Helene Lee


After a decade of travels, Helene Lee joined french daily Liberation as a reggae and world music specialist.

She published 'Rockers d'Afrique' (Albin Michel, 1987)

'The First Rasta' (Laurence Hill Books, 2001)

'Voir Trench Town et mourir' (Flammarion 2003) and  several translations

She authored 'Jimmy Cliff, Moving on' for Arte

Directed 'Bons Baisers de Barbès' (France 3)

'Une voix sur le Maroni' and several 26’ for Arte. 


'The First Rasta', now being developed by Kidam, is a documentary on L. P. Howell, the founder of the Rasta Movement.


The First Rasta

90 min. | 27/04/2011 | HD | COMPLETED

Who is the First Rasta? Who started the movement Bob Marley made famous? Born in Jamaica in 1898, Leonard Percival Howell was a seaman, traveling the world between 1915 and 1930. Fighting wars, carrying refugees across the oceans, he was exposed to the various dreams and ideologies of his time.

He learnt pacifism from the trenches of World War I, Marxism from Russian sailors; he toiled among anarchists, disciples of Gandhi and Comintern agents, and sucked up in Harlem the flamboyant spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

Back to Jamaica, he went on in 1939 to found the community of Pinnacle, the first rasta commune ever. This is where the rasta philosophy and way of life came into being. A striking culture, born out of hardship and persecution, it would in time spread to the four corners of the world on the wing of reggae...

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