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Explaining Jah

April 03, 1987

I am the editor of Jah Guide magazine and a backup DJ for KPFK's "Sounds of Jamaica" reggae program. I also lead a reggae band called Kindread.

The influence of reggae and Rastafari on Americans is older and stronger than most people realize ("Bibles, Blond Locks: the New Rastafarians" by Nikki Finke, March 15). It is growing more visible now, not as it becomes more American, but as we become more internationally conscious.

Bob Marley was profound in his ability to make tangible the "mystical revelations" of Jah (which is not the "Black God" your article suggested but simply the name for God found in Psalm 68:4, King James version). He dispels the myth that reggae and Rasta is racially exclusive by the fact that he was half white (English father). Called "The Vision" by worldwide admirers, Marley, by his very being, transcended the racial barrier for everyone. That was his message and the fact of his life.

Rasta is an inborn conception, not a religion or a cult fad; nor is it limited by race or culture. It is an expression of the fullness of human potential, and the power of tolerance and community.

Being Rasta is to be mindful of the forces of God in Nature; because as our commercial culture has acknowledged, "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

WILLIE B. DREAD

Los Angeles

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