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310 Conclusion m i c h a e l b a r n e t t The wide-ranging assortment of essays presented in this volume stand as a testament to the significant evolution that the Rastafari movement has undergone, from its inception in Jamaica in the early 1930s to the present dawn of a new African millennium, more than eighty years after its birth. Apart from the Rastafari movement’s somewhat increased participation in politics, termed “politricks” by many in the movement, there are other indications of modifications in what were once entrenched perspectives by the movement. Attitudes toward death are changing, and Rastafari women are beginning to be allowed to participate in rituals that were once restricted to males. So far as the Rastafari movement in Jamaica is concerned we see that a distinct modification of old attitudes has taken place. For one thing, even though the desire for repatriation to Africa is still as strong as ever among Rastafari adherents, many Jamaican Rastafarians have integrated to a greater extent into the wider Jamaican society than was the case in the early years of the movement. This is partly because there has been greater acceptance of Rastafari adherents by the wider society as well as a lessening of the discrimination that used to be blatantly leveled at them. Rastafari has bridged class lines in Jamaica and may no longer be regarded as a movement consisting only of lower-class and impoverished Jamaicans. Rather than disassociating themselves completely from civic life in Jamaica, some Rastafari have gone as far as contesting national and localized parish elections. In fact, as we enter the new millennium (at the time of this Conclusion • 311 writing), a revamped and revitalized version of Marcus Garvey’s People’s Political Party, spearheaded by the Rastafari attorney Ras Miguel Lorne and composed of a predominantly Rastafari membership, has entered the Jamaican political landscape, adding to the Rastafari political presence of Ras Astor Black and Ascente Foxe’s IEWF (Imperial Ethiopian World Federation ) Party. The recently relaunched Marcus Garvey People’s Political Party made national headlines when it fielded a Rastafari candidate, Devon Evans, against the former JLP incumbent, Shahine Robinson, for the North East St. Ann seat in Parliament. These were a group of Rastafari that were striving to embed and to inculcate the Rastafari worldview into every sinew of the Jamaican society (that is, to Rastacize Jamaica), in the same vein and tradition that the Rastafari political trailblazer Ras Sam Brown had attempted to do in the 1962 Jamaican National Elections. Significantly, we now have many more Rastafari adherents who are themselves extensively engaged in Rastafari studies and actively writing on the movement. There are now numerous insider perspectives that make up (what some might consider to be) the cacophony of voices on Rastafari that continue to reverberate both inside and outside the academy. This is a welcome development and a much-needed complement to the numerous outsider perspectives that once dominated the field. This anthology stands as a testament to this new emerging dynamic; several of the contributors to this volume are Rastafari practitioners as opposed to being simply Rastafari sympathizers. I perceive the new millennium to be one that can bring much promise and many possibilities for the movement, amid an undeniable atmosphere of uncertainty and rapid change. In the year 2010 alone, the Rastafari and wider Caribbean intellectual academy lost two great stalwart researchers and thinkers. Professor Rex Nettleford transitioned suddenly and unexpectedly in February, and then even more surprisingly, Professor Barry Chevannes, whom I considered to be in many ways Professor Nettleford’s academic successor, transitioned in early November. The contributions that both these Jamaicans made to the Jamaican Rastafari movement (if not the wider global Rastafari community) cannot be denied. Professor Nettleford played a significant role in opening up the hallowed gates of the University of the West Indies to the Rastafari community (as did Professor 312 • Rastafari in the New Millennium Chevannes), allowing brethren and sistren to partake and benefit from the resources of the university. Numerous Rastafari conferences were able to convene at the university, such as the famous International Rastafari conference of 1983 and its sequel, the Global Reasoning Conference of 2003, as a result of Professor Nettleford’s open and clear support. He endorsed (financially and otherwise) the recent Rastafari Studies Conference that was convened at the university in the summer of 2010 to commemorate the fifty years since the publication of the now famous University...


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