Afro-Caribbean

'Endurance to thrive': Yelaine Rodriguez uses costume to defy stereotypes of Afro Latinx and Caribbean religions

August 26, 2021

Yelaine Rodriguez is used to people making assumptions about her identity and what she does.

A first-generation Afro Dominican American born and raised in the Bronx, the now-30-year-old artist remembers the backhanded compliments she would receive as a teen and young adult -- comments like, "Oh, you don't seem like you're from the Bronx," weren't uncommon.

Even after Rodriguez started teaching at her alma mater, Parsons School of Design, some parents of her students seemed surprised by her background: "Your parents must be so proud of you," she can recall being told...

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Nieves Sues Prison Guards For Grabbing His Santeria Beads, Citing Justice Sotomayor

July 9, 2021

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 9 – Julio Nieves was in prison at Green Haven Correctional Facility when he was searched, and his Santeria beads were demanded.

He offered to place them on his shrine was but beaten and put in a the Special Housing Unit. He sued.  

On July 9, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.   

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Student focuses research on Obeah, a religion used by Jamaican slaves

May 4, 2021

Cuba has Santeria.

Brazil has Candomblé.

Jamaica still practices Obeah.

All are African religions brought by the more than 4 million people stolen from their homes to be slaves in the Caribbean during the 15th and 16th centuries.

University of Miami senior Kay-Ann Henry, who was born in Jamaica, decided to explore the ways that those enslaved people used the Obeah practices to try to liberate themselves.

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‘Motown Witch’ brings ancestral wisdom to Detroit’s west side with metaphysical supply

March 18, 2021

You can judge a good “hoodoo” store by the smell. 

If you walk in and smell incense, herbs, and candles, you’re in the right place. This is especially true at Motown Witch, a metaphysical supply store that recently opened in a beautiful open space at 16844 Schaefer Hwy. on Detroit’s west side. 

Painted a bright yellow, the store is spacious with a large display of herbs like jasmine, lavender, and hibiscus in glass jars behind the counter that immediately beckon to customers. Scents like Wild Berry incense permeate the air and seduce the senses.

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Blessings of Imbolc and Lughnasadh

February 3, 2021

 

The turning of the wheel has brought those of us in the northern hemisphere to the celebration of Imbolc, and in the southern hemisphere, Lughnasadh or Lammas.

This wintry season in the northern hemisphere is celebrated by different traditions under a variety of names – the twelve-day observance of Entschtanning (the emergence), the Shinto Festival of Setsubun (February 3), the feast day of Saint Brigid of Ireland (February 1), and of course...

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African spirituality offers Black believers ‘decolonized’ Christianity

January 6, 2021

It’s 11:11 on a recent Sunday morning and The Proverbial Experience is just getting underway. “Greetings my loves!” proclaims the Rev. Lyvonne Proverbs Briggs, the founder of this weekly spiritual gathering on Instagram. “Anybody got a hallelujah in your spirit?”

As the congregation comes online, Briggs, from her home in New Orleans, greets each person by name as prerecorded gospel music plays. She frames herself in front of a makeshift altar with an assortment of...

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Magic, Witchcraft and Curanderismo: Let's talk about cultural appropriation

September 18, 2020

For some years now, cultural appropriation has been installed in our modern society to judge the practices of some individuals who extract elements of a culture or tradition that doesn't belong to them and use it for their own benefit. Sometimes the accusation is confusing, especially considering that no culture is pure — not even our DNA is pure — and especially in a global world. 

However, appropriation can also be seen as an act of violence, especially when its legitimate bearers are made invisible or muzzled and the privilege, which takes...

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Black Girl Magic: How Tarot Is Helping Women of Color Connect

August 7, 2020

Once taboo, tarot reading is considered spooky, and even wicked by some. But the form of divination that uses cards dates back to the 15th century—and has become the latest spiritual trend. Decks are sold at almost any store, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram and Facebook pages are dedicated to the art of divination. But some practitioners in the United States have been using the cards for decades as a tool in their spiritual practices as they turn away from Western religions for traditional African-centered and Indigenous spiritualities.

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How some Black Americans are finding solace in African spirituality

July 31, 2020

Porsche Little, a Brooklyn-based artist, diviner, and aborisha — or someone who serves the Orisha, a group of spirits central to the Yoruba and other African Diaspora religions — says that she has received a huge increase in requests for divinations and readings throughout the pandemic. 

“There’s so much happening right now in the world to everyone, and I know for certain that all of this is happening for a reason,” she says. “A lot of people are stuck in the house and can’t really...

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