Rasta Forum Archives > Rasta Forum Archives 2007



Three flights are due into Montego Bay, one from Toronto, one from Fort Lauderdale, the other from London. Every year over 80,000 middle-aged women flock to Jamaica in search of the "big bamboo." They are not necessarily into long-term relationships, but many return regularly to their island boy who sport Rastafarian-style dreadlocks, bringing money and gifts like jewelry and designer sneakers, a practice called “rent a rasta.” But who are the real Rastafari and how do they feel about being used to market everything Jamaican? A controversial glimpse into a paradise laced with cultural misunderstandings and socioeconomic inequities.

An excerpt of the narrative from the documentary contains an interview with Karen, an English- woman from Devon. In it, she reveals her reason for visiting Jamaica without any qualms. “I’m not naïve, I’ve been around the block. I come for sex, of course the sun, but mostly the sex.” A forty-five-year-old Caucasian woman from Chicago voiced the view that American women come to Negril because they are able to get what they cannot get at home. “A girl who no one looks at twice gets hit on all the time here, all these guys are paying her attention, telling her she’s really beautiful, and they really want her. In Chicago this could never happen. Here it is like a secret, a fantasy…and then you go home.” In addition to an exploration of Jamaica’s sex tourism, the documentary also delves into the world of Rastafari. “It epitomises Caribbean sex tourism with a twist in that it humanises Jamaicans who “fill milk bottles” (local slang for white women) and at the same time opens a path of understanding to contemporary Rasta culture, rather unknown to western audiences.”

Rastafari have been greatly underestimated by the outside world. The classical Rastas were sophisticated theological and philosophical thinkers, not cultists worshiping newspaper photos of an African King. They discovered many sophisticated theological concepts for themselves and had retraced many of the Christological and other debates of the early Church. They brought forth a rich cultural and artistic legacy, including some of the twentieth century's most moving hymnography.

In search of the Big Bamboo
According to some published reports, as many as 80,000 women from all over America and Europe travel every year to the Caribbean island of Jamaica to have uncomplicated sex with available "rastatutes". Naturally, all this scandal makes the real Rastas livid. Their history is long and their hardships many, yet these beach-cruising playboys give their religion (not to mention their lifestyle) a bad reputation. Director J. Michael Seyfert is out to change all that. He wants to uncover this unseemly practice and prove that the men exchanging copulation for cash have very little connection to the Rastafari faith. Instead, they are what you would call Rent-a-Rasta—ersatz imitations of the real deal.
Beginning as a supposed exposé of the sex-for-sale industry in Jamaica (think How Stella Got Her Groove Back without famous authors or actresses) but quickly devolving into an overview of the Rastafari religion. Inside are four or five really engaging stories—the history of slavery in the West Indies, the current reparations and repatriation movement, the story of Haile Selassie and his deification, the current socio-economic climate in the Caribbean, and the notion that fat, older, or otherwise unattractive females worldwide come to this area for the sole purpose of getting their whore on. We are intrigued by the notion of such scandalous trysts, well aware that author Terry McMillan (who first uncovered this female version of the mid-life crisis) is currently dragging her boy-toy through a messy, highly-publicized divorce, and Seyfert introduces us to some wonderfully caddish characters.
We hear impassioned pleas from regular followers, as well as the frequent dismissal of "false Rastas." Important names in the religion are given their moment of historical significance, and we even witness a good-natured debate among a group of men over who is the true savior—Jesus or Haile Selassie.
rest alone? Why not address the dreads, the strict diet and leisure mandates (pot = OK; alcohol and tobacco? No way), and the varying influences on the rules and regulations.
Posted on: March 17, 2007, 04:43:20 pmIt's a ''Stella moment'' on the beach. A handsome young Jamaican with bulging pectorals strides up to three middle-aged women strolling barefoot by the sea. His opening gambit is an invitation to ride on his glass-bottom boat. Then the real business: ''Yes mon, my friend and I noticed you last night. You were wearing sneakers,'' he says to one. ''Oh yeah?'' ''We said, 'Those are oldies but goldies!''' he continues. ''How dare you!'' The woman's brassy American accent is a marked contrast to the melodious Jamaican one. ''Didn't your mother teach you how to talk to ladies? 'Oldies?''' The women storm off past a fence that cordons off their all-inclusive resort, leaving their suitor behind. David Patrick, about 30, scratches an ear ruefully but takes the rejection in stride. ''Women been coming in droves since that movie,'' he says. He's talking about How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the movie about a woman who goes to Jamaica and falls in love with a man half her age and rediscovers her enthusiasm for life. ''It's not just Americans,'' Patrick says. ''English women, Germans, Swiss - they all say the same thing: That they've come to get their groove back.'' The movie was based on a book by Terry McMillan who said she kept running into women who bought tickets to Jamaica after Stella became a bestseller in 1996. The movie, starring Angela Bassett as Stella and Taye Diggs as her lover Winston, appears to have had even more of an effect. ''Jamaica couldn't have paid for the publicity we're getting,'' says photographer Ken Ramsay, referring to scenes that linger on white-sand beaches, turquoise and emerald waters, cloudless skies and exotic flowers. Jamaica's Tourist Board has screened the film for U.S. travel agents and aired TV spots promoting the island as a lovers' getaway. Mark Adkins, a manager at the public relations agency Adkins-Rome Entertainment and Marketing in Los Angeles, describes an enthusiastic response, with ''a lot of women ... saying they wanted to go to Jamaica to find their Winston.'' ''We're seeing groups of ladies coming together that look like the type Terry McMillan was writing about - more single ladies,'' says hotel manager Brian Sang. Sang, executive manager of the Jamaica Grande resort at Ocho Rios on the island's north coast, says one visitor sent him a poem saying she and her girlfriends were ''coming to get their groove back.'' A new lexicon has grown around the movie. ''I've heard tourists say things like, 'There's a Stella thing going on here,''' Sang says.
Posted by OCHO RIOS Jamaica: 'Stellas' Searching for Their Winstons in Jamaica , June 15, 2006

Is there prostitution in Negril?
Yes. Although it is not legal. You will see many men and women looking to show you love. Many beautiful women will surround single men at the clubs, and single women will receive the same treatment from the local men. If you're single, it will be assumed that you're on the island seeking a 'likkle love beneat' de palms.' Any remonstration to the contrary will likely be met with wearying attempts to get you to change your mind. Black women can expect to hear a 'roots' trip.
If you go along with the flirting, don't expect a Jamaican man to understand if you've no intent of going all the way. Your innocent acceptance will be taken as a sign of acquiescence. The Jamaican male has a fragile ego and is likely to react strongly to feeling like a fool. Don't beat about the bush for fear of hurting the man's feelings.
Many foreign women welcome these advances, as evidenced by the proliferation of 'rent-a-Rastas' - semiprofessional good-time guys, or gigolos - on the arms of North American and European women. Most often, the man is excited more by your economic clout than your looks - a foreign catch brings status and the possibility for wheedling some cash. You'll be the moneybags in any romantic encounter.
Posted by JAMAICA GOOD TIME South Coast, June 16, 2006

Posted on: March 17, 2007, 04:47:25 pmfilmclub : direct link
Posted on: March 17, 2007, 04:48:51 pmCheck it out for more details at the link

Nuff Love

Sistah Vee
Posted on: March 17, 2007, 04:49:59 pmhttp://www.filmclub.com/

Bless Up!

InI agree that there is a problem with these "Rent-A-Rasta" as you put it. I come originally from Belize (formerly, British Honduras) And I see the same thing there, so I'm sure it is not something that happens only in Jamaica, but I would agree that it is very rampant in Negril. In belize it is a bit different but still the same. InI was born in a what you would call a Rastafari Commune, and I always noticed that the Rastaman who pick up white women (tourists) usually distance themselves after meeting these women. They don't mingle with "Classical Rastas" as you put it. They all of a sudden-in most cases-get a new house and new car. Some even stop representing Rastafari, but they keep the locks, as this is part of the initial attraction and/or thrill of being with him.

InI no really pay dem much mind, though, cuz in the end only Rasta stays Rasta. But While you're on the subject of prostitution, I want to ask a question. It is well known in the United States that women of color in many cases exchange sexual favors for promotions and things of that nature in the workplace. Why is it that they refuse to reveal this fact to even their closest friends?  I ask this because the men who sleep with white women usually brag about this encounter, and if they receive money, gifts, or anything of material value, all the more to brag about. Also do you see these things happen in parts of the world that you are familiar with?

Bless Up Idren

Please keep in mind these (NONE OF IT) are InI's words.  They were printed right off the internet and E-Mailed to InI.. InI simply copied the E-Mail and shared it with the Idren..  NOTHING WRITTEN in this post was written by InI.  The comments are NOT MINE nor any OPINIONS.  Just something InI wanted to share...  InI should have taken the time to make that fact absolutely clear.  Please forgive InI if the Idren got the Impresion these words were from InI.

Ras_Nevoe... May InI apologize to the I for him coming to the decision that these words were from InI..  InI will make sure to be way more careful in future.

Nuff Love

Sistah Vee
Posted on: March 17, 2007, 08:41:36 pmNow Ras_Nevoe

InI will address the question the I asked that is addressable by InI.  There are many REASON why Black women DO NOT choose to reveal the fact that they have made the choice at some point or another to prostitute themselves.  One of the main reasons is SHAME.  SHAME that they have had to STOOP to that level.  But here InI will like to caution that NOT ALL the times Black women are prostituting themselves is it a choice.  Some have no other choices as far as their reality goes.  In the post, 'Rape of our Black Children', InI gave very REAL reasons why West Indian women get into that situation.  However, other than the black women InI deal with through InI's sexual abuse Workshops and Interventions, InI cannot speak very loudly on behalf of black women in North America.  West Indian black women, the I can get much information from InI as InI's work with them is extensive.   

Black women for the most part in the poorer W.I. islands would do almost ANYTHING to keep their families Intact and feed their children.  If that means 'selling' their own bodies to accomplish that task, many proceed.  Still, it is only 'BRAGGED' about by the very young, not the mature women who  appear to always dis/pise the act of prostitution they are forced to perform in order to survive.  InI's new book deals with this issue of prostitution and black women and children in detail, a result of Investigating the crisis for seven years. 

If the I requires more details of a particular direction related to back women and children and prostitution, please feel free to ask InI.  Hope InI have answered the I's original two questions.

Nuff Love

Sistah Vee


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