The journey metaphor is often used to describe the PhD process as it involves charting new territory and making new discoveries. The concept of the journey took on a different meaning when I commenced research into the entheogenic use of cannabis. Although I have lived in London for decades, I did not really know much about Rastafari and what was most shocking of all, is that I had never had a conversation about it with a Rastafarian. This post is the foundation of a presentation/workshop which I will be giving later in the year which discusses my oral history interviews about different aspects of Rastafari and the Rastafari in Motion exhibition.
My awareness about Rastafari was conflated with Reggae music, which on hindsight, I think I enjoyed swaying to the rhythm than paying close attention to the harsh reality of the lyrics.
I had not questioned the prevailing stereotype of Rastafari and my research provided an opportinity to examine Rastafari from the perspective of a Rastafarian.My preliminary readings provided me with a good baseline to initiate discussion and I gleaned that Rastafari was much more than hair. I began to build a vocabulary about the practice of Rastafari and this helped to shape my interview questions.Then it was time to put theory into practice and conduct my first interview.
I met Ras Cos Wadada Tafari at the Majestic Radio studio in North London and he explained what the Rastafari ‘Livity’ means.
I am looking forward to visiting the Rastafari in Motion exhibition as I will be able to examine the visual and material culture of Rastafari which will further contextualise and triangulate the findings from my oral history interviews.There is an air of anticipation about the exhibition as I have already recieved a few phone calls from friends. Images are already circulating on social media creating a buzz online. So, I am looking forward to attending the private view on the 14th of June 2016.