Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff was born in Jamaica, a country with more Christian churches per capita than any other country in the world. So it is easy to assume that the first pioneer to take Reggae Music worldwide is a Christian. If not Christian, one might believe that he is a Rasta since 50 percent of Roots Reggae singers are actually Rastas.
Well it turns out that although Jimmy grew up in a Christian churn and is one of the best reggae artists of all time, he is neither Christian or Rasta.
“Growing up, I saw my parents as Christians and was obligated to follow. However, I didn’t find the truth in Christianity because I asked questions and didn’t get the answers,” said Cliff, whose given name is James Chambers.
After numerous travels all over the world and experiencing other cultures, people and religion, the Sitting in Limbo singer found his truth in Islam and converted to the religion.
“I followed and studied Islam for a while but still didn’t find the truth. It didn’t satisfy my soul. Then, I went to India, even lived in an Ashram (a place for spiritual retreat) and studied Hinduism. On my own, I researched Buddhism. I called them schools.”
As part of the Black Power movement which grew throughout the early 1960s to 1970s, for which Malcolm X was credited for increasing awareness, Cliff was educated on Egypt and Egyptian culture. However, it was a trip to the nation years later that would enrich his understanding of religion and science.
“I found everything there, all the knowledge whether it was religious or scientific, and also on music or philosophy, I discovered the root of where it comes from. So much information is stored in Ancient Egypt,” Cliff explained.
Jimmy Cliff does not want to convert or condemn anyone. Instead he wants everyone to do their own research in order to find their root and their own truth.
“I am encouraging everyone, whatever race they belong to, to do their research. I am pointing the way for them to study to know where they originate from and whatever religion they choose,” Cliff said.