Chef Ra, 1950-2006

Local reggae promoter, pro-marijuana activist, radio deejay, taxi driver, and colorful man-about-town James Wilson, Jr., better known as Chef Ra, passed away on Tuesday, December 26, at age 56. Among the numerous non-mainstream pursuits of his lifetime, Ra starred in a pair of home videos produced by High Times magazine called GANJA GOURMET and CHEF RA ESCAPES BABYLON. While the former is readily available on VHS and DVD, the latter – featuring Ra’s visit to Jamaica – is apparently long out-of-print, although the Freaky Film Festival did provide Champaign-Urbana a rare public screening of BABYLON in 1998. This counter-culture icon will be missed!

– Jason Pankoke

Click to Read: Article on Chef Ra’s passing in The News-Gazette

Click to Read: Salute to Chef Ra by High Times writer Steve Hagen

Click to Read: My own reflections on Chef Ra at The Land of JaPan

Click to Read: All about WEFT-FM, home to Chef Ra’s reggae show

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