It is my belief that the global appeal and spread of the Jamaican Rastafarian movement can be linked to a number of elements or factors.
The first is the pre-eminent position the Bible holds in Rastafarian ritual and ideology. Second, the stress Rastas place on healthy, natural living and their sub sequent rejection of Western artificiality in the realms of food, medicine, social relationships, etc.
Third, Rastas’ outspoken condemnation of the hypocrisy, corruption, injustice, and white biases inherent in colonial and neocolonial societies and institutions.
Fourth, Rastas’ exhortation to the colonized and subjugated peoples of the world to take pride in their ancestral heritage and culture and to look to their own indigenous traditions for guidance and support.
Fifth, the amorphous and decentralized nature of the movement, which gives adherents everywhere the freedom and flexibility to select and interpret specific aspects of Rastafarian religion and culture in a way that is best suited to their own needs and situations. And finally, but perhaps most importantly, the powerful links that exist between the movement and various aspects of contemporary transnational popular culture – namely music, drugs, and fashion.
Found in Conclusion, from: TRANSNATIONAL POPULAR CULTURE AND THE GLOBAL SPREAD OF THE JAMAICAN RASTAFARIAN MOVEMENT, by Neil J. Savishinsky.
Source: NWIG: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids, Vol. 68, No. 3/4 (1994)
Image credit: ROBERT KITCHIN/The Dominion Post