What Rasta has become today is a shell of what it used to be. When the term “Rasta” comes up, the first thing that comes to people minds are dreadlocks, marijuana and reggae music?
What if I told you that the original founder of Rasta, Marcus Garvey, did not have dreadlocks, did not smoke marijuana and reggae was not even around when the Rasta movement started.
So how did marijuana, dreadlocks and reggae become the essence of Rasta? Because those are the things that white people find cool and inviting about Rasta. Whites who call themselves Rastas fell in love with the superficial aspects of Rasta. The idea of chanting “One Love” at an outdoor reggae festival as the cool wind blows through their dreadlocks and spread the marijuana smoke through the air was romanticized and quickly accepted by hippies.
The truth is, however, those things does not make one a Rasta and whites are not Rastas. In fact a white Rasta is an oxymoron. The child of an oppressor will claim that he stands against his parents but he will never truly fight against his parents. If Black believe that these “white Rastas” will help them in their fight for freedom, liberty and justice; they will wait from now to eternity and never see that happen. Only Rastas can liberate the Black nation and only Blacks can be Rastas.
The sellout Black Rastas who claim that anyone can be a Rasta are insulting Marcus Garvey and disregarding his teachings. No one with common sense can read the teachings of Garvey and still believe that he started the movement for Blacks and Whites. The movement was started to address the problems that Black people face whether they are scattered in the west or back home in Africa.
Below is one passage from Marcus Garvey’s speech but everyone whether you are a real Rasta or just claim to be one should read the entire speech.
As the Jew is held together by his religion, the white racist by the assumption and the unwritten law of superiority, the Mongolian by the precious tie of blood, likewise the Black Man must unite in one grand racial hierarchy. Our union must know no clime, no nationality. But let us all hold together in every country and every clime, making a Racial Empire upon which “the sun shall never set.”
If you read the full Marcus Garvey speech and still believe he started the movement for anyone who wants to be a Rasta to become one then do share how you came to that conclusion.