From it`s origin in poor rural Jamaica in the 1920s and 1930s, the Rastafari movement has
evolved from a small group of poor protesters to a full-blown ideology and political movement.
many associate Rastafarianism with dark skin, dreadlocks and reggae music, ignoring the
important implications of their roots and ideologies.
Rastafarianism has gained wider acceptance and
acknowledgment as a legitimate religion because of its guiding principles, ideologies, and many
“...Rastafari has been embraced by numerous other ethnic groups around the world, especially
by those who perceive themselves as suffering some from of oppression and marginalization. “ (red
Unlike other religious and political movements who have faded over time and have failed to draw in
widespread support, Rastafarianism has managed to do the opposite.
Seldom has such a relatively small
cultural phenomenon as Rastafari attracted so much attention from young people, the media, and scholars
in the fields of religion, anthropology, politics, and sociology.” (blue)
We will examine the history,
origin, and beliefs of the Rastafari movement, touching on popular topics such as: culture, music,
symbolism, mobilization, and their struggle for acceptance.
We will also scrutinize the movement`s
transition into a widespread global movement, attracting approximately one million followers around the
Inspired by Marcus Garvey, a prominent black Jamaican, the Rastafari movement began in the
slums of Jamaica in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Authors credit “the economic, political and cultural
deprivation of the poor in Jamaica as the socio-historical context that precipitated the emergence of the
(red chapter 2)
Garvey’s plea for unity among black during that period offered a
chance for change and empowerement for a disadvantaged people.
Garvey preached about black
identity , power, and returning to the homeland in Africa, borrowing popular concepts from Christianity,
the prominent religion at the time in Jamaica.
Early adherents to the religion listened to Garvey`s
lessons, and developed for themselves distinct styles, rituals, and arts.
Followers of Garvey
were impressed by an Emperor of Ethiopia, whom they thought was the Messiah they had been waiting
for; many were convinced that his arrival meant that the years of punishment and repression were
finished, and that the return to the promised land could commence.
“Some of the early
Jamaican Rastas saw in Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia the final return of Jesus Christ to usher in a