FAQ - Jah- Why Don't We Use the Name Anymore?   

Frequently Asked Questions

Jah- Why Don't We Use the Name Anymore?


I was listening to Christafari’s "GRAVITY," album and noticed that you are not using the name "Jah" anymore, I was wondering if this was intentional?


Yes the absence of the name "Jah" was deliberate on our Gravity album. In fact, I intentionally changed some of the songs that were initially written for this project and omited "Jah" from them before including them on this lp. So unlike all of our past recordings, you won’t find the name Jah in any of the songs on this CD. Instead, I decided to use other Biblical names for God.

This was by no means an overnight inspiration. Part of the initial appeal in making this decision was my desire to think outside the box and challenge myself to not write songs the same old way. And anyone who has heard our "Gravity" album will know that the sound and approach is very different from our past recordings. In addition to reaching rastas, we have broadened our sites on this album and focused on also reaching universalists. In doing this, our rasta jargon was not as applicable. Furthermore, since the name Jah is only found by itself in one verse and one version of the Bible, I wanted to focus my ministry approach on the numerous other names for God that are found far more frequently and would make our message even more clear to the listener.

However, the primary reason why I am not using the name Jah in our recent recordings is because of the example that we are setting for other artists. Ever since I started Christafari I have always had a pioneering spirit. And two things are usually true about most pioneers; 1). They usually face a tremendous amount of resistance and persecution from the conservative, and 2). If the trail that they have blazed is a valid route, some (if not many) will follow in their footsteps. Both of these have become true with Christafari. And while it is flattering to learn about hundreds of bands following our path in gospel reggae, one aspect of this emulation has given me great concern over the last few years--the use of the name Jah.

You see, we have always used Jah as a culturally sensitive way to reach rastas, (and still will individually), yet so many young gospel reggae artists are using our same ministry approach in trying to reach a completely different audience--the Christian church.

I get really frustrated when I hear a gospel reggae artist that sings a song that is full of the name Jah, yet never truly clarify whom the true Jah is. Besides the spirit of the artist (which rarely translates through my speakers), the only difference between one of these gospel songs and a song by the likes of Luciano or Morgan Heritage (devout rastas) is the poor quality. So if any Christian artists are there reading this, please step up the quality and clarify who "Jah" is or do not use the name at all. For if someone hears a roots reggae vibe by a presently unknown artist that sings out the name "Jah" without further clarification, given the Rastafarian stigma attached to reggae, they are liable to assume that it is a song for Ras Tafari. Even worse, this song could be misinterpreted and redirected for the worship of a false god by a listener unaware.

As for me, I have presently chosen not to use the name in our future recordings, and will only use it when personally witnessing to a rasta. For when I started Christafari and Lion of Zion ent., my primary goal was to see the rasta church become Christian, yet one of the regrettable fruits of my labor, (due to uneducated imitation by other artists) is the Christian church becoming more rasta. This was never my intention. It was not my desire to have a Christian congregation in Trinidad shouting out the name "JAH!" in their church services.

So singers, please consider your audience, and if you are going to use this name, I urge you to make it clear who you are talking about. Enlighten the people and expound on the name. Spell it out. If you make it clear in your lyrics then there will be no window for misenterpretation. A great example of this is Tiko and Gitta's "Jah" in which they sing: "Jesus me talk ‘bout when Jah name me mention."
Humbly Yours,
Mark Mohr

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