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Name Professor Subject Date 1. The Rastafarian Movement The Rastafarian movement can be traced in part to Marcus Moziah Garvey, a black Jamaican nationalist who was convinced that in order to overcome oppression, blacks must be united. He was the influence behind the movement’s theme of repatriation, “one of the cornerstones of Rastafari belief” (Barry Chevannes, p…
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Download file to see previous pages... He also inspired the Rastafarian’s belief in a living black God (King, Bays and Foster xv-xvi). Since the rise of the Rastafari movement, they believed that “they and all Africans in the diaspora are but exiles in ‘Babylon,’ destined to be delivered out of captivity by a return to ‘Zion,’ that is, Africa, the land of our ancestors, or Ethipia, the seat of Jah, Ras Tafari himself, Emperor Haile Selassie’s precoronation name” (Chevannes 1). The movement’s “diversification and lack of centralized leadership” strengthened their ability to survive whenever they were persecuted (King, Bays and Foster xv-xvi). Leonard Howell, who is known to establish the Pinnacle, a commune where his followers lived, forming a community, was just one of the first preachers of Rastafari, who returned to Jamaica in the midst of an upsurge of Revivalism after being discharged from Panama to join the U.S. Army Transport Service as a cook was a defiant anticolonialist. “He is said to have encouraged or threatened peasants not to pay taxes” (Chevannes 121-122). In 1932, he encouraged Jamaicans to reject the authority of the King of England and to give their loyalties to the new emperor of Ethiopia, selling pictures of Haile Selassie as future passports to Ethiopia. He was arrested, together with his deputy for breaking Jamaica’s sedition laws and sentenced to two years of hard labor, and his deputy to one year(King, Bays and Foster xv-xvi). The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices identified many variants within Rastafarianism. It adds that “the 1983 Rastafari Theocratic Assembly passed a resolution declaring a single variant that associated with the House of Nyahbinghi – as the orthodox faith. The House of Nyahbonghi creed proclaims Haile Selassie a Living God and states that all African peoples are one and that the descendants of those who were taken from Africa to be slaves in Babylon will be repatriated…Haile Selassie I was expected to arrange for the return of all people of African descent to Africa, but following his death in 1975, there has been less emphasis on a physical return to Africa and greater emphasis on a spiritual return” (p. 2368). According to Ennis B. Edmonds and Michelle A. Gonzalez, “the rise of a new generation of Rastafarian artists …has returned a ‘conscious’ discourse to the center of Jamaican popular music. Artists…have focused the critical eye of Rastafari on continued inequities and exploitation in Jamaican society… It has grown from small beginnings to become a religion known and embraced around the world.” The movement spread to other countries because people, particularly students from other places such as the Caribbean islands who study in Jamaica brought Rastafari to their own countries while Jamaican students who study in other countries like Barbados, Trinidad, Cuba and other countries shared their belief and convictions, together with their reggae music. Edmonds and Gonzalez further stated that “Jamaican Rastas emigrating to North America, Europe, and Africa, practicing their faith in their new location. Many second-generation Jamaicans and other Caribbean and African youths, especially in England, turn to Rastafari and reggae in the face of the alienation they experience in their new lands” (p. 200-201). Rituals performed by Rastafari serve to shape and perpetuate religion and sociality in addition ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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