Photographer Wendy Ann Duncan sports a salon ras.
Squad member Brian Williams has a bongo.
Zen Dionne Jarrette
Zen Dionne Jarrette
The most distinctive thing about a Rasta is his dreadlocks.
The next is everything he says. These days, even people
with their hair relaxed bone-straight or sporting a juicy
jheri curl can be heard using Rasta-originated slang. The
sayings have established themselves in the local lexicon.
Long ago Rastas were looked upon as a dark and terrible
secthence the term dreadbut now
every Tom, Dick and Vashti can be seen sporting locksno
matter their race or socio-economic background.
One long-locked Rasta, Bro Resistance, gives his views on
this growing trend.
a Rasta, it is always nice to see yourself initiate changes
in the aesthetic, he said.
of this is part of a new vibe and I think its all
The police, church or any establishment Rastas find oppressive.
Baddis: A woman of ill repute or loose sexual morals.
Bald head: A person without locks or someone who works for
Bashment: A party or dance.
Blacks: The dreaded marijuana joint with cocaine rock added
that Rastas frown upon smoking. Many Rastas believe this
type of joint is the gateway to becoming a cocaine addict.
Bless: Used instead of goodbye.
Bobo: A person belonging to the Bobo Shanti sect of Rastafarianism,
distinguished by their turban headwear and communal, subsistence-oriented
Bongo: Someone who has real dreadlocks, which
are grown to resemble tree roots and are not uniform or
Carry ah dread: To have dreadlocks.
Downpressor: An oppressor.
Dread!: An exclamation of disbelief.
Earth strong: Some Rastas version of birthday.
Empress: A female Rasta; particularly used for wives or
upstanding young women.
Endeavour best: To try your hardest to achieve something.
Fassy: A weak or idiotic person; could also mean homosexual.
Fireball: Rasta version of the four-letter word that rhymes
Folly: Anything bad or any sort of wrongdoing.
Ital: Organic or natural food without salt or meat, sanctioned
for Rastafarian eating.
Ism schism: Any form of bureaucracy.
Judgement: An expression of outrage or disbelief.
Lion: Any upstanding, distinguished or respected male Rasta.
Leggo beast: A wild, disorderly person.
Meat: Coconut jelly, which is eaten with food the way meat
No-tal: Meat and any salted food which is not ital.
One love: A way to say goodbye; also used as an apology.
Overstand: The Rasta version of the word understand.
Porkmouth Rasta: A person who is a Rasta in hairstyle only.
Queen: A Rastas mother.
Rastafari: An abbreviation of Emperor Haile Selassies
name: his birth name was Ras (meaning prince or duke) Tafari
Rawtid: To be very angrya take on the word wrath.
Respect: A way of saying goodbye; also an apology.
Rootical: Anything or person that is true to the Rastafarian
Salon ras: Someone with a uniformed head of dreadlocks who
has it just for style and not the religion.
Scene: Do you understand?
Skanking: The distinctive style of helter-skelter Rasta
Spliff: A very large joint of marijuana.
Get the heights and the vibes: To be sexually aroused.
Unclean: Pork, or sometimes a reference to a womans
Waste dong: To speak ill of another personusually
behind their back.
Zion: Ethiopia, Africa, sometimes Heaven.
These are just some of the colorful things rastas say that
have now found their way into daily conversation.
So now that you understand more of them, you wont
be confused the next time a Rasta talks to you.