I’m currently reading RASTAFARI, which is the companion book to the exhibit Rastafari at the Institute of Jamaica. I was introduced to the exhibit while it was in residence here in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The Smithsonian’s curator for the exhibit was an anthroplogist named Jake Homiak who I initially met through Roger Steffens. Jake has studied Rastafari his entire career, even living amongst the Rastafari communities in Jamaica in the 1970s. He has established friendships with many of the elders, and has maintained those relationships for more than 30 years.
The book RASTAFARI is one of the most definitive, comprehensive, and well-researched books about Rastafari that I have read in some time. It conveys deeply spiritual information in a way that is not overly “heavy” or intense, and as a result it is able to connect with a larger audience, even those who know nothing about the history or central tenets of Rastafari. The book includes writings from the Smithsonian National Director of Anthroplogical Archives Jake Homiak, Ph.D., Jamaica National Museum Director Jonathan Greenland, Ph.D., attorney Marcus Goffe, university lecturers Jahlani Niaah and Ijahnya Christian.
This phenomenal text discusses many of the events and individuals who helped shaped and evolve Rastafari including the prophecies of Marcus Garvey, Emperor Haile Selassie I’s visit to Jamaica in 1966, tribes and governance of Rastafari, central tenets of the faith and core beliefs of the Rastafarians.
In my opinion, this is a MUST-READ for any reggae fan, especially those who are unfamiliar with Rastafari as it will give context, clarity, and new meaning to every song you listen to. It is a “decoder” of sorts that will help you better translate this music. In my opinion, RASTAFARI is a MUST-HAVE for collectors, archivists, and fans of reggae.