The following post is not the opinion of 18 Karat Reggae. It was written by Isaiah Sellassie in response to The destruction and dilution of Rasta. At 18 Karat Reggae, we believe that those who follow the teachings of Ras Tafari and the prophet Marcus Garvey are Rastas. The same way if one follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, then he/she is a Christian.
The title ‘Ras’ is an Ethiopian title, it may be given only to Ethiopian nationals. In point of fact, His Majesty Himself discontinued the practice of appointing new Rases in modern Ethiopia. Subsequently the only Rases have been those who have been spontaneously called “Ras” by the people for their exemplary leadership qualities, e.g. Ras Kumi. It has never been a practice in the tradition to self appoint the title ‘Ras’ to one’s name. This developed in the 1990s as some dancehall dreads puffed themselves up with vanity, whereas I still shudder in displeasure at the cultural aggression when I see “Ras James” and “Ras Charles” and so on and so forth endlessly; likewise, “Empress” this, that and the other. It is sickening and infuriating, but it is a logical consequence of reggae, and yet another disgrace and disrespect that has to be endured and overcome. I have a long list of these fake “Ras” who have sought to add me as a friend on the social network, but I have decided to reject these requests wholesale.
The first thing I and I are doing is establishing distance from reggae. Reggae is a genre of music, it has very little to do with Ras Tafari, quite a bit more to do with the crossover god “Jah” and an array of diverse doctrines, sometimes tangentially related to Ras Tafari, and sometimes altogether alien and opposed. The equivalence of Ras Tafari and reggae is false, even the correspondence of Ras Tafari and reggae is slight, tangential at best.
Ras Tafari is the sovereign emperor of Ethiopia, father of African unity. The tradition established in Jamaica is firmly on an “Africa first” principle, although it is certainly true that we do not hate anyone. It is also true the promise of salvation is not by ‘race’ rather it is by righteousness. Yet it is only a fool or a dishonest person who would try to ignore or obscure the real path through which this divine revelation has reached us, the real, black persons who revealed this faith to us. By this very act of denial and defiance of truth an individual in our movement places himself or herself under a cloud of serious suspicion.
I do not indulge in long reasoning with such people, I observe and discern, and thereafter cut them off from the knowledge, Iverstanding and wisdom which are the cup of salvation I and I sip of. Let these weeds dry out in the wilderness. Let those who enjoy ganja smoke ganja. Let those who enjoy reggae listen to reggae. Let those who believe in “Jah” have their religion, of whatever diversity it may be. I and I Ras Tafari will stand with HIM Haile Sellassie First, none other, and I and I will defend the sovereignty of Africa and Africans, the ownership and rulership thereof, including that of culture.
Peace and love every time, in Ras Tafari blessed name!