The entire Jamaican musical movement involved a lot of different factions. From the most sophisticated businessmen and politicians to tough-minded crooks. Drawing on both tradition and new ideas, these characters and their ideas filled a creative caldron that was truly historic. To any outside observer, like myself, there is no doubt that Jamaica delivered a mixed bag of art and business that was – and remains today - unlike any other. The biggest footprint just might have been a man most of us don’t know. He put the spirit of JAH into the art.
Of all the factors that created the island’s colorful art, the Rastafarian influence is surely the pièce de résistance. It is all at once Caribbean, African, religious and rebellious. The lion, the colors and dreads are seen worldwide as uniquely Jamaican. To this day the Rasta movement is a voice for the repressed.It delivers an evangelical message that is finding new fans year after year.Good art is timeless.
During the early days of the Rasta movement many businesses as well as the general population refrained from any kind of interaction with the practitioners of religion. Even Marcus Garvey thought of is as a fringe movement, with its Ganja sacrament and dreadlocks. However, slowly over time it did gain credibility, even relevance.And ultimately politicians like PM Manley declared that Reggae and the Rastas were truly a national Jamaican treasure.
A big voice in all this was a gentle giant of a man named Mortimor Planno. He was the spiritual teacher for the likes of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Burning Spear. His interpretations of the teachings of the early leaders like Garvey and Howell became a major factor in giving many Jamaicans, in particular the artists of the time, the strength to speak out. No more rude boys without a cause, but rather an important message that carried the weight of JAH.That dignity found its way to the music.
One of the most famous Mortimor Planno stories was also his crowning moment. On King Haile Selassie’s first visit to Jamaica he was shocked when he landed in Kingston to see a reported 200,000 Jamaicans surrounding the airport. Not sure what was happening or what the Rastafarian thing was all about Selassie would not leave the Royal plane. With Selassie opting to remain in his plane on the runway for hours trying to understand the phenomenon, Jamaican officials called on Planno to speak with the king. Imagine summoning a poor man and preacher to speak with a king!But Planno’s words, his explanations of Rasta and the new Jamaica, were enough to calm the king, who exited the plane and embraced the country. This story has many versions but one thing is sure: it was Planno, an early Rasta teacher, who greeted King Haile Selassie.
King Haile Selassie was crowned at 25, becoming Ras (meaning Prince) Taferi, and heir to the Throne of Ethiopia.When Empress Zawditu died, Ras Tafari inherited the Throne in 1930. He took his baptismal name, Haile Selassie Hayle Salasse: Instrument of the Might of the Trinity, and was crowned by different nations, the 225th Solomonic ruler of a 3,000 year old dynasty.He was considered a direct decedent of the Israelite King Solomon & Queen Makeda of Sheba or Shoa.
Bob Marley considered this man his spiritual guide and early teacher. We all know how many famous Reggae artists claim to follow the Rastafarian way. If any one person can be called the guiding light for Reggae’s religious connection it’s this simple man.By the sharing of wisdom his voice is heard in every true Reggae song.
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Through the joint work of families living in extreme hardship and youth volunteers, TECHO seeks to overcome poverty. “Rockers Movement will amplify our message and continue to scream that Miami is committed to overcoming poverty,”
Rockers Movement expresses our hopes and dreams of a world in which what we have in common is far greater than that which divides us. Through their Festivals, we live not by looking at each other but by looking together in the same direction.
Food For The Poor would like to thank Rockers Movement and their supporters for channeling their passion for music to raise awareness about the critical needs of the poor. Your compassion and generosity will help us triumph over hunger. When organizations with a common goal come together to serve, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
The City of Miami takes pleasure in celebrating Rockers movement events that bring together music and food from around the world. We welcome this coming together structured as a Zero Waste Initiative, an act of community consciousness that educates by example, and augmented by the musical power of groups from around the world. It is fitted and appropriate that local officials, on behalf of our residents, pause to hail this festive music event that promotes Reggae's "land & people' heritage.
Music is the fabric of our society and the City of Miami Gardens takes pride in recognizing those initiatives that celebrate and honor the art of music; and Now , Therefor, be it resolved that I, Oliver Gilbert, Mayor of the City of Miami Gardens, Florida along with my colleagues of the City Council, on behalf of the Residents, do hereby commend the Rockers Movement on their significant contributions to the South Florida community and urge all Residents to partake in their events.
Music has always had the power to unite and inspire humanitarianism. "The Miami Reggae Festival takes it to the top, offering the highest quality of performance, political ambience and service to community available anywhere. “Truly international in orientation, there is no other place where one can experience such a rich presentation of the best in music talent. Miami proves again, this time through its Reggae Festival, that it is the place to be for the internationalizing of Caribbean culture.