Sun | May 22, 2022
BOOK REVIEW

Monty Howell – actor and storyteller of history

Published:Sunday | December 26, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Book cover of ‘Monty Howell. Milestones of life among Rastafari’.
Book cover of ‘Monty Howell. Milestones of life among Rastafari’.

In this book, Monty Howell. Milestones of life among Rastafari, Linda Ainouche, award-winning documentary director and anthropologist, conveys a unique, unrivalled, and moving insight into the life of Monty Howell, the little-known eldest son of Leonard Howell, regarded as the Father of Rastafari.

Opening several files, over the pages, the man is revealed behind the son. Being both an actor and storyteller of history, Monty Howell blends anecdotes, reflections, and revelations, avoiding no subject, even the most delicate and scorching. With confidence, he takes you through his childhood memories, his conflicts with Jamaica, and his reconciliations on behalf of his father’s legacy. With bold, mature, incisive, and provocative assertions, he even reframed the Rasta experiences and the development of Rastafari, altering the terms of the knowledge and the subsequent discourse.

In light of this fascinating exploration, Ainouche brings two contributors to this volume who take a stand on Rastafari studies. D.A. Dunkley, an author and professor on History of Rastafari at the University of Missouri, wrote in the foreword: “Compiled from some fifty hours of conversation with Monty, this book by anthropologist Linda Ainouche is both a welcomed addition to the growing body of literature in Rastafari Studies and a call to action for reparatory justice for Rastafari’s countless trials and tribulations, aided by many of the people who led Jamaica to independence from the British colonizers.”

On her side, professor, author and documentary director on Anthropology of Rastafari Deborah A. Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania wrote the epilogue and describes: “In these pages, Rastafari emerges as mode of becoming human within a racist, imperial context, a way of life and a ‘revolutionary reasoning’, as Monty puts it. It is an expression of Black knowledge and politics, a nexus of cultural autonomy and self-determination, in the face of persistent racial oppression in the post-colonial era. Rastafari provides the affective infrastructure for a reorientation of the world and one’s place in it, an infrastructure that holds love at its very centre.”

TWO THEMATIC SECTIONS

The book is arranged in two thematic sections, with three chapters in the first Genealogy of Intimacies section, the second one Values and Rastafari contains four chapters.

Altogether, Monty Howell. Milestones of life among Rastafari provides a rich and empirically detailed account of 82-year-old Monty Howell. Through the questions and answers between Howell and Ainouche, the reader is engaged as he discovers what the Howell son endured and how he was able to both grow up in the self-sufficient Pinnacle Rasta community created by his father (1940-1958) and how he subsequently builds a successful life and is now more committed than ever to upholding his father’s legacy.

Last but not least, this book is the first extensive recorded and documented source about Monty Howell, a valuable witness of the early years of a movement that has spread around the world and to which many people continue to belong.

This ultimate production by Linda Ainouche on Monty Howell offers a significant contribution to Jamaican history and Rastafari studies – one that, indeed, reflects another singularity within the island that deserves to be known to its true value, both ethically and politically.

Title: Monty Howell. Milestones of life among Rastafari

E-Book ISBN: 9789004503106

Publisher: Brill

E-book: https://brill.com/view/book/9789004503106/front-1.xml?body=pdf-43180