Rastafari Essay

Rastafari Essay

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Rastafari is, before it is anything else, a way of life. It offers approaches and answers to real problems black people face in daily living; it promotes spiritual resilience in the face of oppressive poverty and underdevelopment. It produces art, music and cultural forms, which can be universally recognized and appreciated. More important, Rastafari provides a positive self-image, an alternative to people who need and cannot find or accept one elsewhere. Even with its black foundation and orientation, Rastafarianism is open to anyone, of any race, who chooses to discover and is able to accept it.
     My research focuses on the history of Rastafarians and the birth of Rastafarianism. I will reflect our lifestyle, including our symbols and beliefs, which will include our prophet and our God.
     Marcus Garvey, who was a black, Jamaican nationalists, prophet to many Jamaicans and visionary, preached a message of black supremacy and initiated the “ Back to Africa” movement calling for all blacks to return home to Africa. Garvey proclaimed that a new black king would soon rise out of Africa to deliver all Africans from their oppressions all over the world. This prophecy was fulfilled at the time of the coronation of Haile Selassie I as Emperor of Ethiopia. The coming of the first Rastas, A shortened version of the word Rastafarian, was in Jamaica in the 1930. The Haile Selassie I, whose previous name was Ras Tafari, means power of Trinity. This is from where the Rasta movement took its name. “In fact, nearly every black movement in recent American history inherits some legacy from Marcus Garvey---through the Urban League, the Black Panthers, the Republic of New Africa, People United to save humanity (PUSH), the Nation of Islam, and other groups. Garvey’s influence lives on. His memory certainly lives among the Rastafarians of his homeland”(Nicholas 16).
     The Rasta’s Haile Selassie I was more than just a political leader. Our prime belief is that Selassie I is the living Jah (God) for the black race. “ When Jesus left this earth, he promised to return, not as lamb to slaughter, but as a conquering lion; not as a peasant to be spitted upon, but as a King of Kings--- the greatest title bestowed upon a man…Haile Selassie I, being of the line of Judah, root of David and on the throne ...


... middle of paper ...


...mbolizes the Rastas roots, in contrast to the straight, blond look of the white man establishment. “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off their corner of their beard, nor make cuttings in the flesh”(Leviticus 21:5). Some Rastas vow never to cut their hair, as did the Nazarites. The way our hair grows represents the Lion of Judah. The Lion of Judah represents Selassie I as King of Kings, as a lion is king of all beasts. Some Rastas cover their dreadlocks out of respect when they leave their home because the police will not hesitate to cut their hair if they are brought in for questioning or any other reason.
     The main and basic way of life for Rastafarians includes the maintenance among all people of divine principles of life. These principles include loyalty, honesty, fear and love of God and self-attainment. We stand together against the world of Babylon in unity. We are seeking the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression. We also seek personal and individual freedom.

Works Cited
Moodie, John. Hath… The Lion Prevailed? Chicago: RASTP, 1999.

Nicholas, Tracey. Rastafari: A way of Life. Chicago: RASTP, 1996.

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