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a member of an originally Jamaican religion that regards Ras Tafari (the former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie (1892--1975)) as God


a BLACK movement, dating from the 1930s in Jamaica, but influential worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s, involving the ‘deliverance’ of black people to a new, free and sacred homeland in Africa. ‘Rastafarian’ is derived from Ras Tafari, the name of Haile Selassie I (Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1975) before he assumed his official title.

Rastafarian beliefs have their origins in the teaching and philosophy of Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) who organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the US at the beginning of the 20th century. He believed that integration with whites in the US was impossible and the foundation of a black homeland in Africa was necessary to restore the dignity and culture of black peoples.

Garvey's teachings were influential both in the US and the West Indies. His prophecies about a glorious kingdom and the return to Africa created interest in the crowning of Ras Tafari as the Emperor of Ethiopia. Followers of Garvey in Jamaica, though not Garvey himself, made connections between the prophecy of a black king (taken to be Haile Selassie) and the day of deliverance to a promised land (Ethiopia). They believed that Selassie was a Messiah who would organize the black exodus to Africa and end the domination of Western imperial powers. As such, the Rastafarian movement is often identified by sociologists as CULT-like, involving many of the features of millennial movements (see MILLENARIANISM AND MILLENNIAL MOVEMENTS).

By the middle of the 1970s Rastafarianism had become a potent cultural force in the West Indies and the beliefs became more internationalized, especially in parts of the US, UK and Australia.


References in periodicals archive ?
Thelma and Louise (1991) also places a Rastafarian character in an unusual setting for comedic effect, but it also seeks to exploit the stereotype of these individuals as rebels.
The buildings, topped by a Rastafarian flag, are at the centre of a court case and face demolition.
Hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans are Rastafarian.
Chris, who lives in Hillfields in Coventry and is currently working towards English, Maths and a fork-lift truck driving qualifications at JHP, said: "I am extremely proud of my Rastafarian heritage and thoroughly enjoyed teaching people about my culture, letting them feel my hair and ask questions about the artefacts I have collected over the past 16 years.
The initiative comes just months after a judge in Birmingham ordered the arrest of a Rastafarian who refused to remove his hat in court.
Jamaican-born Mr Napthali, 54, is the spiritual head of a worldwide Rastafarian movement and is revered as a living prophet from his spartan offices on Holyhead Road.
I think it is incredible that so many years after brother Bob's death, he still inspires such an amazing show,' said Yohannes, a Rastafarian, who only goes by a single name.
The axe-wielding raider was wearing a Rastafarian hat and a face mask when he stolepounds 350 from a newsagent in his home town of Grimsby, Lincolnshire.
RASTAFARIAN poet Benjamin Zephaniah today broke convention to publicly rejected an invitation to accept a New Year honour calling it a legacy of colonialism.
The music was built on the foundation of the Rastafarian faith, which among other things preaches peace, justice, equal rights and the divinity of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.
The steering group includes: the Rt Rev Dr Rupert Hoare, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral; Muhammad Anwar, chairman of the Friends Information Centre, an Islamic and Asian cultural and community group; Es Rosen, from the Liverpool Jewish Youth and Community Centre; and Levi Tafari, poet and Rastafarian.
A RASTAFARIAN today demanded an apology from a judge who ordered his arrest after he refused to remove his hat while in court.