Biography: Kingsley ‘Ragashanti’ Stewart
Dr. Kingsley “Ragashanti” Stewart, “Mr. Mix Up an Blenda”, is the host of Jamaica’s most popular radio talk-show Ragashanti Live! He is also a renowned entertainer, a comedian and a highly sought-after master of ceremonies (MC).
In his talk-show, Ragashanti unapologetically explores the Jamaican concept of mix up and blenda: the entertaining presentation of humorous events from the lives of people. His mix up an blenda style – along with his signature shaking and beating the tambourine – engages his callers on a range of “outa road” topics that amusingly reveal a great deal of insight about the thoughts and behavior of Jamaicans. Ragashanti Live! is known for non-stop laughter.
Ragashanti has also successfully parlayed his mix up an blenda style into a highly successful comedy show called…well…Mix Up an Blenda!. The Mix Up an Blenda show has grown tremendously with it’s trademark interactivity with the audience and its outrageous humour that’s guaranteed to bring lots of laughter. It is in this show that Ragashanti “talk di tings” as a comedian, with his in-your-face, fun-filled interpretations of different events in our lives.
Ragashanti is also a successful MC, with a flexible style that ranges from being conservative when necessary to his trademark outrageous mix up an blenda approach. He has been the MC for many shows including STING: the greatest one day reggae show, Follow the Arrow, Spring Break: New York and Miami link up, and the World Sound Systems Clash.
Ragashanti is quite known in Jamaica for his remarkable coming of age life story from living in the streets of Kingston, running afoul with the law on multiple occasions, placed in several boys’ homes, incarcerated in several jails, to obtaining his doctorate in anthropology and being a lecturer at universities. He grew up in rough, urban, working-class areas of Kingston, including Water House, Olympic Way, Jacques Road, Waltham Park Road, August Town and Southside. After his many run-ins with the law, subsequent incarcerations in jails and the experience of a very meaningful event, he decided to turn his life around.
Dr. Stewart’s dramatic transformation was made possible through what he refers to as a “worldview shift:” a deliberate process of identifying, changing and consciously managing the learned cultural principles that guide his thoughts, feelings and behaviors. His shift in worldview allowed him to slowly eliminate his justifications for self-destructive behavior and to consciously adopt, use and maintain new principles that empowered him to live successfully.
Ragashanti believes that a large part of his difficult but successful worldview shift was due to his ability to access a very valuable and critical psycho-cultural base given to him by his mother. A major part of this base has to do with his mother’s teachings on the multiple benefits of a spiritual foundation, solid education and to “never be ashamed of country people culture.” It was therefore no surprise that a very critical part of his transformation involved high educational achievement with the equally unsurprising eventuality of him becoming an anthropologist: a social scientist who studies culture and identity. Neither is it surprising that Ragashanti constantly refers to himself not only as Mr. Mix Up an Blenda, but also as Miss Cherry Washbelly: a Jamaican reference to him being the last child for his mother.
In May 1993, Ragashanti graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, with a double major B.A. in African Studies and Psychology. In May 1995, he completed his M.A. in Counseling and Psychotherapy from the University of Connecticut (UConn). He continued his studies at UConn and successfully completed his doctorate (Ph.D.) in Anthropology. He is a lecturer and researcher at the University of the West Indies in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work and was a guest lecturer in Anthropology at his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, during the Fall semester of 2004.
Ragashanti is a sociocultural anthropologist, a motivational speaker, a talk show host, a comedian, and an expert on Jamaican and Caribbean culture. He’s also an expert and a consultant on multiple areas associated with Jamaica’s popular music Dancehall culture.
Ragashanti firmly lives by the mantra: laugh everyday…everyday!!