Leveraging African Spirituality and Popular Culture betwixt Africa and the African Diaspora
Ama McKinley’s article, ‘Beyoncé Serves African Spirituality in “Lemonade”’ in The Huffington Post (2016), depicts Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as ‘an artist of the Earth, using her stage and global influence to teach about the human condition, using symbology and language that is sacred and pronounced beyond a few approved circles’. This view partly epitomizes the resilience of African spirituality in the diaspora, where Beyoncé in ‘Lemonade’ invokes so much of the Yoruba tradition, grounded in African tradition, by offering a musical and visual journey through the African diaspora. African spiritualities touch on and imbue every facet of life and thus cannot be separated from quotidian, mundane thought. This article explores African spirituality as mostly concerned with the pursuit of cosmic balance and human flourishing through a matrix of worldviews, belief systems and ritual praxis. We employ Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s music albums Lemonade and Black is King; and Ryan Coogler’s movie Black Panther to explore the intersectionality of African spirituality and popular culture in the African diaspora. We demonstrate how and to what extent the religious, moral, sociocultural and popular imaginaries linked to indigenous African worldviews and the African diaspora are continually contested and negotiated.
Author: Afe Adogame, Ruth Vida Amwe
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