today to really be aware of what’s going on and to want to stand for change. And to not be scared, you know? It takes a lot for them not to be scared,” he says.

Marley’s set list will include music by his grandfather, whose spirit is present in everything he does, he says. One song he’s committed to playing is “Redemption Song.”

“I feel like that song will really get to the people. I’ll be singing about redemption, and that’s what we need,” he says. “That’s how we will become free.”

The Actions for Change Food and Music Festival will take place 5-10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at Pine Trails Park, 10555 Trails End, in Parkland. Tickets cost $150 or $45 for those younger than 18, and include food and soft drinks, entertainment and free parking and shuttle at the Parkland Equestrian Center. Tickets must be purchased in advance at ActionsForChange.com.

bcrandell@sun-sentinel.com

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