THE STATE OF RESEARCH ON RASTAFARI AND REGGAE: A SELECT VIEW OF THE
"Babylon you can't, you can't
Study the Rastaman
Go back to college and come again"
--Culture, "Babylon Can't Study"
It is an irony that the majority of the literature written on reggae
and the Rastafari is by European authors. Similar to the different rhythmic
sense that can be observed in the clapping of White audiences heard
on the Babylon by Bus album recorded live by Bob Marley and the Wailers
in Europe, there is definitely something off-beat in most Eurocentric
analyses of reggae music. What is heard when one listens to these recordings
is a kind of imposition in a Eurocentric response to an African art
form. And similarly, what one notices when examining much of reggae
literature is the clear imposition of foreign perspective in the absence
of an African-centered analytical approach that would provide a better
framework to analyze the culture and music being observed. By no means,
however, could this in itself be a basis for a blanket criticizing of
the prominent literature on the music and culture; in fact, many European
authors provide excellent resource material. Still, several European
and even some African/Black authors miss the opportunity to make more
perceptive analyses of reggae and the Rastafari because their works
often suffer from being entrapped by their use of distorting Eurocentric
methods of analyses. In the context of this "conceptual incarceration"
a critique of their work on reggae must be made.
Much of reggae literature suffers from the absence of an African-centered
analytical approach that is grounded in "the use of codes, paradigms,
symbols, motifs, myths and circles of discussion that reinforce the
centrality of African ideals and values as a valid frame of reference
for acquiring and examining data." For this reason the shortcomings
of Eurocentric analysis are not only committed by Europeans writing
on reggae; anyone adopting these distorting methods of analysis will
consequently develop similar value-laden misinterpretations of the music
as well as the cultural nuances that influence it. Basically when analyzing
the related literature on reggae and the Rastafari music artist, one
comes to see a clear problem of perspective. Comprehending the shortcomings
of applying a Eurocentric perspective in “examining” African
culture requires an analysis of this perspective, as well as a basic
analysis of the cultural orientation from which the perspective emerges.
The Clash of Worldviews
When one considers the nature of the interaction between the European
colonists and indigenous cultures around the world, there is clear evidence
of political domination and an attempt to control the cultural development
of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. European conquests on these continents
are evidence of their cultural-political plan and commitment to subdue
indigenous populations the world over for the economic advancement of
themselves. Slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, “globalization,”
and the genocidal economic racism with its accompanying cultural prejudices
are the means of continually advancing this ultimate grand scheme of
European world exploitation. In line with their quest for complete dominance
over the political, economic and social institutions of conquered indigenous
peoples, European culture developed and perpetuated a perspective that
openly raised doubt about the humanity of the conquered groups. This
perspective was not only adopted by the Europeans, but it was often
beaten into the indigenous peoples themselves.
Distinct perspectives are directly related to definitional systems,
worldviews and culturally specific orientations to the world that grow
out of distinct experiences that distinct group’s have as a result
of an historical culmination of their group’s interaction in the
world. In regard to people of African ascent, history further reveals
that whenever in time the African and European worlds have encountered
one another, conflicting cultural-political priorities have invariably
arisen. Socialists and Marxists generally point to the materialist/economic
incentive for the development of the domineering Eurocentric cultural
perspective, suggesting that it was out of the strategy of exploiting
the material and labor resources of the militarily dominated indigenous
peoples that the motivation for dismissing their humanity and culture
evolved. Yet, in the case of the maligning of Africa and the African,
the assassinated Pan-African-socialist Walter Rodney clearly stated,
“[o]ppression of African people on purely racial grounds accompanied,
strengthened, and became indistinguishable from oppression for economic
Africa’s preeminent scholar of the 20th century, Cheikh Anta Diop
offers additional historical analysis to examine worldview differentiation
and the development of the hegemonic Eurocentric worldview and perspective.
In his “Two Cradle Theory,” Diop proposes:
The history of humanity will remain confused as long as we fail to distinguish
between the two early cradles in which Nature fashioned the instincts,
temperament, habits, and ethical concepts of the two subdivisions [African
and European] before they met each other after a long separation dating
back to prehistoric times.
In contrast to the “gentle, idealistic,
peaceful nature” that he associates with Africa’s southern
“cradle” of abundance, Diop maintains that the Eurasians
of the barren northern “cradle” steppes developed a distinctly
aggressive and downpressive culture.
All the peoples of the area, whether white or yellow, were instinctively
to love conquest, because of a desire to escape from those hostile surroundings.
The milieu chased them away; they had to leave it or succumb, try to
conquer a place in the sun in a more clement nature.
Although it may be difficult to precisely
determine what motivated the conquering Europeans to develop their hegemonic
cultural perspective, it is clear that over time it affected their general
collective perception that they were innately superior and all other
peoples were comparatively inferior. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote succinctly
on how this thought spread throughout the European populous:
Generally we think of white supremacist views as having their origins
with the unlettered underprivileged, poorer-class whites. But the social
obstetricians who presided at the birth of racist views…were from
the aristocracy: rich merchants, influential clergymen, men of medical
sciences, historians, and political scientists from some of the leading
universities of the nation. With such a distinguished company of the
elite working so assiduously to disseminate racist views, what was there
to inspire poor, illiterate, unskilled white farmers to think otherwise.
Similar to King's analysis, Bob Marley
would recognize in song that the "Babylon System" is "built
in church and university."
Thus, it is out of this context of the systematic maligning of indigenous
populations that the social, historical, cultural and political perceptions
of Europeans and Westerners are significantly shaped. And though it
is clear that the majority of the authors who have written on reggae
have been sensitized and to some degree reformed from the White supremacist
view, still the analytical perspective that many of these authors construct
and bring to their research of reggae is seldom, if ever, African-centered.
This is central to the critique of reggae literature that must be made
because it brings into light the subtle distortions that Eurocentric
perspectives typically make in analyzing an African cultural phenomenon
such as reggae. The major shortcoming in most scholarship on reggae
revolves around the absence of analytical methods that allow for best
overstanding the music's grounding philosophy, cultural-political implications
and potency as traditionally and essentially a Pan-African liberation
music. Because the Pan-African reasoning in reggae is most profoundly
stated in the influence of the Rastafari theology, worldview and culture,
the more sophisticated and insightful analyses are by authors not only
grounded in African history and culture but also equally respecting
of the redeeming qualities of the Rastafari theology and worldview.
Select Literature on the Rastafari
Although most reggae analyses make mention of the Rastafari, they often
fail to approach Rastafari worldview from an African-centered perspective.
This would recognize the cultural ideas as a legitimate, viable, and
sensible approach to life, an African-centered perspective that emerges
from a wellspring of identifiable cultural and historical experiences
common to African people the world-over. Instead, the basic analyses
of “seminal” works on the Rastafari resulted in reducing
this particular way of African life to a curious type of "cultism."
Many were aware of the liberating elements in the tradition, yet they
stamped hysterical notions on the movement to negatively influence the
societal view. This pejorative typecasting of the Rastafari first appeared
in George Simpson’s 1955 “sociological” study, “Political
Cultism in Western Kingston.”
It was Simpson's work with its Eurocentric lens, tainted with xenophobic
guilt that would negatively influence the approach and angle of much
of the subsequent research examining the Rastafari. Regarding this introductory
study, Catholic priest and “social worker” Joseph Owens
critiqued, "[o]ne cannot help but feel that Simpson was too much
influenced by subjective feelings," and that any truth found in
Simpson’s discourse on Rastafari “reverse-racism and vengeance”
needs to be reconsidered as “subsidiary to a much more wholesome
doctrine on race relationships” better explored from the Rastafari
perspective. Other “scholars” following Simpson’s
lead, fail to explore deeply into the inner coherence of the Rastafari
position and having no direct knowledge, perceive them as another sect.
This "sect" categorization represents a distortion of the
central subject with peripheral definitions that has seemingly been
the necessary ingredient for subjective analysis under the guise of
objectivity. Summary interpretations of the Rastafari doctrine demonstrate
a clear hesitance to positively view African people's self-inspired
creation of life guiding ideals, values and principles. Simpson’s
idea that the primary motivation for Africans' acceptance of the Rastafari
movement is for the expression of hatred and revenge against Whites
is a prime example of the reactionary Eurocentric orientation from which
some academics approach the study of the Rastafari and roots-reggae.
The inner coherence of Rastafari worldview has eluded other studies
that have attempted to shed light on the group. Three UWI researchers
at the request of the former Jamaican Premier, Norman Washington Manley,
carried out a 1960 study on the Rastafari. Some critics say the university
report also distorted the image of the Rastafari to that of a fanatical
sect preaching Black racism. The Jamaican middle and upper classes expressed
outrage because researchers seemingly legitimized the Rastafari by merely
providing a legitimate forum for the outcast group to air their unpopular
views. Under the guise of exploding the popular myth that the Rastafari
were a group of lunatic criminals, many academics defend the UWI report
quoting this or that Rasta that is okay with it. The Jamaican government
even went as far as verbally endorsing the Rastafari doctrine for repatriation
to Africa. Of course it meant the removal of an unwanted population
without any compensation for all of the work the population and its
ancestors were brought to Jamaica to do. Just send them back to Africa
without a penny.
The long term affects of the distorted image of the Rastafari that is
presented in much of the literature can still be seen as long as twenty
years later. The British used select sections of the UWI report to guide
their officers in how to mistreat young Rastafari. The British Home
Office Circular to all Prison Department Establishments (July 1976)
is said to have influenced "[p]rison officers [to] cut the locks
of Rastas," as well as refuse "the legitimate demands of special
dietary considerations for Rastas in prison." In the 1980s the
New York City Police Department (NYPD) would allegedly conduct an intelligence
investigation that reads more like 1960s FBI counter-intelligence propaganda
to encourage police violence on the Rastafari. The NYPD’s 1983
report warned, “[m]ost of the Ras Tafarians are armed and will
kill to avoid detection or apprehension. They believe in reincarnation
and do not fear death. They pose a definite threat to any officer they
come in contact with.”
A popular text that would continue to distort the image of the Rastafari
and cite Simpson's work as influential is Leonard Barrett's The Rastafarians
(1977). Written in terminology that suggests a sociological/anthropological
approach similar to that of Simpson's, Barrett’s text is informative
in terms of names, dates and facts, but ultimately falls short due to
its value-laden terminology and misinterpretation of Rastafari culture.
Barrett's text seems apprehensive and ambivalent about recognizing the
viability in his Jamaican compatriots' worldview and perspective, despite
its basis in the historical, social, and cultural progression of Africans
in Jamaica. This apprehension is ironic given Barrett's astute analysis
of the spirit of rebellion and resistance that marks Jamaican history
from the 17th century Maroons to the 20th century Rastafari. Yet, Barrett
is content on reiterating the same Rastafari "cult" categorization
that Simpson began in the 1950s, without consideration of the prejudicial
limitations inherent in the label. In this way Barrett’s perspective,
like Simpson’s, raises a critical question about the legitimacy
that the researcher grants the culture that is being observed. In placing
his sociological/anthropological paradigms on Rastafari instead of Rastafari
on the paradigms, Barrett fails to recognize the implicitly distorting
analysis that results from his research. Several areas of Barrett's
text help illustrate this paradox.
"This is not religion; this is the life."
The perception of the Rastafari as
a religious movement immediately imposes certain limits on an analysis.
Although there are aspects of Rastafari theology that certainly connote
religion, the Rastafari phenomena is more of a cultural movement based
in a traditionally and independently African-centered/Pan-African theology,
redemptive worldview and nature-centered approach to life. This is a
critical point because what the term "religion" connotes in
the European context is ritual or ceremony performed at a specific set
of times during the "holy" days of a week, month, or year.
But for the African approaching spirituality from the traditionally
African worldview, as the Rastafari do, the entire life process is ideally
a watchful attempt to manifest The Will of The Universal Creator while
advancing just principles of truth and righteousness in creation. The
reggae group Culture’s “Jah Rastafari” anthem is most
insightful in clarifying this social ideal of the Rastafari:
For Jah sent I as a watchman
Around Babylonian walls
Oh, Children of Israel
I and I and I should never hold I peace
While wrong is going on day or night
Man, bust down Babylon gates…
Prepare ye the way for Jah people
Fight down war and crime…
And build up righteousness
African scholarship notes that traditional
worship is "integrated so much into different areas of life that
in fact most of the African languages do not have a word for religion
as such." Thus, for the Rastafari the "religious" adjective
has imposed limitations. Cosmology, a people’s perspective of
its relationship with The Creator, the universe, nature, and other humans
is a clearer term to describe traditional African spiritual devotion;
the term better portrays the wholistic approach by which Africans traditionally
perceive the Western notion of "religion."
From Barrett's misconception of the Rastafari as a “religious”
movement comes his designation of the group as a "cult." By
this pejorative categorization of the group, Barrett belittles the Rastafari
devotion as strangely "[o]bsessive and faddish.” His categorization
of the Rastafari is also similar to C. Eric Lincoln's "sect"
categorization of the Nation of Islam in another sociological/anthropological
styled study that is often referred to as a seminal work, The Black
Muslims in America (1963). Lincoln’s text, which was criticized
by Malcolm X as responsible for misnaming Nation of Islam (NOI) members
as "Black Muslims,” attempts to dis-empower the group by
taking away their ability to define themselves and discrediting the
manner by which they interpret their world. It is not surprising that
in Lincoln's introduction to Barrett's first edition (1977), he notes
similarities between Muslims in the Nation of Islam and the Rastafari.
Others also note mystical similarities how “[i]n each of these
cases, the people have claimed a living man as their god and messiah.
Both movements began in the 1930's, and only became mass movements in
Yet, scholarship noting NOI similarities with the Rastafari often fail
to acknowledge the subtle differences in the two worldviews that make
one African-centered by the influence of Ethiopia for the Rastafari,
and the Nation of Islam more Arab-centered by the influence of Arabian
culture, heritage and motif via the adoption of Islamic tradition. However,
well-documented research does propose an African/Ethiopian heritage
as the indigenous population and culture of the Arabian Peninsula. It
is important to note the several periods of cultural exchange between
Ethiopia and Arabia. Still, Lincoln and Barrett's texts both distort
the image of their subjects by utilizing the same prejudicial terminology.
Their analyses are driven by the imposition of dated sociological/anthropological
paradigms that are limited in cross-cultural applicability. Hence, the
analytical lenses of such texts subtly impart a perception that fails
to accurately consider the culture of those being studied.
Word-Sound is Power
For instance, in discussing the meaning of Rastafari language Barrett
implicitly rejects Rastafari thinking, logically the source of language.
Barrett’s “scholarly” analysis is patronizing and
implicitly insulting when he pejoratively suggests:
it is religious language of a strange type. Few outsiders can make sense
of what the average cultist says. In the first place, it is ungrammatical
when spoken by the uneducated; secondly, it is Jamaican dialect used
on the philosophical level, a burden which it was not created to bear;
and finally, the Rastafarian speech is almost devoid of subject-object
opposition as well as without verbs. Students of Rastafarianism must
be prepared to translate the material into English, or to do research
only among the most educated brethren…But research done on a scholarly
level would deny the joy of meeting grassroots Rastas [emphasis mine].
The subjective and elitist tone of
Barrett's writing belittles and distorts the language and thinking of
the Rastafari. Later he describes "[t]heir quaint mode of speech,"
and thus from his ivory intellectual tower Barrett is unable to fully
overstand the power of Rastafari language as a liberating force that
rejects the language, logic, and general thinking of the former slave
master’s English culture. The Rastafari build upon African linguistic
foundations in the creation of an authentic African-Jamaican language
that resists Eurocentric traditions in a Jamaican culture that dismisses
the language of African people as improper, broken and bad. Barrett's
condescending analysis of Rastafari word-sound unfortunately fails to
grasp the implications of the essentially African grammatical structure
of Rastafari-Jamaican communications. As noted in Mervyn Alleyne’s
Roots of Jamaican Culture, "plausible identifications can be made
between a generalised West African morphosyntax (or a specific Twi-Asante
morphosyntax) and the morphosyntax of Jamaican." This recognition
is all-important in overstanding Rastafari word-sound, "an off-shoot
from Jamaican [language]."
However, Barrett's work is praiseworthy for its informative examination
of the historical evolution of resistance in Jamaica from the Maroons
to the Rastafari. To his credit, his examination of traditional Rastafari
Nyabinghi music and his summary of the Rastafari influence in reggae
are insightful. In interpreting the impact of a 1976 Bob Marley and
the Wailers concert in Philadelphia, Barrett notes,
Never since the time of Marcus Garvey had any Jamaican personality so
excited an American audience with a revolutionary message as this Rastafarian
band. The exciting fact is that out of Trench Town, a district seldom
visited by Jamaican elites, came a new voice with a unique message in
songs, inspiring the hearts of American youths, Black and White, and
a new musical sound, full of mystery and dissonance, disturbingly Jamaican.
Although perceptive in his analysis
of the Rastafari influence on reggae and its ultimate influence on an
international level, Barrett's focus and scope in The Rastafarians is
clearly not a comprehensive examination of the Rastafari impact on music.
This is unfortunate though, as Barrett himself even acknowledged the
music's profound impact when noting, "the spiritual ethos of Rastafarianism
which produced reggae may be the most exciting thing to come out of
Jamaica for many years to come."
One of the clearest and most objective samples of writing on the Rastafari
can be witnessed in Tracy Nicholas' text, Rastafari: A Way of Life (1979).
Because her intent is to give the Rastafari a forum to speak their truth,
Nicholas is able to arrive at some essential points that are missed
by other observers of the Rastafari. As she observes:
In coming to know Rastafari, the first thing to be recognized is that
it is not a cult, a religion, an ideology, a cultural revival, or a
revolutionary political movement. Rastafari cannot be defined in these
terms because it flows beyond, contradicting each of them.
Nicholas' text is insightful, examining
the most relevant themes in Rastafari life with a Rasta-centered analysis
that captures the essence of the culture, quite often with Rastafari
reasoning transcribed to text. In explaining the African retentive nature
of Rastafari word-sound that Barrett had difficulties conceptually overstanding,
Nicholas is clear:
It is ironic that the Rastas have probably never read the works of anthropologists
describing Nommo, the African "power of the word." In Jamaica,
the Rastas conceptualize speech as a holy tool which is certainly how
it is viewed, and used, in a variety of African cultures…They
know, fundamentally, without experiencing Africa, that their concept
of language is natural and right. That it carries over from centuries
of African tradition is no accident.
Nicholas' text also approaches the
central figure in Rastafari worldview, Haile Selassie I, with an insightful
sensitivity and balance that are missing from most texts that subjectively
examine Rastafari thought. In addressing the criticisms against the
Emperor that many texts raise, Nicholas notices that, similar to the
recognition of complimenting opposites found as a central feature in
traditional African worldview,
Rastafarians see both good and evil in all--including their late Messiah
Haile Selassie…Most Rastas do not deny or defend critiques of
their most holy Ras Tafari, Haile Selassie I. They emphasize the positive,
understand and do not dwell on the negative.
However, in terms of an analysis of
reggae, Nicholas like other writers on Rastafari fails to give sufficient
analysis to the evolution of this potent art form. She focuses her analysis
of reggae on Bob Marley, but does not give any in-depth insight into
even the progression of his career or the importance of his music for
the African world.
Another informative, yet critical work on the Rastafari is Horace Campbell’s
Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney (1990). Reminiscent
of Walter Rodney’s writing, Campbell’s Pan-African/socialist-Marxist
analysis is able to articulate an overstanding of the pragmatic importance
of the Rastafari's Pan-African cosmology as he writes, "the crowning
of an African King who could claim legitimacy from the bible and from
the line of Solomon led to a new deification, replacing the white King
of England with a black God and black King." His analysis looks
at the Rastafari as offering a valid and rational African cultural and
philosophical resistance to White supremacy, and "properly link[s]
the emergence of Rasta to the roots of resistance to slavery."
In this way Campbell's perception of the ethos of the Rastafari is historically
inclusive and recognizes the same Rasta spirit of rebellion for African
freedom in their 18th century predecessors the Maroons, Tacky--a "Gold
Coast African," the 19th century uprising leaders Sam Sharpe and
Paul Bogle, as well as the 20th century Pan-African activist premier,
Marcus Garvey. Campbell even aligns the 20th century contemporary Pan-African
scholar Walter Rodney with the Rastafari.
But under this rubric Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, and other
Pan-African/Black Nationalists could qualify as Rasta without dealing
with the centrality of Haile Selassie I in the Rastafari theology, an
issue that Campbell clearly sees as important to most Rastafari. Although
it is the Rastafari that would acknowledge that there are many paths
to The One Truth, for the traditional Rastafari the importance of King
Selassie I is primary to his/her faith. Yet, it is the centrality of
Ethiopia’s Emperor within the Rastafari theology that poses some
of the greatest difficulties for Campbell’s analysis.
Sympathetic to the African need and right of a counter-perspective against
Eurocentrism, and supportive of the spirit of resistance in the Rastafari
movement, Campbell is still highly critical of Haile Selassie I, the
central figure in Rastafari theology. His criticisms and insight into
contradictions regarding Emperor Selassie I, when based in his political
Pan-African analysis, appear to raise important issues. For instance,
Campbell clearly sympathizes in a Pan-African sense with the Ethiopian
peasants who "in the process of the Ethiopian revolution, were
saying to the Rastafari that the Haile Selassie that they deified was
not the same Haile Selassie who helped to mobilise the people against
Italian fascism." Although Ethiopia's national level of poverty
was among the world's highest during the time of the Ethiopian revolution,
Campbell accuses the monarch of reprehensible economic neglect of massive
portions of the population that spurred the Ethiopian revolution.
Another contradiction that Campbell attempts to raise regarding Rastafari
worldview relates to Marcus Garvey. Interpreted in the Rastafari theology
as King Selassie I's harbinger, Campbell notes that Garvey "separated
support for Haile Selassie from support for the people of Abyssinia."
Campbell quotes from Garvey's The Blackman periodical, in which Garvey
criticizes the Emperor for having
no diplomatic agents among Negroes anywhere and the few that he did
appoint were to the courts of white nations and they were chiefly white
men or Abyssinians who were married to Italians and had great leanings
towards whites whom they tried to ape.
However, in defense of Emperor Selassie
I’s political and diplomatic astuteness, Garvey should have realized
that on the African continent European colonialism reigned supreme in
all countries, with the exception of Ethiopia and the nominal exception
of the United States' historical African political satellite in Liberia.
For King Selassie I to realistically attempt to maintain Ethiopia's
sovereignty status, assistance would have to be gained from the sovereign
nations of the world, the leaders of which were in Europe, not Africa.
Scholars of Ethiopian politics make note that Emperor Selassie I was
"an astute and successful negotiator, manipulator, and power broker."
Nevertheless, Campbell's critique of Rastafari theology seems to center
on his objection to the veneration of Haile Selassie I as central figure
in the culture, a position that Emperor Selassie I inherited among the
Rastafari faithful upon his coronation by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
as "King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect
of God, Defender of the Faith, and Light of the World" in the only
vestige of African land never subjected to foreign or colonial rule.
When one adds the religious significance of King Selassie I's Ethiopic
Orthodox Judao-Christian heritage and tradition, it is not surprising
that the Emperor won favor from "those Jamaicans" who Campbell
notes, "interpreted the world in biblical terms."
“We don’t need Marx and Lenin and Hegel and so on.”
Thus, Campbell's ambivalent analysis
of King Selassie I sometimes distorts elements in his views of Rastafari
thought and reggae lyrics. Also problematic is Campbell's attempt to
scapegoat the beliefs of the Rastafari faithful on "studies which
centralised the personality of Haile Selassie in the overall world view
of the Rastafarians." When Campbell's critique of Rastafari theology
is grounded in what appears as the mystical skepticism of Marxist thought
and perspective, his analysis tends to miss the target. For example,
Campbell tries to refine even Bob Marley's devotion to the Emperor when
Marley was astute enough to promote the positive contributions of Haile
Selassie on the anti-colonial front while singing a single called “Jah
Lives” to reassert the fact that Rastas had a life beyond Haile
Selassie, saying that “Dread shall be dread and dread again.”
Yet, for Marley and most Rastafari
who subscribe to the essential Rastafari faith in an ever-living Haile
Selassie I as the returned Messiah, there is no death for King Selassie
I, or any of the servants of Jah. Thus, the Nazarite-influenced adage,
"Rasta don't deal with death," emerges from Rastafari thought
to support the African-derived worldview that visions life as an I-tinual
process that extends into eternity for the righteous. In fact, in live
recordings of "Jah Live," written and recorded as a response
to Rastafari skeptics, Marley proclaims "Selassie I lives!/Selassie
I lives!/Selassie I lives!" As Marley would explain regarding the
spiritual skepticism of the European philosophers, "[w]e appreciate
Marx and Lenin, but we follow Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X…We want
it to be more easier for the people ahead. We don't fight over ideologies."
Yet, it is Campbell's inability to fully endorse Emperor Selassie I
that makes his analysis less than ideal for both original and most contemporary,
self-proclaimed Rastafari. Although his text does not seem to subscribe
and endorse the essential position that King Selassie I is the Messiah,
Campbell does recognize the value of the Rastafari love for Africa and
other aspects of the worldview. He attempts to co-opt, however, the
Rastafari reverence of the Emperor by Marley and others when he writes,
"[t]he Jah which Marley and other Rastas sang about was one who
had to be willing to join the struggle of black people, and bore little
resemblance to the autocratic monarch which Haile Selassie turned out
to be." Perhaps Campbell's misanalysis of Marley's position occurs
because he is unfamiliar with a Marley statement on the 1970s Ethiopian
famine in which Marley implicitly supported the suffering of the “autocratic
monarch’s” political dissidents. In a 1973 interview Marley's
response to a query on the famine in Ethiopia is shocking in its absence
If you don't know God you gonna suffer and dead! No, God no partial
regardless where you live pon earth; if you there in Ethiopia inna Him
palace and you don't know say Him is The Almighty, you suffer.
Although adherents to the Rastafari
theology may likely find Campbell's criticisms of King Selassie I problematic,
his work still maintains one of the most balanced assessments of Rastafari
as a Pan-African philosophy. It is Campbell's conditional embrace of
Rastafari that makes his work a critical appraisal. His text is also
commendable for its chapter analysis, "Rasta, Reggae, and Cultural
Resistance." Here, he properly places the progression of reggae
within a sequence of cultural influences extending back to the enslaved
African of Jamaica, to the rural 18th century Kongo and Akan based spiritual
cultures of Kumina and Pocomania, to the emergence of the Nyabinghi
drumming of the Rastafari and its impact on the grandfather of reggae,
However, Campbell's reggae analysis does manifest a few problems. In
reasoning on the impact of Rastafari reggae artists, he makes a factual
error of including Jimmy Cliff (known for both his singing as well as
his traditional Islamic faith) as a Rastafari. But his Marxist lens
creates Campbell's greatest analytical difficulties in examining the
Rastafari’s spiritually inspired reggae expression. Although perceptive
in his recognition that reggae "has not yet transcended the individualism
of capitalism," his textual example illustrates the culturally
distorting and domineering nature of his Eurocentric paradigm. Attempting
to support his point regarding reggae "individualism," Campbell
Peter Tosh, who has been one of the most uncompromising in his opposition
to hypocritical political leaders, unwittingly repeated a central tenet
of individualism when he sang the psalm “I am that I am, that
I am…” At the base of these statements, however, are the
assertion of bourgeois philosophy, for at the dawn of capitalism Rene
Descartes [the 17th century French philosopher] had proclaimed “I
think, therefore I am."
But in singing "I Am That I Am,”
the self-proclaimed "Mystic Man" "of the past, living
in the present and walking in the future," Tosh was essentially
expressing his freedom in self through his identification with The Most
High Jah of Israel Who proclaimed to Moses that "I am that I am"
(Exodus, 3:14). Clearly Tosh is inspired in singing these words by the
Black Hebrew prophets, an influence that has no relation to the French
philosopher that Campbell's analysis attempts to associate with Tosh's
song, "I Am That I Am." Ultimately Campbell's Marxist analysis
of Tosh's lyric is a distortion of Tosh's influence and intent, which
helps to illustrate the limitations of Eurocentric analysis in the examination
of African culture. Although Campbell raises some very insightful points
on reggae's dynamic cultural-political potential, the limitations of
his Marxist paradigm create some of the greatest problems for the text.
Furthermore, like Barrett and Nicholas' brevity of analysis on reggae,
Campbell's text "does not permit the full investigation of this
vibrant expression of the Rastas."
The misevaluation of Rasta worldview has had an effect on the quality
of subsequent analyses of Rastafari and reggae, many of which utilize
these works as central referents. Despite her use of the sources, Anita
Waters' Race, Class, and Political Symbols: Rastafari and Reggae in
Jamaican Politics (1989), is able to galvanize a clearly supported thesis
that for the most part is able to balance some of the shortcomings of
previous sources with her own lucid examination of the use of Rastafari
“symbolism” and reggae by Jamaican politicians from 1972
through 1983. Waters’ insight reveals the effective use of Rastafari
and reggae Pan-African cultural elements by the PNP or JLP winning party,
with the exception of the 1983 elections which were uncontested by the
PNP because of the party's accusations against the JLP for "subverting
electoral democracy." Holding elections with an incomplete voters
list, the JLP seized control of all of Parliament's sixty seats and
Jamaica had a one party government.
Michael Manley and the PNP rode the wings of Rastafari culture and reggae
to victory in 1972, and continued to exploit the culture in the 1976
election campaign and victory. The most pronounced use of reggae during
this period was the free PNP-sponsored “Smile Jamaica” concert
that highlighted Bob Marley as its main attraction. Although innuendos
would attempt to minimize the clearly political nature of the assassination
attempt on Marley just two days before the concert, Waters writes that
the “reputation that the JLP had for fostering violence…made
the shooting incident in Marley’s home a damaging blow.”
During the 1980 campaign Edward Seaga and the JLP exploited the PNP’s
musical strategies by hosting “music festivals in at least three
areas in the two weeks before the election.” The former record
producer, "Seaga showed that he was adept in the use of other symbols
of the Black lower class”; putting to use his Harvard-based research
on Revivalist symbols, this tradition "partly took the place of
Rastafari in providing political symbols and music." According
to Waters, "[t]here was very little use of Rastafarian words and
symbols and of reggae music in the 1983 campaign.” Besides the
uncontested elections, other factors influenced the decline in the use
of reggae in this election. She insightfully notes, "[t]he subculture's
major leader, Bob Marley, was dead at age thirty-six. The newest artists
avoided politics, considering partisan issues too dangerous to handle
in recorded songs."
In sum, Waters book is praiseworthy for its documenting of the political
nature that catapulted reggae into one of the great cultural phenomena
of the 1970s. However, Waters' work analyzes the way politicians used
reggae without deeply exploring the full political capacity of reggae
and the persisting Pan-African vision of its artists. Although she engages
reggae and its Jamaican political scope, her focus is on Jamaican politics
rather than reggae itself. An important aspect of her work however,
is her documentation of the political use of reggae thus showing the
political forces' acknowledgement of the music's potent viability in
reaching the African masses; viability that Babylon political forces
would ultimately seek to co-opt and control. Although Waters raises
the issue of the political control of reggae through her mentioning
of various songs that were banned during the period of her study, her
work does not examine the extent by which Western market forces corrupted
the cultural and political potential of the music by isolating and marginalizing
its culturally potent artists, and simultaneously promoting those artists
who began producing less consequential reggae during the 1980s when
Western interests began to impact Jamaica with the victory of the US
supported, capitalist agenda of Edward Seaga.
A new millennium anthology that seeks to explore the depths of the Rastafari
experience is Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader, edited by
Nathaniel Murrell, William Spencer, and Adrian McFarlane. Bound to become
an essential reference on the Rastafari, the anthology covers the history,
philosophy and culture of the movement with scholarly depth. Particularly
insightful are articles looking at the roots of reggae in “African
Dimensions of the Jamaican Rastafarian Movement” by Neil Savishinsky
and Verena Reckford’s “From Burru Drums to Reggae Ridims:
The Evolution of Rasta Music,” which make note of the Kongo-Kumina
influence in the sacred Nyabinghi drumming of the Rastafari. The anthology
also includes honorary interviews and essays by academia’s premier
Rastafari researchers, George Simpson and Leonard Barrett. However,
the critique of some of the basic problematic limitations of their works,
such as made in this review, are overlooked in the anthology.
Select Analysis of Reggae Books
To its credit, in the first volume to specifically observe the reggae
music phenomena, Stephen Davis and Peter Simon attempted to place the
meaning of the music within the Pan-African spirit of the Rastafari
in Reggae Bloodlines (1977). However, their re-published edition disclaims
itself as "not an encyclopedia of Jamaican style, nor a critical
appraisal of its music." What Davis' text and Simon's photography
do provide is an intriguing merger of music journalism with photographs
that attempt to capture the intangible feeling of the culture and music
of reggae island. Reggae Bloodline’s approach is that of a rock
and roll enthusiast intrigued with the spirit of cultural and personal
liberation and independence explored in the numerous interviews of the
more important reggae artists of the mid-1970s.
Still, Davis' text clearly reveals a certain outsider's perspective
in its brevity on the historical experiences of the African-Jamaican
people. Although he obviously admires the music and its artists, he
seems oblivious to the culturally distorting boundaries created by his
use of racist Eurocentric terms. In examining the roots-reggae group
Burning Spear he writes, "Spear's music seemed to transcend all
labels but 'primitive.'" He also repeats the same misinformation
of the 1960s British colonists that misidentified the original Burning
Spear, Jomo Kenyatta, as "the Mau Mau himself."
Furthermore, parts of Davis' text illustrate his inability to accurately
decipher the Rastafari’s word-sound language. The expletive "fuckery"
whose meaning should be obvious, is transcribed as "fookery"
whose meaning could be ambiguous for the unfamiliar reader. He also
expresses difficulty in overstanding what he terms as "arcane Rasta
oral history." Lastly, Davis' analysis of Ethiopian Emperor Haile
Selassie, the integral Messiah figure in Rastafari theology is subjectively
unbalanced and contemptuous. The author suggests, without analysis nor
documentation, that "[o]n his way to the throne he found it expedient
to execute many of his rivals, and the Empress of Ethiopia died mysteriously
just before Selassie's succession to the throne." Absent from Davis'
analysis of King Selassie I is any depiction of the Pan-African implications
of His Imperial Majesty’s reign of authority during a time when
Ethiopia's distinction of being the only real sovereign nation in Africa
redeemed hope in the hearts of Africans struggling on the continent
and around the world for liberation from colonialism, neo-colonialism,
and outright downpression.
Davis and Simon's second collaborative volume, Reggae International
(1983), reveals a more wholistic approach to the music and culture.
Much of the improvement comes from the mere fact that the text is an
edited volume that pulls together in encyclopedic fashion the interpretations
of several authors that bring balance to the previously limited and
subjective analysis in Reggae Bloodlines. Reggae International is one
of the most comprehensive and useful texts that examines not only the
music, but also the myriad of historical and cultural influences that
contribute to the music’s creation complemented by interviews
with the music’s producers, as well as the singers and players
The text begins with Garth White's essay, “Music in Jamaica: 1494-1957,”
which provides an historical opening of the subject of Jamaican music
tracing its progression from the slave ships through the rock steady
era. Luke Ehrlich's chapter, "The Reggae Arrangement" reveals
the musical intricacies of reggae for both musicians and sound engineers
by providing bars and patterns as well as ranges and volumes for engineers
to mix reggae's organ, piano, guitars, and drums. He effectively captures
more than the mechanics of the music in his description of reggae's
Reggae is rhythmically spaced like the natural sounds you would hear
any evening in Jamaica, outside of town: a lacelike pattern of beeping
tree frogs and crickets over the night hush. The pace of it is natural,
unhurried and altogether human, indicative of a people who have to walk
instead of drive and whose disregard for the strict workaday time-sense
is epitomized by the now-legendary attitude "soon come."
Rory Sanders' chapter on Rastafari
provides a clear, objective analysis of the multifaceted nature of Rastafari
culture and worldview, perceiving reggae as the "artistic and cultural
expression of the Rastafarians, signifying oppression, exile, a longing
for home, optimism, and Jah love." Also praiseworthy is Sanders'
overstanding of the value of Rastafari word-sound, which is clear and
for the most part accurate in his "Rasta Glossary." Sanders'
text also recognizes the multiplicity within the Rastafari perspective.
He not only sees this mixture of ideas amongst the Rastafari groups
such as the Nyabinghi, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian
National Congress, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Sanders is also
concise in his observation of what he terms "'secular' and 'functional'
Rastas" who would include "those people who sympathize with
the humanitarian concerns of the Rastafarians.” These Rastafari
do not necessarily see Emperor Selassie I as the traditional Rasta would,
yet they "might engage in some of the Rastas' biblical, African
or natural practices and lifestyle." Finally, Sanders also offers
a balanced critique of the Emperor's life as he writes:
Any objective analysis of the life of Haile Selassie would probably
reach certain conclusions: that Selassie was a great man in years and
influence; that he contributed positively and significantly to Ethiopia's
history during his reign; that he was not immune to the dreadful problems,
both from internal and external sources, which any ruler must face.
Timothy White's chapter, "A History
of Bob Marley & the Wailers," examines the major eras and influences
in Bob Marley's life and career. Written with the same flair as found
in his extended Marley biographical text, Catch a Fire, White's analysis
of Marley is an abbreviated version of his biography that captures the
cultural and political significance of Marley's career. Interspersed
with interviews with Marley that White performed as an editor at Rolling
Stone and Crawdaddy magazines, as well as a Marley interview with Reggae
International editor and Marley biographer Stephen Davis, the "Rebel
Music" chapter provides a broad examination of the multifaceted
nature of the Bob Marley legend.
But White's writing has some problems. His relationship to reggae tycoon
Chris Blackwell seemingly creates some analytical difficulties for White.
Don Taylor, Bob Marley's personal manager from 1974 to 1980, states
that Blackwell "used Timothy White and Stephen Davis to create
an illusion of closeness between himself and Bob." In light of
this type of analysis, it is not surprising that White is critical of
the greed and corruption in African-Jamaican reggae production, yet
subtle and crafty when raising the European-Jamaican pirating of Blackwell
as an early reggae producer. He also provides the pro-Blackwell analysis
of the break-up of the Wailers trio of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny
Wailer. White writes how "[j]ealousy and internal power struggles
ultimately plagued the Wailers," instead of equally examining Blackwell's
admitted role in creating the wedge in the group. Despite these contradictions
in analytical perspective, White's chapter does provide a provocative
glimpse into the genius of Bob Marley.
Reggae International includes other insightful chapters that provide
a view of reggae's landscape. "Iron Sharpen Iron" looks at
the prominence of the harmony trios that were foundational to reggae's
development. "X-ray Music" explores the work of reggae sound
engineers in establishing the instrumental remixes known as dub. "Long
Time I No Deejay Inna Dance" examines the Ska-Sound System origins
of poetic verses voiced over musical tracks by deejays, the style commonly
referred to as dancehall-reggae today. In this chapter, Gayle touches
on the work of prominent and not so prominent Jamaican deejays of the
1970s and early 1980s. Davis' chapter, "Feel It in the One Drop"
provides a description of nine Jamaican recording studios active in
1982, and a listing of fourteen reggae bands. The chapter also gives
insight into the political-economics of reggae island’s “austerity
programs and import restrictions effective in Jamaica from 1976 through
1981 [which] made it difficult or impossible to import electric instruments
into the country."
Carolyn Cooper's chapter, "The Wrathful Madonna" attempts
to explode conventional feminist approaches to analyzing the "enigma"
of the Rastafari woman. She focuses her analysis on reggae-Rasta women,
Marcia Griffiths and the late Puma Jones of the Black Uhuru trio with
the conclusion that Griffiths and Jones have gained a sense of wholeness
from their acceptance of Rastafari culture, thus complementing "biological
function and social responsibility." The chapter, "Jamaican
Singers In the Eighties," briefly explores the careers of Gregory
Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Ijahman Levi, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff. Although
not an in-depth analysis, this chapter does allow one to witness a cross-section
of the socially, culturally, and politically responsive nature of reggae
artists during the beginning of the 1980s.
The last part of Reggae International views a portion of the reggae
diaspora, reggae produced in England. Chris May's "A History of
British Reggae" gives a history of Jamaican music in Britain, while
highlighting some of England's prominent reggae artists. Interviews
with dub-poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and David Hinds of Steel Pulse provide
London’s authentic reggae perspectives to the chapter. Additionally,
Kaye's "On Guard, Babylon" explores the impact of reggae on
rock and roll musicians of the 1980s. Yet, this entire section, "Reggae
International," clearly illustrates a major shortcoming of the
text. In attempting to highlight the internationalizing of reggae, there
is no significant reasoning of the music's impact on, and influence
in the development of reggae artists in Africa. This British-centered
analysis, with its clear omission of Africa, proves to illustrate a
significant shortcoming of the text considering that reggae is a music
very much aligned with Africa in its aesthetic structure as well as
its Pan-African message.
Interestingly, this similar critique could be raised regarding the work
of other British authors. Dick Hebdige's Cut 'N' Mix: Culture, Identity
and Caribbean Music (1987) also freezes reggae's evolution in Europe.
Yet, it is commendable for its hinting of the emerging Western cultural-political
pressures that would subsequently converge on roots-reggae. Simon Jones'
Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to UK would
also detail reggae's mass market difficulties when noting that "the
widespread hostility towards reggae within the rock market constituted
a major marketing problem for those recording companies seeking to 'break'
Jamaican music to a wider audience." Sebastian Clarke's Jah Music:
The Evolution of the Jamaican Song (1980) and Lloyd Bradley’s
This Is Reggae Music: The Story Of Jamaican Music (2000), provide two
more insightfully critical British perspectives of reggae's evolution
through the 1970s and 1990s respectively. Clarke's examination of reggae
is one of the more perceptive analyses regarding the music's threat
to the social-political status quo. Ominously, the text foretells of
the susceptibility to assassination for the more political reggae artists.
Meanwhile, Bradley’s insights provide an analysis of reggae right
up to the new millennium from a British reggae sound system operator,
turned music journalist. Bradley’s text effectively examines the
political dynamics that historically have greatly compromised reggae’s
Brian Jahn and Tom Weber's book, Reggae Island (1992) is a valuable
resource of interviews that allows reggae artists to give their own
analysis of the state of reggae music in the early 1990s. As dancehall
deejay Tiger would explain to the authors, "[t]he music change
in the '90s, y'understand. They rough it up, rough it up. In five years
it change some more. Music will be fully computerized, even the lyrics,
they get them digitally." Chris Potash's edited volume, Reggae,
Rasta, Revolution (1997) provides another valuable reggae resource.
The book is a compilation of previously published articles that have
appeared in a wide array of literary formats. Thus, the text offers
wide-ranging analytical perspectives that explore reggae's evolution
from ska through dub to dancehall.
Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton’s Reggae: The Rough Guide (1997),
and Kevin O’Brien Chang and Wayne Chen's Reggae Routes: The Story
of Jamaican Music (1998) are part of a recent wave of well-updated volumes
that resemble the encyclopedic style of Reggae International. Both texts
are excellent resource books that extend the examination of reggae culture
into its latter dancehall forms that were only on the horizon fifteen
years prior when Reggae International was published. Chang and Chen’s
volume also attempts to provide compilation radio charts to measure
song popularity. However, regarding the value of Jamaican record charts,
Jamaican musicologist Bunny Goodison, O.D. states:
Based on what I read, nobody trusts the charts. Because you see, the
radio station have a chart…based on what they claim is the sales
from the various shops that they check. But now these shops are owned
by record producers who have a vested interest in telling the man seh,
"this thing it sell 40,000 last week," because it's his artist.
You follow the argument. Because it's a sales matter. It's to popular
the artist to get a stage show that him and his manager can get him
15 percent off of it. You see the argument? It's figures you can't trust
because him have a vested interest in cooking the figures…The
payola on the radio station is legendary.
In fact, Chang and Chen concur with
Goodison when they concede, "[t]here has always been controversy
about the accuracy of music charts in Jamaica…the charts may not
always be correct."
Much literary reasoning on reggae is contained within biographical analyses
of Bob Marley and thus, reggae and its Rastafari influence are explored
in these volumes as sub-text. Books in this vein would include Boot
and Goldman's Bob Marley: Soul Rebel-Natural Mystic (1983), Whitney
and Hussey's Bob Marley: Reggae King of the World (1984), Davis' Bob
Marley (1990), White's Catch a Fire (1991), Talamon and Steffens' Bob
Marley: Spirit Dancer, and Boot and Salewics' Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom
(1995). However, these texts are not focused analyses attempting to
examine the progression of the reggae art form. Thus, these works do
not provide a targeted analysis of the cultural-political nature of
reggae music, its production, nor the reggae industry as a whole. The
focus of these biographical texts is on Marley and his life and career.
An exception to the above, however, would be the biography and interviews
of Marley and Tosh published in Fikisha Cumbo’s Bob Marley &
Peter Tosh, Get Up! Stand Up! Diary of a Reggaeophile (2002). The mere
interview nature of this text allows Marley and Tosh to articulate the
cultural-political mission of their music like no biographer could.
Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music (2000), by Sw. Anand Prahlad
is comprehensive scholarship on reggae’s use of the Biblical wisdom.
Yet, the most comprehensive resource on reggae is arguably Rebekah Mulvaney's
Rastafari and Reggae: A Dictionary and Sourcebook (1990). This reference
text provides a dictionary of terms related to Rastafari and reggae,
an expansive annotated discography focused on the "golden years"
of reggae and classic releases in the various reggae sub-genres, an
annotated videography, and an annotated bibliography. A most valuable
resource, its only shortcoming is its need for a new millennium updating
of reggae cultural sources produced in the decade of the 1990s and the
Evident by this review, it is clear that there is a diverse analysis
in literature published on reggae and Rastafari culture. But with all
of its diversity, this review discovered no full-length text to explore
and critically analyze with depth, the nature of the marginalizing of
the roots-reggae genre as the reggae industry evolved after the tragic,
untimely, mysterious, and in some ways, mystical transitions, transformations,
and deaths of some of the more prominent and outspoken Rastafari roots-reggae
artists. The literature reviewed here, however, is important in contributing
a wide array of useful resource material. Yet, it also displays some
of the shortcomings in methodological strategies and perspectives taken
in analyzing the cultural meaning and significance of reggae and the
1. Trumpeter Miles Davis spoke about this same phenomenon in relation
to the timing of White jazz artists in a famous 60 Minutes interview.
2. Wade Nobles and Lawford L. Goddard, Understanding the Black Family:
A Guide for Scholarship and Research (Oakland: A Black Family Institute
Publication, 1984). As Nobles and Goddard contend, conceptual incarceration
occurs when “the student or investigator is allowed to engage
in the process of knowing with a set of pre-defined ‘concepts.’
The concepts themselves, however, inhibit the process of knowing and
the knower becomes a prisoner in a prism of alien ‘ideas.’
Hence, the concepts we use lock us up in a reality which, most times,
has nothing or very little to do with the reality we are attempting
to understand,” 22-23.
3. Asante, Kemet…, 6.
4. Baldwin, "Psychology of Oppression," 98.
5. Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Washington, D.C.:
Howard University Press, 1981), 89.
6. Diop, African Origins…, 111.
7. Ibid., 111-112.
8. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
(New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1967), 88.
9. George Simpson, "Political Cultism in West Kingston, Jamaica,"
Social and Economic Studies, 4(2), (June, 1955), 133-49.
10. Barrett, The Rastafarians; J.V. Owens, "Literature on the Rastafari
1955-1974." New Community 6 (1/2), (Winter, 1977-78), 151; Joseph
Owens, Dread: The Rastafarians of Jamaica (1976; reprint Kingston: Sangster,
11. Simpson, "Political Cultism….”
12. Michael G. Smith, Roy Augier, and Rex Nettleford, Report on the
Rastafari Movement in Kingston, (Kingston, Ja.: Institute of Social
and Economic Research, 1960); Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 104-105.
13. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 119n; New York City Police Department
(NYPD), “Rasta Crime: A Confidential Report,” Caribbean
Review 14, 1 (1985), 39-40.
14. See Time Will Tell, Dir. Declan Lowney (An Arena Presentation Videocassette,
15. Mbiti, …African Religions, 12.
16. Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary (New York: Berkley Books,
17. Reid, “…Up From Babylon,” 178.
18. Azibo, Daudi Ajani Ya, Liberation Psychology (Atlanta: Clarity Press,
1990); Diop, The African Origin…,123-24; Finch, “Africa
and Palestine…,” 187-88; Houston, Wonderful Ethiopians…,
111-14; Rashidi and Van Sertima, Eds. …in Early Asia.
19. Barrett, The Rastafarians, 143.
20. Ibid., 174.
21. Alleyne, Jamaican Culture, 143, 147.
22. Barrett, The Rastafarians, 196.
24. Nicholas, Rastafari: A Way…, 4.
25. Ibid., 40.
26. Ibid., 32.
27. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 1, 69.
28. Ibid., 9.
29. Ibid., 75.
30. Mulatu Wubneh and Yohannis Abate, Ethiopia: Transition and Development
in the Horn of Africa (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1988), 21.
In 1822 Liberia was founded under the premise that the US would repatriate
its unwanted freed African-American population to undermine their involvement
in any US abolitionist movements, see Davidson, Modern Africa…,
31. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 76.
32. Marley is quoted in Lee O'Neill, "Bob," Reggae Report
11(3), (1993), 24.
33. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 127.
34. Ibid., 143.
35. Marley is quoted in Lee O'Neill, "Bob," 24; also view
Lewis, Heartland Reggae.
36. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 143.
37. Bob Marley Interviews….
38. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 142; see Davis and Simon, Reggae
Bloodlines. Davis makes a comment regarding “Cliff’s ardent
embrace of Islam,” 85.
39. Campbell, Rasta and Resistance, 149.
40. Ibid., 139.
41. Waters, …Reggae in Jamaican Politics, 248, 275.
42. Ibid., 198
43. Ibid., 235, 287, 308-309.
44. Murrell, et al., Chanting Down Babylon….
45. Davis and Simon, Reggae Bloodlines, back cover.
46. Ibid., 54; the actual leader of the Land and Freedom Armies, referred
to by the British as the Mau Mau, was the warrior Dedan Kimathi.
47. Ibid., 60, 73, 75.
48. Luke Ehrlich, "The Reggae Arrangement," Reggae International,
49. Rory Sanders, "A Rastafarian Primer," Reggae International,
50. Taylor, Marley and Me, 219-20.
51. White, “A History of Bob Marley & the Wailers,”
Reggae International, 84; view Bob Marley and the Wailers, Dir. Jo Merrell
and Charles Chabot (An Arena Presentation Videocassette, 1986).
52. Stephen Davis, “Feel It in the One Drop,” Reggae International,
53. Carolyn Cooper, “The Wrathful Madonna,” Reggae International,
54. Hebdige, Cut ‘N’ Mix….
55. Simon Jones, Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from
JA to UK (Houndsmills: MacMillan, 1988), 61.
56. Lloyd Bradley, This Is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica’s
Music (New York: Grove Press, 2000).
57. Clarke, Jah Music, 117.
58. Brian Jahn and Tom Weber, Reggae Island: Jamaican Music in the Digital
Age (Kingston, Ja.: Kingston Publishers Limited, 1992), 25; Potash,
59. Chang and Chen, Reggae Routes, 220-234.
60. Bunny Goodison, O.D. (Order of Distinction, Jamaica), Personal interview
(21 August 1997, Kingston, Ja).
61. Chang and Chen, Reggae Routes, 220.
62. Adrian Boot and Vivien Goldman Bob Marley: Soul Rebel-Natural Mystic
(London: Vermilion Publishing, 1983); Whitney and Hussey, Bob Marley:
Reggae King…; Davis, Marley: Revised; White, Catch a Fire; Bruce
Talamon and Roger Steffens, Bob Marley: Spirit Dancer (New York: W.W.
Norton & Company, 1994); Boot and Salewics, …Songs of Freedom.
63. Fikisha Cumbo, Bob Marley & Peter Tosh, Get Up! Stand Up! Diary
of a Reggaeophile (Brooklyn: CACE International Inc., 2002).
64. Sw. Anand Prahlad, Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music (Jackson,
Ms.: University Press of Mississippi, 2000).
65. Mulvaney, Rastafari and Reggae.