June 25, 2021

New Book: Rastafari in the 21st Century: What Life Has Taught I&I


Critics are saying that Volume One of  Rastafari in the 21st Century: What Life Has Taught I&I is a prime example of current Rastafari scholarship at its best. The ambitious new book by Priest Douglas Smith and I. Jabulani Tafari contains the previously unwritten history of the first generation of Rastafari elders. Today, many of that First Generation of Rastafari elders are transitioning on to become Ancestors, and as they do so, their colorful and important life stories are already starting to fade from the collective memory of the people of Jamaica and the world.

This well-illustrated and thought-provoking volume was written as a literary tribute lest the world forget to highlight and honor those Rastafari elders who sacrificed everything and endured so much with so little in order to establish a new cultural tradition and way of life. The colorful biographies of the individual Rastafari patriarchs and matriarchs included in this tribute to the elders provide a panoramic, comprehensive and illuminating insight into the cultural mindset and political worldview of the Rastafari.

The revealing biographies of the selected Rastafari elders also give mind-boggling and eye-opening accounts of the harrowing and dangerous life of the once socially ostracized and publicly despised Rastafari activists. The range of exhilarating experiences highlighted in the biographies of these elders illustrate the serious daily challenges faced for decades by the pioneers of the movement and document how these Rastafari activists endeavored to persevere and overcome all the religious, social, economic and political obstacles set up to hinder and eradicate them.

As second generation Rastafari youth growing up in the 1970s, authors Priest Douggie Smith and Ras I. Jabulani Tafari were blessed to sit at the feet of many of the first generation Rastafari elders and they often heard them expound extensively about the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and about the early days of the King of Kings Movement. The authors also heard the Elders reason about any number of topics related to the theology, ideology and spirituality of the King of Kings/Rastafari Movement. Accordingly, Volume One of  Rastafari in the 21st Century: What Life has Taught I&I  is a revealing testimony of the lessons in life that Priest Douggie and Ras I-Jabulani have been taught by their experiences interacting with the Elders while living the life of Rastafarians.

The authors are sharing some of their combined life experiences in this literary work and highlighting some of the enduring lessons they learned from the pioneering elders. Such a testament is necessary in order to take a fresh look at where the Rastafari movement is coming from and where it needs to be going moving forward. As veteran Rastafari activists, Priest Douggie and I-Jabulani have concluded that present circumstances require that Rastafari be much more than a mere religious movement… it has to be a resistance Movement and has to become a way to life, as well as a Way of Life.

The groundbreaking new book is copiously illustrated with 90-plus seldom seen photographs as well as eye-catching original artwork by the critically acclaimed Raw Pencil and master artist Elgo.


Rastafari in the 21st Century: What Life Has Taught I&I

By: Priest Douglas Smith and I. Jabulani Tafari

Volume One – Tribute to The Rastafari Elders

ISBN: 978-1-63901-378-4

232 Pages

90-Plus Photographs & Original Artwork

$30.00 Softcover




June 19, 2021

Celebrate Juneteenth at The Betsy Hotel

Geoffrey Philp

In South Beach, it’ll be a big night The Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Drive. On June 19, from 6 to 11 p.m., there will be live jazz in the lobby by pianist Allen Paul and singers Carole Ann Taylor, Brenda Alford, Nicole Yarling, and Leesa Richards.

Outside, from 9 to 9:30 p.m. at the Poetry Rail in the adjacent alley, poets Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns and Geoffrey Philp are scheduled to appear, along with jazz saxophonist and peace activist Gregory LeDon, who will accompany them with improvisations. Both events are free.


Deborah Plutzik Briggs, EdD

VP Arts and Community, The Betsy Hotel

Director - The Betsy Community Fund @ The Miami Foundation

Director - PG Family Foundation