A "Rasta" is a follower of the Rastafari religion, a Jamaican-based religion derived from Christianity, which accepts the past Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie I as the Messiah. Rastas see Ethiopia as the promised land and hold many Old Testament beliefs.
The Rastafari religion was started by Marcus Garvey in 1927 with a prophecy that a black king in Africa would signify the liberation of the black race. Haile Selassie I fulfilled this prophecy. Contemporary Rastas still look towards Ethiopia as a holy place. Other Rastafari religious practices include not cutting hair, avoiding pork and shellfish and using marijuana to attain spiritual purity.