The 89th Anniversary of the
89th Grand Coronation Celebration at the Ethiopian Embassy, Washington, D.C
On November 2, 2019, IDOR hosted a celebration at the Ethiopian Embassy honoring the 89th Grand Coronation of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen Asfaw. History was not only celebrated on this day, but it was made. This momentous occasion was a first of hopefully many to come in which the Rastafarian community gathered in the Ethiopian Embassy which represented their "home away from home" in order to pay respects to and remembrance for Ras Tafari.
A Pictorial Review of the Celebration
Report on 89th Coronation Anniversary
There was a Natural Mystic in the Air, as regional members of Ras Tafari communities, local Pan African organizations, the President and members of the Ethiopian Crown Council, Ethiopians, and members of multiple national, ethnic and religious persuasions converged at the Ethiopian embassy. The occasion was the 89 th anniversary of the Grand Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw.

The event was historic and memorable! It was the first time that a Ras Tafari organization was granted access to use the Ethiopian embassy for an occasion And oh what an occasion it was! 

Previously, on July 23, 2019, IDOR collaborated with Tefera Hailu of NFSP & CALDAN Communications to celebrate African Heritage, Pan African Leaders Day, and the 127th birthday anniversary of Lij Tafari Makonnen at the embassy of Ethiopia. That event was also a “first” in the annals of the embassy and an increment in the growth trajectory of regional Ras Tafari organizations. For that event, IDOR provided logistical support, mobilized Ras Tafari attendees, and was invited as a guest speaker. 
The November 2, 2019, event was all initiated, organized, managed and delivered by the Iniversal Development of Ras Tafari, Inc., (IDOR). The event garnered support from multiple organizations, and the attention of local and international media, including Jamaica’s BESS and IRIE FM radio stations. Sister Kabu Ma’at Kheru along with her IRIE FM Running African production team attended and covered the event. Ras Jomo of Power 965 Radio, Buffalo was in attendance and also participated on IRIE FM’s Running African program hosted at IDOR’s Administrative Office, the day after the embassy event.

The embassy was gorgeously decorated by Sister Fayola Whyte-Manco, and was transformed, as best as appropriate, into the St. Georges Cathedral, Addis Ababa. The optics were beautiful. The delivery from the speakers, commentary on the original 1930 Coronation footage, and Nyabinghi chants were ‘spot on.’ Guests were riveted by every detail of the program and offered many compliments on the structure and management of the program. Also, the ambience and cosmic space-Ethiopia synced the energies of all attendees into ONE humanity. It foretold the dawning of the Members of a New Race.

IDOR was honored with a Congratulatory Proclamation from the Mayor of Washington D.C., the Honorable Muriel Bowser, and a Citation of Honor and Recognition from Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell and President Darrell L. Clarke of Philadelphia’s City Council. The organization also issued its Haile Selassie I Leadership and Community Services Award to several members of the Ras Tafari, Pan African and Caribbean communities. Awardees included Ras Nyah and Ras Melku for their selfless contributions to regional Ras Tafari initiatives, especially services administered to the ailing Baba Ras Marcus Reid, a Founding Member of the organization. Ms. Erica Blake-Dennis was honored for her countless ‘behind the scenes’ initiatives in opening access to Baltimore City resources to IDOR. Empress Fetlework Daley and Sister Fayola Whyte-Manco were both awarded for their work and sacrifices specific to the 89th Coronation celebration.

Among IDOR’s most honored guest was Elder Ras Irice. Over the past 2 years, Father Irice, a Founding Member and first President of IDOR has been afflicted with multiple health challenges that prevented him from participating in community events. However, with the aid of Dr. Ras Peter Bryan, Ras Michael Mills and Ras Nicolas Pelicanos, Father Irice was able to attend and participate in the Grand Coronation event. He was overjoyed and expressed his gratitude as he received IDOR’s Haile Selassie I Leadership Award.

In the words of 87-year-old Pan Africanist giant, Dr. Acklyn Lynch who attended and stayed the duration of the program, “IDOR delivered a performance at the highest level. It was what our community needed at this time…a reminder that in the midst of the noise and turmoil of our times, Ethiopia, the origin of our humanity, can bring nations, groups, and people of diverse persuasions together in peace, love, and harmony for a celebration of the epitome of goodness.” To that InI simply say ALL Praise to Ras Tafari.

IDOR is most thankful to Ambassador Fitsum Arega and his very professional staff for their kind indulgence. God and history will judge their actions on this issue as righteous all together.

It also is prudent to mention the individuals and organizations who provided material support enabling the success of our event. Special thanks to Fetlework Daley, IDOR’s Ethiopian Liaison. Empress Fetlework worked tirelessly to engage the Ethiopian Embassy, harnessed support from the Ethiopian community, and provided planning, logistical and organizational support. She, along with her Kingman, Kingsley ‘Natral’ Daley also ensured that the embassy was restored to its administrative order after the end of our program. Brother Tefera Hailu gave us encouraging words and the initial contact details for the Embassy of Ethiopia staff. Sister Barbara A. Simmons, Esq. engaged multiple members of the Pan African Communities to attend and support the event. Dr. Goulda Downer engaged members of the Caribbean PAC and African American communities. Ras Shamou Pusey and his Phallu Ras Sound, along with brother Yibekal Chaka provided sound and music at the event. Brother Jake Homiak mobilized and invited former member of the Haile Selassie I Military Academy. Sister Fayola Whyte-Manco and her company, “Creative Motions by Fay” sponsored and provided decorations and technical services for the event. Sister Gehnet and her crew of volunteers from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Mona Baguira, Taaj Clark, and Najah McDonald rounded out our teams of support individuals. IDOR is grateful to all!!!

The event was also blessed by sponsorship from various businesses. Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Donovan Murphy and their Island Quizine staff for providing and serving Caribbean inspired vegan dishes. Thanks to Habesha Market, Dukem, Dema and Tsiona Ethiopian restaurants for providing Ethiopian vegan meals, and thanks to Sister Pauline and Brother Johnny of Spicy Delight for providing an array of ‘finger-foods’ and refreshments.

The people, the space, the decorations, the presentations, the music, the food, and of course Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Mene Asfaw made the event memorable, glorious and majestic!!!

Plans are already being discussed for the 90th anniversary celebrations scheduled for November 1-2, 2020. Suffice to say, they will be as marvelous and meaningful as the 89th anniversary events.
Goodness is rising, Ras Tafari is WINNING!!!

(Ras Wayne A. Rose)
Pre-Coronation Event at American University
The Ethiopian Coronation of November 2, 1930 presented African Royalty on a global stage. The world witnessed an event entrenched in Ancient Kushite traditions that ushered Ethiopia into the 20 th Century.

The Iniversal Development of Rastafari (IDOR) celebrated the 89 th year since this glorious occasion with a Pre-Coronation event done in partnership with American University in Washington, DC on October 30. This event was hosted by Dr. Sybil Roberts, and offered monumental perspectives on The Grand Coronation and on the global impact of Ras Tafari.

The Panelist, Dr. Deena-Marie Beresford, Empress Fetlework Daley, Dr. Jakes Homiak, Dr. Ras Wayne Rose, and Dr. Robbie Shilliam all connected their presentations to the 1930 Grand Coronation. 

University students and community members in attendance listened keenly as Dr. Rose explored the existence of a “Soft Power” (the use of culture, morality and non-coercive measures to shape public preferences) within Rastafari that was conceived with the placement of Qidamawe Haile Selassie I and Menen Asfaw on the Davidic Throne. According to Dr. Rose, this “Soft Power” initiated the Vegan culture that now abounds universally, the wearing of dreadlocks by non-Rastafari adherents, and the legalization and casual use of the holy sacrament-marijuana, among other social good. He showed how Rastafari Livity has influenced these Popular Culture practices vicariously. 

Dr. Beresford shared her perspectives on the implications of Empress Menen’s crowning and its role in solidifying the Rastafari woman’s positioning within the Livity. She highlighted Empress Menen in a Divine nature and urged Rastafari women to echo her example.

Both Dr. Homiak and Empress Fetlework shared experiences that inspired and shaped their paths within the Livity. Dr. Homiak recalled his introduction to Reggae great, Robert Nesta Marley by Rastafari Ancient, Sam Brown and further acknowledged his own growth and acceptance of the Rastafari Livity over the past 30 years. Dr. Homiak is the former Director of The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and the Curator of the renowned exhibition: Discovering Rastafari.

Empress Fetlework held a unique position in that she hails from Ethiopia, is married into a Ras Tafari family via ‘Natral’ Daley and is both Orthodox Christian and a daughter of Ras Tafari. She shared a heart-warming testament of her early years living in the Harar Province with her Grandmother and how those experiences connected her to Rastafari and Jamaica. She is a long-standing member of the DMV (Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia) Rastafari community and has facilitated several Reggae/Rastafari events which have linked Ethiopia to the USA.  

Dr. Shilliam closed the event with a mighty presentation on Fascism. He highlighted the goal of Benito Mussolini to colonize Ethiopia and to place his own Emperor on the Throne. He used juxtaposition to show how Qidamawe Haile Selassie I’s wise mind and Diplomacy secured the victory for Ethiopia in the absence of support from The League of Nations and further foretold of the impending War on Europe. Using current and past literature on Fascism, Dr. Shilliam made the distinction between Emperor Haile Selassie I’s 1936 condemnation of Fascism, and the 1939 condemnation offered by the leading European nations. He noted that in 1935/6 those European nations supported Fascism as it was unleashed against Ethiopia, but later condemned it, after it was unleashed against them. In other words, Europe’s condemnation of Fascism was not based on their intrinsic morality, but rather on their narrow self-interest. Dr. Shilliam further noted that this narrow self-interest is currently at play in the rise of Fascism across Europe and the Americas.

(Dr. Deena-Marie Beresford)
Learn About Ras Tafari Liviti & The Positive Influence of Ras Tafari on Urban Culture