Babylon and Dread Revitalization
Rastafari is about the delegitimation of Babylon – the forces of oppression and exploitation that Africans faced under colonialism and its legacies – and the revitalization of African culture and sensibilities in the African Diaspora. This delegitimation is expressed as “beating down Babylon,” and is accomplished by condemning Jamaica and the West for its historical atrocities, economic exploitation, mental slavery or cultural imperialism, and political trickery. The attempt to revitalize African culture and sensibilities focuses on the reappropriation of Africa as the spiritual and cultural home of Rastas and all Africans in the Diaspora, on the lion as the symbol of Rastafarian self‐assertiveness and confidence in response to the coward Anancyism of alienated slave personality, and on the cultivation of dreadlocks, “dread talk,” and “ital levity” (natural or organic living).
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