Category: Rastafarianism

Reggae star Buju Banton faces drug trial in Florida

On his upcoming album “Before the Dawn,” Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton crows about standing strong, though battered and bruised, in the face of a gathering darkness.

The songs sound prophetic — the four-time Grammy nominee recorded them before he was arrested on federal cocaine charges last December. The trial is scheduled to start Monday in Tampa — a week before the album’s U.S. release. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

“I’ve been accused, wrongly convicted. Jah knows I’m innocent,” he sings in his gravelly voice, invoking the Rastafarian God. “I’ve been badly singled out by beloved friends … who sold me out.”

Banton recorded the album’s 10 songs last year in Kingston, Jamaica, before his arrest at his Miami-area home on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. A grand jury indictment also charged him with carrying a firearm during the course of a drug trafficking crime.

Rastafarian wins appeal against conviction in marijuana case in Italy

Rastafarianism Italy’s highest criminal court has ruled that the fact Rastafarians consider marijuana use a religious sacrament should be taken into account if they are tried on trafficking charges, lawyers in a recent case and news reports said Friday.

The Court of Cassation threw out the drug trafficking conviction of a 44-year-old Italian Rastafarian, ruling that the amount he possessed was in line with the heavy use that comes with his religious beliefs.

Rastafarian files beard bias suit against UPS

Chicago (Reuters) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued United Parcel Service Inc. on behalf of a Rastafarian, claiming UPS discriminated against his religion by refusing him a job because of his beard. The lawsuit, filed Monday in the New Jersey district court in Newark, claims that Ronnis Mason was refused a driving job in November 2004 at the company’s Secaucus, New Jersey facility because his beard did not meet appearance guidelines. The suit says he was offered a lower paying job inside the facility where he would not have contact with customers. EEOC lawyer Michael Ranis

Large congregation pays last tribute to Rastafarian patriarch, Mortimo Planno

In death, as in life, Mortimo St George Planno brought the various strands of the Rastafarian movement together, at a packed thanksgiving service remembering his life and work yesterday at the Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 89 Maxfield Avenue in Kingston. And although he was not a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, Planno, as he was fondly called, was symbolically conferred by the group with the title “Rt Honourable”, an adaptation of the national title and a public show of their respect for the Rastafarian patriarch. “He was an agreeable force, always unifying the different threads of light,”

Founder of Rastafarianism, Mortimo Planno, dies

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Mortimo Planno, a philosopher regarded as a key figure in the development of the Rastafarian religion, has died. He was 85. Planno died Monday at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, after suffering complications from a thyroid condition, said Barry Chevannes, a longtime friend and anthropology professor at the university. Planno was one of the most influential people in the development of Rastafarianism, a sect whose members mostly regard Africa as the promised land and former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie as a divine figure. Though rejected by mainstream Jamaican society, the movement grew into a