Biography

Kingsley Ragashanti Stewart, Ph.D.

Dr. Kingsley Ragashanti Stewart hails from Kingston, Jamaica where he was raised by his loving mother in some of the toughest communities that include, Southside, August Town and Water House. In his young years he made numerous choices that had him running afoul of the law and resulted in him being placed in several government-run Children Places of Safety and several jails. He was placed in the Musgrave Boys Home and Olivier Boys Home, and was incarcerated in the Stony Hill, Constant Spring and Half Way Tree jails.

After leaving Half Way Tree Jail, Dr. Stewart decided he had to choose to make changes in his life that would remove him from the self-destructive path he traveled. It was then he realized the necessity to no longer work from an “outside-in” paradigm and changed to one that was “inside-out”. He took control of his circumstances. Ragashanti enrolled in the Jamaica National School of Drama and obtained skills and certification in theater arts. While there he applied to the then newly formed Jamaica Organization for Youth and Student Tourist (JOYST) and was accepted to work on a summer camp in the United States. Through the Y.M.C.A.’s International Camp Counselor Program (ICCP), Ragashanti worked for a summers at  CampJewell in Colebrook, Connecticut. His stand-out work at Camp Jewell resulted in him being invited to work there for several summers. While at Camp Jewell he sought and successfully gained admission to Northwestern Connecticut Community College, in Winsted, Connecticut.

From community college Dr. Stewart advanced to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where completed his undergraduate education and obtained a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and African studies. He then furthered his studies at the University of Connecticut (UConn) where obtained his master’s in counseling and psychotherapy, and his Ph.D. in anthropology.

During his 8 years of study at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Stewart launched a career in media, hosting a show on the campus’ radio station WHUS 91.7. During this stint that he created his brand, “Ragashanti”: ‘Raga’ taken from a past Jamaican term, ‘ragamuffin’, that identified those surviving in the streets; and ‘shanti’ to represent the African heritage of his identity, taken from the West African ethnic group from which he (and most Jamaicans) descended, the Ashanti of the Akan.

After obtaining his doctorate in anthropology from UConn, Dr. Stewart immediately returned to Jamaica and initiated a career as an anthropologist and lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work at the University of the West Indies (UWI). At the University of the West Indies, Dr. Stewart designed and lectured the class Identity and Conduct in the Dancehall Culture, which became a very popular choice for students.

Along with his responsibilities at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Stewart continued his career in media and entertainment in Jamaica. He was a host of the popular Television Jamaica (TVJ) program, Mantalk. He was also the host for several shows on Jamaican radio stations, including Disclosure on HOT 102 FM, Upfront on Newstalk 93 FM and the phenomenally popular Ragashanti Live on Newstalk 93 FM and Nationwide 90 FM.

For more than 18 years up to present, Ragashanti has produced hundreds of entertainment shows, including comedy shows and parties that include the outrageous and phenomenally  popular Mix Up and Blenda series and the Ragabash party series. Ragashanti staged his events in Jamaica, the United States, Canada, London and Italy.

In 2010 Ragashanti left Nationwide Radio to found his online radio station, Tambourine Radio. Through Tambourine Radio, Ragashanti leveraged technological advances to deliver Ragashanti Live and the other Tambourine Radio shows to a wider international audience.

Through the Ragashanti World Tour and through Ragashanti Live, Dr. Stewart has traveled extensively conducting anthropological projects and broadcasting his shows. Over the years he has completed work and broadcasts in locations that include Athens-Greece, Milan and Bologna in Italy, Barcelona-Spain, Paris-France, Amsterdam in Holland, London and Birmingham in England, Los Angeles-California, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Guangzhou-China, Tokyo, Kawasaki and Kyoto in Japan, Accra-Ghana, and Adis Ababa and Shashemene in Ethiopia.

Dr. Stewart is an expert authority on Jamaican culture and is active on the speaker’s circuit. He delivers speeches in his usual inimitable style that provides his unique insights on issues, appropriately infused with his characteristic humor. His speeches are on a variety of topics that include Jamaican folk culture, Jamaican masculinity, Jamaican sexuality, Jamaican Dancehall culture, traditional Jamaican dance, Caribbean culture, worldview and personal success, and managing depression.

Dr. Stewart is married, has three children, and lives with his family in the USA.