Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
April 21 marked approximately 46 years since Haile Selassie I's 1966 visit to Jamaica.
On that day this year Michael Barnett launched his book, Rastafari in the New Millennium, at the University of the West Indies' (UWI) undercroft.
The launch was deliberately organised to coincide with the date as that made the occasion somewhat special - given the content of the book.
Evolution of Rastafari
Rastafari in the New Millenium is a focus on the evolution of Rastafarianism since its inception in 1932 to the present year. It (Rastafari) has been a very integral part of the Jamaican history and culture and this is what is celebrated in the book. It has also evolved since its early years so Barnett has tried to document the evolutionary path that the movement has travelled.
He disclosed that the book has been more than four years in the making and pointed to the Ethiopian millennium which began in 2007 as inspiration for doing the book.
"I conceived the book in September 2007 when the Ethiopian millennium started. That's what inspired the book because we're running off the Ethiopian millennium, Rastafari uses that as the time clock as opposed to the (normal) millennium," said Barnett.
It was in 2007 when he begun to organise the necessary paperwork and research for the book.
In the book, Barnett documents five eras of Rastafarian history (see chart).
The book will soon be available in Jamaica at the UWI's bookstore.
Five eras of Rastafarian history
Early 1930s- late 1940s
"Dreadlocks started coming in toward the end of that period." Focus is also put on the early Rastafari leaders such as Robert Hinds, Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley and Leonard Howell.
The most significant being 'Grounation Day', April 21, 1966, when Haile Selassie I visited Jamaica. Second generation leaders such as Prince Emmanuel are focused on.
"When Rastafarians became significant in music." This era ends significantly with the May 11, 1981 death of Bob Marley.
"Has not been a great era" as "the movers and shakers of Rasta start passing away, Prince Emmanuel transitioned in 1994, Gadman, leader and founder of the Twelve Tribes of Israel branch of Rastafari, in 2005".
Marks the beginning of Rastafari in the new millennium.
"I conceived the book in September 2007 when the Ethiopian millennium started. That's what inspired the book because we're running off the Ethiopian millennium, Rastafari uses that as the time clock as opposed to the (normal) millennium."