By: The Honorable Prophet Jah Brian Simeon Black Star Lion (A white Rasta). Prophet Jah Brian Simeon can be reached at: [email protected]
Give thanks for the article on the “white rastas”, however I do believe the author is a bit misguided and uninformed t0 a point. if I may, ask where are you from? Are you yourself a rasta, if so which house to you associate with?
The author of the article describes white reggae fans as if they are “white rastas”, however, this is true for reggae fans of all races.
Nyabhingi is the only true Rasta music and Rasta of all races burn fire on reggae. When they ask what are the ‘white rastas” doing about the protests, it is the same thing all Rastas are doing about the protests. There are many brothers at the protests with locks but not many of them are Rastas, if any of them are at all. At the Black Lives Matter protests I have seen a lot of white brothers with and without locks, though none of them are really rastas, except maybe me.
In actuality I don’t see any of the other rastas round here at the protests. This is because Rasta don’t feel like we need to depend on Babylon and are focused on repatriation. The twelve tribes house here has downsized because so many have left to Ethiopia, the Nyabhingi same thing, and the Bobo Ashanti won’t even function with anything outside of their reverence services, including other Rasta functions and especially reggae shows, much less street protests. However, I have been advocating for decades that Rasta is always political and that we must always fight for truth and rights.
Perhaps it is just where this author is from that they are not seeing “White Rastas” at protests, or that they do not know that much about Rasta livity in the first place, or maybe both. However, this term “white Rasta” does not make sense from observing the teachings of Hon Marcus Garvey, Prince Immanuel, and Haile Selassie I.
To be Rasta one follows the Ethiopian creed pledging themselves to Ethiopia and thus becoming Ethiopian. In this sense a Rasta is not considered white by any means because by being Rasta they now stand against oppression. This does not mean they are completely cut off from white or even light skin privilege, but they have consciously rejected at least some of that privilege by choosing to trod a Rasta trod, particularly if they are to wear robe and turbine at all times, pray around the clock, read scriptures around the clock, and chant Nyabhingi at all times. This is a spiritual discipline.
Rastafarians are on a mission to rebuild Zion in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Zionists. It matters not what color you are when Babylon falls. Those safe in Zion will have a choice, stay in Africa where your descendants will become more and more African, or return to your native lands and build righteousness there. I do understand that I may be seen as white by those who are only checking color, but those who know me do not consider me white and its always been that way for me, though to look at me you would not know that I have a black grandfather or that my grandfather considered himself a follower of Haile Selassie long before I was born.
I grew up in a mixed family and was always drawn to social justice issues. Rastafarianism came to me in my teen years. I have been beaten by police, shot at by police, as well as gangsters, and looked down the barrel of the police guns more times than I can really count. One particular time the cop shouted at us to put our hands in the air. when I looked at the brethren I was with, we all had our hands held high. He yelled put your hands in the air again and started to squeeze the trigger as he broke into a nervous twitch. Luckily another cop ran over and calmed him down. The gun though, was on me for the same reason the author would like to see more “white rastas” at the rallies, my light skin is more of a threat for them. The brethren had his arm broken by the cops because he would not listen when they told him he needed to separate his child from the black children in the neighborhood and they found out he was a “white Rasta”. They are still doing drive by’s on him.
It is harder to talk to white people as a Rasta because they simply can’t relate and want to live in their sheltered world, but really they are scared of losing their privilege and dealing with oppression. In actuality this is how they are oppressed by the racist dialogue. After having locks for 15 years I cut them to take on new vows to Jah accompanied with the Nazarene tradition of not drinking alcohol, not eating flesh / dead meat, and not cutting the hair and beard. If a Rasta you know does any of these things it does not mean they are not Rasta, But they are not following the Nazzarite laws and are not Nazarite Rastas (I personally do not see the point of growing out locks if you are spiritually cut off from the whole blessing of the Nazzarite vow). Aside from the Nazarite vows which are outward signs of their agreement with the most high are the inner vows they share with Jah. You should not ask a Nazarite what they have asked of Jah in return for not cutting their hair, drinking alcohol, or eating animals, it is their sacred cross to bear.
When I cut my locks, it was the first time I noticed stereotypical white people talking to me, but it didn’t last as my locks grew back and my faith intensified. Now 15 years later my locks are even longer than they were the first time and I am a lot clearer in my faith and direction and at the least, I know that black lives matter.
To answer the author I have been involved in community projects to protect the drinking water in poor neighborhoods as well as the air, have worked with many non-profits like Hands for Africa and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, been fired from teaching project children because they scored higher on the tests I prepared them for then any other children in the district (they seriously brought in police to collect their retests to prove that they could duplicate their results). I have been to countless rallies and we teach a black lives matter martial arts class. I have also helped to organize black lives matter conferences, some white people are missing out.
Environmentalists are publishing papers saying that the most important thing that that can be done right now for the environment is to join the black lives matter movement. As a professional athlete I used my platform to spread awareness about Rastafarianism and now I am working to support the growth of skateboarding in Ethiopia. We have turned so many youths away from gangs by advocating for skate parks, Ethiopia also gains from this. I have a Masters degree in Transformative Social Change, my thesis was on the decriminalization of cannabis focusing on rethinking racist laws. I am still working on my doctorate but forward ever, backward never. However, the most important thing I have done for Black Lives Matter is having youths that can be inspiration for others and respecting the Queens.
Two sisters were actually arguing weather I was a “white ally” recently, with one who just met me saying that she truly believes I am a “white ally” and the other arguing that I’m not actually white. I have to agree with the latter sister who knows me, a “white ally”; leaves the black lives matter gathering, goes back to their privileged life, hangs out with their almost exclusively white friends talking over wine, and are basically excluded from black reality. I go home to a black household in a black building in a black neighborhood. When I walk by the youth on the corner and I tell them to be careful the police don’t shoot them for bringing their toy guns outside, they respectfully go inside and say hi to me the next day because they see me as part of their black community as do I.
I hope this helps for perspective on the matter. More white people need to be welcomed into the Black Lives Matter movement in the same way more blacks need to be welcomed into their white privileged world. It is better to see more white people at Black Lives Matter events than to see “white rastas” . Because to white people, as it is for black people, rastas of their own race just don’t count.
The Honorable Prophet Jah Brian Simeon Black Star Lion (titles bestowed on me by various Rastafarian elders and committees of elders throughout the years).
One and all are welcome to contact me at [email protected]