1970s Rastas

Rastas in Jamaica, Message Records 1978

Rastafarism is a religion hailing from Kingston, Jamaica in the 1930s amongst the working class. The religion itself has many misconceptions and controversial factors of drugs and crime.


Rastafari-Ethiopian flag, Jamaican Traditions

In the 1930s a time when discrimination was high against blacks and the evident desire to keep black people on the bottom of the socio-economic chain, Marcus Garvey a black political leader intended to return and unify blacks with the mother land, Africa.

Marcus Garvey, Biography 2012

“Look to Africa, for there a king will be crowned”- http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/marcus_garvey.html#7SA2RPYoCiPKeb4d.99

“The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness”.


Marcus Garvey Marcus Garvey speech

Soon after Garveys movement, Emperor Haile Selassie I was crowned and regarded as the Messiah. The religion itself was taken from the Emperors original name Ras Tah Fari.

Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

“He is a figure of salvation and it’s believed he will redeem blacks from white suppressors”- The BBC, 2009

Android Zoom

Through the 1970s, reggae music began to popularise with the likes of Bob Marley, whom was a strong believer of Rastafarianism. Though the association was not accepted by traditional Rastafarians, as many believed it would become commercialised or treated as a fad.

Bob Marley


  • Haile Selassie I is the living God
  • White people are inferior to blacks and will eventually rule the world
  • Marijuana ‘ganja’ is a spiritual herb and is grown amongst other fruits and vegetables. It cleans the body and brings them closer to God
  • Human nature is important and should be protected
  • Refer to the Bible but in an ‘Afro-centric’ way
  • Hair is never cut
  • Respect of animals
  • The pig is seen as a dirty animal and must not be eaten.



“They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh”- Levitivcus 21:5, The Bible regarding hair.

Damian Marley, Star Pulse, 2010

Rasta Caps, Message Records 1978

Rasta caps are used to contain dreadlocks as they grow very long.

Ganja smooking

“He causeth the grass for the cattle, and herb for the services of man”-Psalm 104:14

“…eat every herb of the land”-Exodus 10:12

The sub-culture in the 1970s was often related to the Hippies because both believed in the maintainin the earth and to consume naturally. For many Rastas, they believed white people took on the style of Rastafarianism but did not consider the story behind it.

Does Shakira believe in Rastafarianiam?, Tattoos N Hairstyles, 2012

A fad?, Best Costume

A rasta or just into dreads?


Peter Tosh sung about ganja and its spiritual and medical benefits Legalize It

Bob Marley Exodus “We know where we’re going, we know where we’re from. We’re leaving Babylon, going to our Father’s land”-Exodus, 1977

Rastafarianism is still mis-understood to this day, the sub-culture which developed worldwide mis-represents the actual religion because it is not a highly organised religion.

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