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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"With God Everything, Without God Nothing" —Jamaica Plain's Botanicas Serve Spiritual Needs of a Diverse Clientele

March 31, 2011

Jamaica Plain is home to a trio of botanicas. If you have ever walked past the on Centre Street, the on Washington Street, or South Street's Botanica San Miguel, you may have stared in awe at these beautiful storefronts decorated with colorful statues, candles, and other items

"Botanica" can literally be translated as "botany," "botanist," or "botanical" but these unembellished meanings scarcely describe the scope of goods and services available at these stores. Herbs are indeed for...

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'We Are Being Targeted': Voodoo Believers Fear A Backlash After Crimes Against Children

February 12, 2018

Two separate crimes against children in recent days have one haunting similarity: authorities have pointed to Voodoo rituals as a possible motive.

But practitioners of Haitian Vodou, which adherents spell differently to distinguish it from other variants, say the religion does not sanction violence and fear the crimes will spark a backlash against their community.

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