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Munga too Gansta

Rastas blast Munga's 'Gangsta Ras' image

By Basil Walters Observer staff reporter

Monday, July 30, 2007

A group of Rastafarians who feel that dancehall artiste Munga's promotion of himself as "the Gangsta Ras" with attendant image, is a perversion of the integrity of Rastafari, say they intend to pursue the use of intellectual property protocols to protect and preserve the culture and symbols from misuse.

MUNGA. claims to be the 'Gangsta Ras'

According to the recently formed Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council, there is nothing honourable about the entertainer's persona, as well as his assertion that "di gal dem love di gangsta ras" in the recording Bad From Mi Born.

The council, which represents the All Mansion/Ancient Council of Rastafari, says the misuse of Rastafari culture has diluted and marginalised the central tenets and creed of the Rastafari philosophy and way of life.

The group said that popular music, which has used much of the expressions of their faith, is an area that will be receiving a lot of attention. "As such, the comments and image of Munga Honourable as the Gangsta Rasta are not acceptable. As well, the recent documentary Rent A Dread, will both be legally and morally challenged," the All Mansion/Ancient Council of Rastafari said in a document coming out of a recent two-day workshop.

Initiated by Rastafari music consultant Maxine Stowe of Jamaica Creative Artistes Network at the offices of Jamaica Trade and Invest, the workshop, attended by members of the Rastafari and Maroon communities, focused on intellectual property for the protection of indigenous cultures.

Among the issues discussed was protection against the improper usage, misrepresentation and the abuse of the name and persona of late Ethiopian emperor, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I.

"Protection against the misrepresentation, commercialisation and improper use of the name Ras Tafari, capital R, capital T; Rastafari as one word; and derivatives such as Rasta and the persona, the portrayal of I and I," said Rastafari attorney Sandra Alcott.

"An example (of this misrepresentation and improper use of the name Rasta) is this young musician calling himself Gangsta Ras. This is derogatory," added Alcott.

Another prominent Rastafari lawyer, Miguel Lorne, when asked to comment on the issue, told the Observer, "Dam foolishness, madness. That (gangsta) could never be Rasta objective. That don't sey we are going to be passive. That is not what our ancient fathers fight for. I'm totally against that. The only time wi gangsta a when wi a kill Babylon."

Several attempts to reach Munga for a reaction were unsuccessful.

In May this year in an interview published in Splash, the Observer's entertainment magazine, Munga explained that he coined the moniker when he was a baby. "Me have dat name from me a bout four. Munga is a word I used to say when I was a baby," he said.

The deejay, who honed his craft hanging out with and observing Capleton and Sizzla, two of his more seasoned Rastafari colleagues in the business, said the title 'Honourable' "comes from how Rastafari allows me to see myself".

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