Reggae and Rastafari: A short history

Sarah Dayens

in Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780719076213
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702116 | DOI:
Reggae and Rastafari: A short history

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Reggae music is seldom analysed without a reference to the Rastafari movement, the founding event of which was the coronation of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, which took place on November 2, 1930. In Jamaica, some interpreted it as the fulfillment of the prophecy announced by Marcus Garvey before his departure for the United States. Some scholars have proposed an analysis centered on religion, usually based on the Jamaican case and focused on sacred practices, and the beliefs in which they are grounded. In contrast with the religion-focused approach, other scholars have considered the Rastafari movement from a socio-political standpoint, emphasising its historical emergence in relation to a context of domination and its articulation around the key notion of liberation; these works usually concern the Jamaican case, and often represent a Marxist approach, using terms such as neo-colonialism, social stratification, economic deprivation and racial prejudice. This chapter explores the history of reggae and the Rastafari movement, focusing on dubbing and the emergence of the reggae dancehall.

Keywords: reggae; Rastafari movement; history; Haile Selassie; Jamaica; religion; liberation; dubbing; dancehall

Chapter.  5924 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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