Hat Tricks: The Fez and the Turban in Africana Religions

We aren’t sure whether it was Shakespeare or Mark Twain who coined the phrase “the clothes make the man” but it is true that clothing makes an obvious declaration of one’s status in Africana religions. I see the relationship between head covering and spirituality as demonstrative of how people articulate inner commitments, using outward forms.Continue reading “Hat Tricks: The Fez and the Turban in Africana Religions”

Black Gods of the Cosmopolis!

This is the third in a series of posts on Africana religions and the comics. Some remarkable images made their way around the astral digital space this week. Aficionados of black religion will immediately recognize these extraordinary renderings of the popular divinities in Brazil that are known as orixas. Worshipped throughout the Americas but especially beloved in Bahia,Continue reading “Black Gods of the Cosmopolis!”

More than Skin Deep? Haitian Vodou, Corporate Social Activism and the Commodification of Healing

“In partnership with Direct Relief, The Vaseline® Healing Project is an aid effort to provide dermatological care, Vaseline® Jelly & medical supplies needed to help heal the skin of people affected by poverty or emergencies around the world.” As I am very interested in the representation of black spirituality in popular media these days, this isContinue reading “More than Skin Deep? Haitian Vodou, Corporate Social Activism and the Commodification of Healing”

Voodoo Brothers: Africana Religions and the Comics, pt. 2

As some of you know, my current project is a book-length study of Africana religions and comics, where I consider how graphic formats are utilized for representing the spiritual traditions of black people. I keep getting sidetracked, though, because the sources are so diverse, and there are a million different stories that need to be told. SoContinue reading “Voodoo Brothers: Africana Religions and the Comics, pt. 2”

Halloween Special! Black Horror Movie …Religion Not Voodoo

I want to note the continuing relevance of Voodoo as a trope in entertainment cultures by highlighting the historical significance of Voodoo horror films. But I already covered this topic somewhat in an earlier period with reference to jungle Voodoo, and anyway, I find this sort of material to be kind of dumb and uninteresting. ToContinue reading “Halloween Special! Black Horror Movie …Religion Not Voodoo”

She-roes and She-gods? Africana Religions and the Comics, pt. one

Are you a comics fan? My latest project deals with religion in comic books and graphic novels from the Golden Age to the present, where I look for characters who possess what might be seen as god-like powers, supernatural abilities, and fantastic technologies. Perhaps we might think of them as modern-day deities. Being obsessed with religion I wonder if there isContinue reading “She-roes and She-gods? Africana Religions and the Comics, pt. one”

Apotheosis of Marie Laveau, Hoodoo-Voodoo-Vodou Icon

I knew that it was time to write this post after everyone in the class I was teaching had seen the third season of the FX series American Horror Story, starring Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau, except me. Most of the students had never heard of Mme Marie before, mind you, so it was a perfectContinue reading “Apotheosis of Marie Laveau, Hoodoo-Voodoo-Vodou Icon”

Beautiful women with Cigars

As you might guess, this post is about pictures. But it might not be what you expect. I wasn’t exactly sure what I could say about this remarkable collection, compliments of the photographers at Flickr, that would speak any more eloquently than they do by themselves. But I am going to try. I want toContinue reading “Beautiful women with Cigars”

Household God

Have you heard of the orisha Elegba? Chances are you know someone who has, for he is one of the most popular avatars in the African diaspora today. Perhaps you have glimpsed him while walking through a doorway, by the threshold, or near a corner. Or you might have seen him in action, directing the illuminatingContinue reading “Household God”

Voodoo Tropes: Bizarre Hollywood Religion

Call me hopelessly naive, but wouldn’t you jump to see a blockbuster film starring Bela Legosi and John Carradine called VOODOO MAN? I mean, how bad could it be? Maybe we might learn something about Africana religions. Or maybe we can see what this Voodoo thing is that’s so fascinating. What could go wrong? Well, plenty, and ifContinue reading “Voodoo Tropes: Bizarre Hollywood Religion”

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