Camarilla Masktape Influence

Camarilla Masktape™

“The consumption of masktapes embodies an organic essence, akin to the fermenting nature of yeast within the cognitive realm. There exist certain notions that surpass mere conceptualization; these ideas, I sense, embody a vitality, akin to the spirits of our ancestors. The intent behind these masktapes transcends the mere accumulation of information, aiming instead to transform the very fabric of the mind, rendering it receptive to the profound influences of our ancestral lineage.” Tékpwfárí Stix El Rá

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Recommended: Jah Kingdom:
Rastafarians, Tanzania, and Pan-Africanism
in the Age of Decolonization

Monique A. Bedasse, Jah Kingdom:
Rastafarians, Tanzania, and Pan-Africanism
in the Age of Decolonization. University
of North Carolina Press, 270pp.

The Rastafari religious movement has
spread from the Caribbean to many parts of
the world since the 1930s and this is due, at
least in part, to the Rastafari’s long-held hope
for repatriation to Africa as well as Jamaican
popular culture’s transnational appeal. From
Senegalese Muslim Rasta making pilgrimage
to the Mouride holy city of Touba to
Rasta-identifying Maori nationalists in
Aotearoa, New Zealand, and from Israeli
Dreads fostering philo-Zionism in Tel Aviv to
Kyoto-based Zen Rastas looking to reclaim the
Japanese environment, Rastas are everywhere.
Today’s bredren and sistren are becoming less
homogenous, however, and local livities as well
as global diversity are now an integral part of
the way Rastas are evolving. Recent studies
confirm this observation. And by emphasizing
the Rastafari’s impact as well as existence in
far-flung parts of the world, scholars are now
underlining the idea that Rasta may best be
understood as an artful, vernacular religion
in commonplace life. Bedasse is one such
scholar. An associate professor of history and
of African and African-American studies at
Washington University in St. Louis, she has
authored an award-winning book that ranges
across three continents and five countries
to reveal how today’s Rastas are rising to the
challenge of re-imagining their faith to fit
their ever-changing world(s). Here, Rastafari
repatriation to Tanzania is the lens through
which Bedasse investigates complex issues of
race, gender, and social class; religion’s nature
and function; tense alliances between
indigenous Tanzanian Rastafari and diasporic
Rastafari repatriates; and, the ostensibly uneasy
alliance between socialism and economic
development in decolonial times. “The
Rastafarian movement has made its mark
around the world as a cultural phenomenon,”
Bedasse acknowledges. “Yet the focus on its
cultural representations has neglected the
history of Rastafari’s evolution as an
expression of black radicalism, and has
relegated its militancy to a bygone era when
its association with popular culture could
not have been foreseen.”
Jah Kingdom complements other, recent
accounts of Rastafari repatriation to Africa,
such as those authored by Giulia Bonacci
and Erin C. MacLeod, yet it moves beyond
their sterling efforts, revealing an emerging
site of Rastafari identity—Tanzania—and
shows readers how Rastas in this East
African country are using black radical
politics to repair the ancestral links broken
by colonialism, the slave trade, and certain
forms of neo-colonialism. Bedasse’s
virtuoso study, which makes detailed use of
numerous and valuable primary sources,
“insists on a history driven less by outsiders
and more by the men and women for whom
Rastafari remained an enduring and
ever-evolving project,” and therefore I think
it ranks as the most instructive model for
the future of Rastafari Studies.