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RastafariFrom Outcasts to Culture Bearers$
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Ennis Barrington Edmonds

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195133765.001.0001

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Babylon and Dread Revitalization

Babylon and Dread Revitalization

(p.41) 3 Babylon and Dread Revitalization

Ennis Barrington Edmonds (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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).

Keywords:   Africa, Anancyism, Babylon, dread talk, dreadlocks, economic exploitation, historical atrocities, ital levity, mental slavery, political trickery

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