RastafarI - 4 - Is it Real?

kaylarStarred Page By kaylar, 26th Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>General

Is RastafarI a real religion/culture or just a part time style?

In Jamaica

By 2012 the number of RastafarI (or persons with dread locked hair) holding positions in society is no longer worthy of comment.

For decades Rasta were virtually banned from the work place and either had little 'tuck shops' (tiny restaurants) farmed, sold in the market, did low level jobs, or were in entertainment.

Today they are lawyers, are elected to Parliament, are doctors, might be Permanent Secretaries in Ministries, Managers of Businesses, in short, being Rasta is no longer an impediment.

The question is, are they Rasta or is this a 'hair style'?

The men and women who 'dread' before Bob Marley had 'religious' or 'cultural' reason why they Identified themselves as Rasta. Many had religious/social practices which were non-negotiable.

Today, it is not surprising to see those in their twenties who have been 'dread' all their lives, strolling into Kentucky Fried Chicken.

These children of 'Ital Rasta' probably have never read a Bible, taken any form of Vow, and although making the rote responses to particular calls, know Nothing at all, nor care.

The "Leadership"

If one were to attempt to ascertain the 'Leaders' within the Rasta community in Jamaica today one would be assaulted with so much self promotion taking place.

There are voices which fill the airwaves, setting themselves as the arbiters, yet have very little following. And very little credence.

The Elders are gone.

Those who developed the Doctrine, those who suffered for their faith are no longer available.

The second tier of opportunists have, for the most part, faded away, only a few remain as the Be All / End All.

What one finds remarkable is that beyond the hair style, the artificial terms inserted into the language, and the public dietary practices, that they really don't believe what they espouse.

Further, there is no difference between them and a bald headed counterpart. It isn't that one can go to a Rasta who is an X (lawyer, doctor, architect, etc) and receive any different treatment than if one went to a pork eating bald head.

If They Believed....

One wonders why, for example, if Haile Selassie is 'the Messiah' to RastafarI, his Birthday is not treated as a holiday, where Rasta refrain from work.

Yes, there is usually a 'Binghi' at that time in July but, if a Rasta is running a business, why doesn't he close it on that day as a mark of respect? Especially a
professional office in which he sets the opening and closing times?

The same is true with the Birthday of Marcus Garvey.

The only holidays that Rasta observe are those set by the State. Hence, the State calls August 1 'Emancipation Day' and closes business. Previously, it was a standard working day; for Rasta as well as Baldhead.

You will find no more than self promotion if one confronts those who push themselves up as leaders. And even that is rather chancy. For to meet them is more of a let down than meeting the Wizard of Oz.

To think that working for them or with them would be an exposure to a more 'upful' kind of dealing has left many people astounded at their sharp
practice and corner cutting.

Walking on the Flag

Recently there was a big celebration in Halfway Tree concerning the documentary made about Bob Marley.

As part of the decorations there was a Red/Gold/Green 'flag' on the ground which people would walk on.

Bunny Wailer stated; "As a Rasta, I felt disrespected. I was not comfortable with the fact that they had Rasta colours on the ground... it turned me off and I decided not to attend the event,"

How was it that Rita Marley, Bob's wife, and his daughter Cedella, could have even considered this proper decoration?

How is this Possible?

How could anyone use a Flag as a carpet?
How could anyone who claims to be Rasta or is connected to Rasta use
the Ethiopian Flag as a carpet?
Especially at a function to honour Bob Marley?

This is because there is no sense of 'sacred'.

There is no set of rules and laws, and ethics.

Unlike religions or cultures which have very clear laws as to how one dresses or
behaves, or shows respect, Rasta has remained a theocratic Anarchy; (small focus on the theocracy, large on the Anarchy.

In Early Days

The Focus was on the 'Old' Testament. The Rules that were laid out in Numbers and Leviticus were strictly followed.

Those who were born in the fifties and sixties to Rasta Parents either left home to become 'Bald Heads' or fully inculcated RastafarI.

By the seventies, with the acceptance of Rasta, via Bob Marley, via other dread locked entertainers and public figures, there were those who became 'Commercial Dreads', using the 'hair style' to gain attention and money.

By the 1980s into the '90s the number of Rasta children increased, it was no longer acceptable to raise them neutral and let them decide whether or not they should grow locks, as some advocated.

For most, there was nothing beyond the hair style.

Many who had long locks in the 70s, trimmed in the 80s or 90s. They had found nothing in Rasta to keep them, and some went into an 'acceptable' religion.

Outside of Jamaica

Many Jamaicans are stunned by how those in other territories take their 'religion' seriously.

A prisoner in London who is Rasta can demand 'ital' (vegetarian without salt). In Jamaica those incarcerated are usually trimmed and eat whatever is being served, because those in authority do not take it seriously.

It is not taken seriously because those in Jamaica don't take it seriously.

Which is why the 'Rent-a-Dread' enterprise is lucrative, why one can see females in skimpy costumes with a head full of dread, and most fast food places are crowded with those wearing locks.


Belief, Jamaica, Practice, Rastafari, Real, Religion

Meet the author

author avatar kaylar
I am passionate about history, culture, current events, science and law

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar kaylar
28th Sep 2012 (#)

I was thinking you would of commented on the article.

We all know what these publishing sites are about.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Buzz
28th Sep 2012 (#)

Yes we do.:-)

Reply to this comment

author avatar kaylar
29th Sep 2012 (#)

alas, there seems no change

Reply to this comment

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
29th Sep 2012 (#)

Kaylar you should delete that guys comment as it is not contributing to the quality of your article and actually looks like spam itself and hurts your SEO.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
29th Sep 2012 (#)

Thanks for sharing with us this look at Rasta culture.

Reply to this comment

author avatar kaylar
29th Sep 2012 (#)

It's too late; I approved it. Alas. I guess I sort of automatically approve if it isn't too gross.

Thank you for your comment tho' mark.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?