Originally published in June 2021
The recent withdrawal of Naomi Osaka from the summer tennis circuit sent a shock wave throughout the world, yet no one felt it as profoundly as other Black and Brown women. While many question her motive, women of color are rejoicing in her bold and brave decision to honor herself, her wellness, and her mental well-being.
Events of the last four years have spotlighted the need for more wellness and well-being support, especially in BIPOC communities who are often misdiagnosed and marginalized, not only in healing options, but spiritual practices, as well.
Before crystal wearing was cool, attending exclusive retreats with a high priestess was enlightening, and performing moon rituals was fun, Black women “Seers,” now officially known as Psychics, have been quietly, often in secret, holding down spiritual practices for generations.
However, within the last 5 years, Spirituality - Woo Woo, in particular, with anything from witchcraft to Tarot cards, has seen a massive surge amongst women.
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With this surge and as more people become empowered with gender + sexual equality and wellness + self-directed spiritual practices, the ever present stain of racism must be addressed. Otherwise, this new woo woo spiritual industry will become forever white-washed.
The spiritual industry is now a billion dollar industry and it was built on the demonization of African Spirituality, particularly the dark-skinned, evil-eyed “Magic Woman” stereotype that for centuries has perpetrated our communities.
As an example, The Oracle, of the Matrix trilogy, an all-seeing, middle-age, vice ridden Black woman who not only guides each character’s destiny but offers insights for the very survival of their civilization is portrayed as both questionable and dangerous. Imagine how a white woman would be portrayed with the same guidance and wisdom... Would she be seen as questionable and dangerous? Most likely not.
And more recently. The stereotype’s depiction of Madame Marie Laveau in “American Horror Story - The Coven” is as a mean streaked, baby snatcher. Her deadly and dark Voo Doo magic was frightening to even the Supreme Witch, who was portrayed as an elegant, classy white woman. This stereotypical contrast between the dark and scary Black women versus the blessed and holy white woman is further opening the door for witchcraft to go mainstream and bringing with it even more fear towards African influence.
Where’s the distinction?
Isn’t it easier to just call us “crazy” like Whoopi Goldberg’s “Oda May” in Ghost, one of the top grossing movies of all time or in 2015, Zendaya, then 18, was commented as to “probably smokes weed and smells like patchouli” whereas Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, is a blonde, book smart, sassy sleuth.
It’s not just in the films and television that this plays out.
I have experienced it first hand.
As a Black woman Psychic Medium from the United States living abroad in Mexico, I’ve been called everything from an angel to the devil. Although I was Voted #3 Psychic Medium in the World, there was no media coverage nor interest in my journey of being a coffee shop Tarot Reader to YouTube personality to International TV Star.
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All while the Long Island Medium, a white woman from Long Island, New York, was having a wildly popular and high publicity reality show of the same name. After months of trying to get publicity and mounting rejections, the truth finally dawned on me: A Black woman Psychic is intriguing, yes, yet dangerous.
The lack of diversity, inclusion, and representation in spiritual media, merchandising, books, TV, and beyond is now affording us an opportunity to ensure future generations discover the truth. There is an opportunity - and, daresay an obligation, for us, as a spiritual community, to do better. Especially as more Black and Brown people return to their African Traditional Religions, cultivating community through sharing history, medicine and storytelling, and leave the church & Christianity behind. We have an opportunity and an obligation to represent and depict the accurate, beautiful, and generations-long history of Black and Brown spiritual women.
I’ll leave you with one further thought to ponder that I hope stays with you as you scroll social media, watch movies and television, and invest in spiritual coaching, guidance, healing, and practices:
How can the art and ritual practices of the African diaspora be seen as dark and frightening while Woo Woo is seen as love and light - especially when the roots of Woo Woo come from deep within the African diaspora?
Article originally published in the pages of SOULACY
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