Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Colors I bleed

What comes to mind when you see the colors red, gold, and green in combination: Jamaica, Bob Marley, reggae, ganja? Those colors (red, gold, green) are the colors of the Rastafari Movement. The colors have also been embraced by pop culture. Several non-rasta affiliated clothing brands market the colors to appeal to a youthful demographic. Much like dreadlocks, the symbolic colors of Rastafari have often been correlated with rebellious, buck the establishment youth. A number of stereotypes and labels are placed on individuals displaying the Rastafari colors. There have been controversial issues within public schools and other institutions on whether individuals are free to express themselves thru a displaying the colors. There are cultures and subcultures that proudly rock the rasta red,yellow, and green. The explanation to why one may be partial to the colors can vary. Still, the colors of Rastafari are extremely important in what they represent, not just for the individual but for an entire movement.

The colors originate from the Ethiopian flag and shows the loyalty and connections Rastafari has with Ethiopia, and Africa as a whole. The red represents the blood of the martyrs spilled in the black struggle for liberation. It also symbolizes the victorious church of the Rastas, the brotherhood and the connecting life force that runs thru the veins of the people. The gold(or yellow) symbolizes the wealth of Africa. The riches of the "motherland" have raised nations, supported kings, and constructed dynasties. Many rastas blame Babylon for the financial oppression of the entire continent. Nonetheless, the wealth of the land shall be returned in due time according to prophecy and so it is represented in the colors of the movement. Green represents the lush vegetation of Ethiopia and the beauty of the land. Collectively the red is for the people, gold is for the wealth of the land, and green is for the life of the land. Black is also often incorporated representing the color of the African people.

Religions, institutions, societies, nations, etc. all use symbols to some degree in representing their history, their ideologies, and/or purpose. Flags, coat of arms, emblems, and logos all could be identifying markers connecting an individual to a particular group. The colors red, gold, and green speak loudly of the Rastafarian Movement. Next time you come across those colors, perhaps you will make the connection. Remember the blood of the martyrs, men and women who fought for freedom they themselves would never benefit from. Remember the wealth of Africa, not just financial, the richness of the land is in its people. Remember the beauty within the land itself, the lush greenery is the outward working of a land teeming with fresh life. Remember there is much more represented by three simple colors.


1 comment:

  1. This was such an interesting post. When you say many rastas blame "Babylon," what do you mean by that? Who or what is represented by Babylon? Can you go into some specific detail about the wealth of Africa from your perspective, perhaps? A particular region or country, a particular people or natural resource that exemplifies this point?