Henry was born in St. Mary, where he was raised in a Rastafari community. As a teenager he moved to Kingston's Waterhouse district where he played with local Rastafari musicians. He set up the Zion Disc label in the mid-1960s, and also worked at Coxsone Dodd's legendary Studio One as a session musician and released a number of singles. He was the first member of the Rastafari movement to have a reggae radio program in Jamaica (The Lion of Judah Time program first aired in 1967 on the JBC). His band is called The Sons of Negus and are known for their traditional Nyabinghi drumming and chanting. From 1974 they regularly released albums, combining electric instruments with traditional hand drumming. Ras Michael contributed to recording sessions at Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark studio (including sessions with Bob Marley), and he performed with Marley at the One Love Peace Concert in Jamaica in 1978. With the Sons of Negus he recorded an album (Love Thy Neighbor) with Perry at the Black Ark. He recorded 'Give Love' with Suns of Arqa in 1984 for their album India?. In all, he has recorded over 25 albums.
In addition to acting as an evangelist, ambassador and diplomat for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahido Church internationally, Ras Michael is one of the founders and president of the Rastafarian International/Marcus Garvey Culture Center in Los Angeles, and the Fly Away Culture Center in Kingston, Jamaica. Currently he lives in California.
In August 2015 it was announced that he would be awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in recognition of his contribution to the development of the country's music.