The 82nd Anniversary of the Coronation of Emperor Haille Selassie I

November 2, 2012

Words by DJ Gravy

Ethiopia’s last emperor, descendant of King Solomon and defender of Africa’s sovereign nation who wouldn’t accept defeat or colonization, is far more than just another king or leader. His place of importance in history cannot be overlooked, as a universal symbol of independent strength, and as someone who represented the battle against colonial stronghold. His fight to keep Italy’s leader (and founder of the fascism) out of Ethiopia would prove successful and put Ethiopia in a position to lead the way as a model to many other African nations, who, with Ras Tafari’s help, guidance and support would eventually achieve independence from the European nations who’d conquered them and in most cases, destroyed most tribal traditions and practices.

Read more on the history and relevance of this great leader and explore what Rastafari mean to you as an individual who thinks for him or her self.

Selassie’s contribution to the African continent was truly regal, building roads, schools, churches and forging programs that sent countless Africans to study abroad to help Africa in keeping up with industrial and technological advances, while always keeping an oath to stay grounded with spirituality and faith. Honored by national leaders and universities around the world, His Imperial Majesty represented so much to so many. His place as leader in his time is incomparable to any the world had seen in the modern era, a black man gracing the cover of Time magazine in 1930 is a concept we really can’t even grasp in this day and age.

In Jamaica, during the time of coronation, many recognized H.I.M. as the fulfillment of Marcus Garvey’s prophecy, one of a “black king from the east” that would unite Africans at home and abroad, hence the genesis of the Rasta movement. While met with many interpretations, some religious, some from a more academic standpoint, there is certainly no shortage of controversy regarding this powerful figure. While propaganda criticizing this important figure isn’t hard to find, it’s necessary to recognize Ethiopia’s greatest foe was Mussolini, who poisoned the sovereign nation’s land, air and rivers, destroying much of its fertile land while attempting to control Africa’s only unconquered state.

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the coronation of the one called Ras Tafari, while infinitely more than just the inspiration for reggae music whose message is enjoyed by so many as inspiration and score for freedom fighters around the world. It’s important to recognize, like any movement, many who claim it don’t fully understand or represent it appropriately at all times, however, to comprehend the true power in Rastafari, one’s hair is not a primary factor, neither the music you listen to or fashion you indulge yourself in modes of celebration. It’s simply the understanding that the powers that be are not your master, and you are not their slave.