Kabaka accused of hypocrisy after criticising 'Rasta' song by Valiant

Grammy-winner Kabaka Pyramid has found himself at the centre of a social media firestorm after a spirited discussion with a social media user about Valiant's 'Rasta' single during which the Grammy winner implied that the movement is being appropriated for entertainment.

“When we seh we wah inspire di next generation, dis is not what we meant. Rasta a joke ting a Jamaica now apparently. Alright," the Grammy winner tweeted.

The 'Well Done' singer was responding to statements made by Dr Isis Semaj-Hall, lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona, who suggested that there was no public outcry against Americans who sang about Rastafarians. Kabaka shot back saying that he expected more from Jamaicans as he did not expect Americans to have integrity and understand what Rastafarianism is about.

The controversy was triggered by the release of Valiant’s music video and song titled 'Rasta' during which Valiant sings the hook, “Man a live like Rasta, no beef no passa.”

The music video shows Valiant and his crew mimicking Rastafarian culture by rocking fake locs and scarves in the traditional black, red, green, and yellow - the traditional Rasta colours.

The video, released 10 days ago, has already garnered 1.4 million views on youtube and has evoked strong reactions within the Rastafarian community with some seemingly chiding him for the concept and others calling for balance.

"It’s a teachable moment amidst the global appropriation of the Rastafari culture via reggae music," Maxine Stowe, a member of the Rastafarian Millennium Council said.

"Jamaica should lead the fight, and our artistes, businesses and government should create policies that will arrest this marginalisation of our movement. We have a national treasure, the music industry should protect Rastafarianism. We shouldn't separate dancehall and reggae. Artistes like Sizzla, who has achieved iconic status and who understands artistes like Valiant and Kabaka, should now be booked alongside each other on events and stage shows to allow for a better appreciation of each other and the greater education of the society of the true value of our culture," Stowe told OBSERVER ONLINE.

Stowe has worked tirelessly to help define and defend the intellectual property rights of the Rastafarian movement, helping to write a policy that the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office has enacted.

"The Ministry of Culture, Gender and Sports must step in and stop using the slang term “Rasta”, as that is a product of global appropriation to describe the Rastafari community. They support the community in this challenge here in Jamaica. The word 'rasta' is used like slang in Jamaica, it's a door opener for negativity, a way to undermine the movement, and the government itself needs to ensure that the word 'rasta' is not used in its communiques to the public," she said.

In the meantime, some Instagram users have weighed in, accusing Kabaka Pyramid of “selective outrage”.Others have suggested that “Jamaica has no more real rastas" and "why Kabaka nah bun out him lesbian co-worker dem?"

In the meantime, dancehall artiste Konshens spoke out seemingly in defence of Valiant saying that there were Rastafarians within the movement itself who have done irreparable damage to the community's standing internationally.

“Naah, respectfully, I dont think being a Jamaican means you have a responsibility to preserve rasta integrity, especially if you nuh believe inna rasta faith,” Konshens mused.

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