When after years of oppression, humiliation, and
denigration, Rastafari gained some form of social
‘acceptance’ it was not the Elders who profited,
it is the younger, commercial dreads who reaped
With Bob Marley’s fame came a slurry of entertainers
who adopted the ‘hairstyle’ and paid lip service to
As they were young and photogenic and willing to
talk, as the Elders were not, they gained the opportunity
to blather about what they didn’t know to those who
‘Making it up as one went along’ became more the rule
than the exception, and using the mask of RastafarI for
personal aggrandizement was the norm.
Sunsplash became the venue for what would become
the Rent-A-Dread Industry.
These young men with Dreadlocks would sell themselves
to foreign tourists who were looking for new sexual
Leaving their Rasta wife at home, these men would
spend two weeks being supported by tourists who
dressed and acted in total opposition to what Rasta
That a man who would deny his woman skin lotion
as vanity to be enjoying the body of a female who
was as artificial as money could pay for was not
seen as an anathema, for these men were as Rasta
as the white girl with clip on dreads.
Many Rasta daughters learned of their ‘King’ man’s
enterprises and abandoned their stark lives. Some
cut their hair, others lived as RastafarI but in their
own woman centric version.
Many women locksed their hair and made their own
vows, others, born into a Rasta family adopted a
mixture of Rasta and modern dress, so that a skirt
would be worn, instead of pants, but the hemline
was at the knee. Where locks would be worn, but
the head uncovered.
As time passed, more people began to grow their
hair and though practicing some of the dietary
laws, i.e. not eating pork, they had no intention
of living according to the strict precepts of Rasta.
Ganja, once a sacrament was a way to get high,
and drinking rum was not unknown to their diets.
Promiscuity reigned and only foreigners would
take the chap with dreadlocks as a Rasta.
The Elders began to fade and die, the Doctrine was, in
many cases, forgotten.
The Bobo continue to live at Camp, separated from
society while the few remaining of the Nyahbinghi order
hold occasional Binghis attended by Rentas, tourists,
and a few of the faithful.
The wearing of Dread locks no longer prevents
employment, and it is taken as another hairstyle.
While there are still a few homesteads of real RastafarI
most are assimilated into Jamaican society.
Many men may have been ‘Rasta’ in their youth,
then trim and shave and join the ranks of bald head.
Women may grow locks then dye them rainbow
colours for attention at dance halls.
It is outside of Jamaica where one can find actual
Rasta colonies living according to Scripture.