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Voodoo, Beyonce, Racism, and Resistance

Voodoo, Beyonce, Racism, and Resistance February 11, 2016

African-American Ritual Cookbook in some bad company. All rights reserved.
African-American Ritual Cookbook in some bad company. All rights reserved.

As you can guess the life of a Voodoo woman isn’t easy. I get called a lot of things, and prejudices run deep. Maybe it’s because it is a religion born in secret, or maybe because it is one clung to by marginalized and enslaved people in his historical origins, but the Voodoo religion is probably the most demonized and misunderstood of all religions.

In many ways it is hard to believe these things still happen today but they do. Last week I had an issue with one of my books, The African-American Ritual Cookbook,  when I tried to promote it on a social media site. The site rejected my post saying it was racist. Yes, you read that correctly. The site said that myself, an African-American woman, who wrote an African-American Cookbook, could not try to sell it to African-American audiences who might be searching for an African-American cookbook. The site told me this was racial profiling. Yes, you read that correctly. Then things got even more interesting. I decided to look and see where they were placing my cookbook in their search results. I found this photo of my book next to a picture of a lynching, and an Aunt Jemima type character. They also took my money to do this, and even after they rejected me, I was still charged for the promoting that resulted from the original listing. This is so many kinds of wrong I can’t even begin to describe it. Being proud of my heritage, and wanting to represent that to people who are also proud of theirs, should be applauded not sanctioned. Why am I not next to pictures of George Washington Carver, Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman ? I think at the core of the issue is mainstream America’s desire to erase color on many fronts. Unfortunately African-Americans bear the brunt of this problem. I don’t think that an Indian cookbook or a Chinese one would have suffered in such a way. Censorship should be a thing of the past.

Beyonce photo by sashimomura. Licensed under CC 2.0
Beyonce photo by sashimomura. Licensed under CC 2.0

The same criticisms hold true for all the recent nonsense surrounding Beyonce’s performance during the Superbowl halftime show. For those who are unaware people are up in arms about pop star Beyonce’s choice of dancers. They are saying that White America was not represented. When I first heard this it had me laughing, now that I realize people are serious, it has me shaking my head. I was fortunate enough to watch the game in a diverse audience in New Orleans, where people of most racial backgrounds were represented. People cheered, or criticized, her dance moves, one guy just kept saying “Is that Beyonce? Tell her to come to my house.” He was drunk, I was in a bar. No one mentioned the racial makeup of the show. Part of the outrage is fueled by her recent “Formation” video where Beyonce is criticizing the governmental lack  of response to Hurricane Katrina and  Police Brutality. Protests are even planned for this week in NYC. She has been called “unapologetically black.” Racism rears it’s ugly head, here, there and everywhere.  Yet, I stand beside her and the rest of my sisters as an unapologetically black Voodoo woman who fights, hopes, and prays for a better tomorrow.

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