RASTAFARI – THE NEW CREATION Gold Medal Edition to benefit Elders

RASTAFARI – THE NEW CREATION – New Edition to Benefit Elders

The Rastafari people of Jamaica started a religious movement, a lifestyle and a music that have each been studied at length by various academics, cultural anthropologists, authors, researchers, film makers and curious people of many nations. Many of these have submitted books, theses, reports and films on the Rastafarians beliefs and lifestyle.

However, studying a human group and thereafter providing an accurate depiction of their deepest beliefs from the viewpoint of an outsider can produce inaccuracies, nor can such studies be as profound or as real as a report by a member of the group being studied.

After years of studies and reports about Rastafari by non-practitioners of the faith, in 1980 RASTAFARI – THE NEW CREATION became the first book ever written by a member of the faith. Arising from a series of newspaper articles she had written, author Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah, herself a Rastafari, developed them into 12 chapters and published the first edition in New York.

Kwerata Re’esu

With subsequent editions in Jamaica and England, the simply-written book about a first-hand experience became a well-known and widely distributed source of information that for the first time explained Rastafari beliefs and thinking from someone living as a Rasta. With chapters on Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Ethiopia and the Bible, the book also fully explained Rastafari views on the divinity of Emperor Haile Selassie I, the use of the Ganja Sacrament and the call for Reparations and Repatriation.

The book has been updated several times with text revisions. This 7th Gold Medal edition with a new cover and revised text is the first to contain several pages of colour photos, including full-page icons of the Ethiopian Kwerata Re’esu (Christ with the Crown of Thorns), Emperor Haile Selassie, the Black Madonna and Bob Marley. The book is available exclusively on order from Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions and the author has announced that 10% of royalties will go to the establishment of a Rastafari Elders Medical Fund. Copies can be ordered at: http://www.amazon.com/RASTAFARI-CREATION-Gold-Medal-Edition/dp/1477583696


Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah is a Jamaican journalist, author, film maker and cultural consultant who has been living as a Rasta since 1972. Well-known for her outspoken views on Jamaican culture, entertainment and society, her other books are JOSEPH – A RASTA REGGAE FABLE, a novel inspired by the life of Bob Marley; HOME – THE FIRST SCHOOL a homeschooling guide, and GROWING OUT: BLACK HAIR AND BLACK PRIDE about how living in British racism developed her racial consciousness.

She served from 1984-87 as an Independent Senator in the Jamaican Parliament. She was awarded the Gold Adowa Centenary Medal in 1998 by the Ethiopian Crown Council, and in 2010 the Rastafari Youth Initiative presented her with the Empress Menen Award ‘in recognition of her Incredible Itribution to the Rastafari Nation’. In 2011 she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Entertainment Film, Fashion & Theatre (BEFTTA) organization. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica.


‘Social Media – Mobile Lifestyles’

REVIEW:  ‘STREAMING: #SOCIAL MEDIA – MOBILE LIFESTYLES”, by Marcia Forbes, Publisher: Phase Three Productions

With the social media newscape enlivened by Facebook founder Mark Zukeberg’s instant billionaire status, it was no co-incidence that my reading material this week was ‘STREAMING: #SOCIAL MEDIA – MOBILE LIFESTYLES”, the book by my good friend Dr. Marcia Forbes in which she analyses the ways young Jamaican adults use social media. The book is a follow up to her earlier book “MUSIC, MEDIA & ADOLESCENT SEXUALITY IN JAMAICA” , her Ph.D. thesis which sought to explain the influence music and media have had and are having on the cultural, emotional and social development of Jamaican youth.

A media professional and film/TV producer, Marcia Forbes has focused her scholarly attention on the most important sector of the Jamaican population, the youth. Both books are written as information, as well as cautionary tales, for parents, teachers and especially the young adults who formed the subjects for her research.  This book focuses particularly on how the spread of digital technology has inspired the spread and popularity of social media by Jamaican youth, especially the use of the global phenomenon Facebook, which she informs occupies 59.5% of the combined top three activities that Jamaicans do online. 

 PREFERENCE FOR TWITTER     Though admitting her preference is for Twitter, especially with its ease of use for smart-phone users, Dr. Forbes gives vivid examples of how social life of Jamaican teens is lived out on Facebook pages and Twitter tweets. The public nature of all social media postings exposes many teens to such dangers as stalking, cussing, embarassment, broken love affairs and sometimes personal danger, while the positives include the ability to do homework online, exchange international news and meet new friends.  Twitter, she prefers, for its ability to maintain instant conversations with multiple users in time of international news such as entertainment events or street violence, with users tweeing links and news at rapid pace. Tweeting has become a viral phenomenon that has grown beyond scope and Twitter is home to many scandals of tweeted photos and outrageous messages.

WELL WRITTEN      The book is a valuable addition to Jamaican education, and I hope it is distributed to all school libraries. Marcia Forbes writes well and in an engaging style of a conversation with her readers, making the information easy to follow and interesting — though I doubt it will hold many young readers long enough to tear them away from their keyboards — laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone.  She ends her book reminding that  Volume 1 is ‘a work in progress’ and a second Volume will follow. I hope that one dwells a little on the use of social media by adults like her and myself, so that the young adults she now reaches can be informed of the digital world they will continue to inhabit as they grow older.