Jamaican Politics, Reggae and Rastafarianism in the 1970’s

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Jamaican Politics, Reggae and Rastafarianism in the 1970’s "In the last election Prime Minister X went to Ethiopia and met with the King of Kings and had a conversation with him. He came back to Jamaica and showed the people a Rod, which he said was given to him by the King, Haile Selassie the First, to bring freedom to the Black People of Jamaica. He carried that Rod all around during the campaign. The Rastafarians heard this; the Dreadlocks heard this; and this rod caused him to win a landslide victory for the Party. Well, I and I welcome that, because the former government did nothing for the cause of Africa, Rastas, or no one. As you know, we Rastas do not vote, because you cannot take out a rat and put in a cat, but the Prime Minister came to power talking like a Rastafarian. He started some progressive moves on behalf of the African peoples of this country. But after a while he forgot the Rod; he forgot to talk about Africa; he forgot to talk about the Rastafarians. What we now know, is that if the Prime Minister even wanted to do something good for the African peoples of this country, his lieutenants will not allow him to do it. After he came back from Ethiopia he called himself Joshua, the one who was to take us to the Promised Land, but the only freedom we have seen up to now is the word ‘Socialism’. To be honest, he had done better than the other party, for the other Party was so anti-Black that not even Elijah Muhammad could enter Jamaica as a Black man. Today, it is a little better; there is freedom of speech for I and I. As you see, we even got the Marcus Garvey Park to use. Here and there we have seen a little change on the part of the government but not enough to bring the Black masses out of the slums they are in right now."(Barrett 180) This quote, along with numerous other readings, has sparked my interest in the political scene and situation surrounding Jamaica, Rastafarianism and reggae music in the 1970’s. It seems to me, despite the economic shambles of Jamaica and the staunch and deliberate refusal of Rastafarians to participate in "politricks", that politics has had a deep impact on any and every aspect of life in Jamaica.

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