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Visions of ZionEthiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land$
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Erin C. MacLeod

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479882243

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479882243.001.0001

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Africa Unite, Bob Marley, Media, and Backlash

Africa Unite, Bob Marley, Media, and Backlash

(p.126) 4 Africa Unite, Bob Marley, Media, and Backlash
Visions of Zion

Erin C. MacLeod

NYU Press

This chapter takes a much broader view of the perception of Rastafari by turning to the Africa Unite celebration of what would have been Bob Marley's sixtieth birthday. The series of events took place in February 2005 and was covered extensively by the Ethiopian media. Analyzing the reaction expressed by different media reveals the differing views and attitudes toward Rastafari in the context of the Africa Unite event. This reaction fell within a certain spectrum. Within the Ethiopian media, when the focus was on the “event,” the reaction was neutral to celebratory. Conversely, when the focus was on Rastafari, the reaction was neutral to skeptical. The media created by Protestant church organizations pushed this questioning much further and, by characterizing Rastafari as drug-addicted and misled, went so far as to vilify the movement. These different narratives show that not only does the disconnect between the Ethiopians and Rastafari continue, but the understandings and receptions of Rastafari are incredibly varied—what is distinctive is that there is no specific framework for understanding.

Keywords:   Ethiopia, Rastafari, Ethiopians, Africa Unite, Bob Marley, Protestant church organizations, media coverage, Ethiopian media

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