This last week or two, my facebook feed went insane post Beyonce’s performance at the grammy awards. The last time it happened was around the time of “Lemonade”. I don’t really make much noise since in reality, for me the questions brought up had no baring on my everyday life or my walking the path of Orisha. There were many statements, questions and even indignant opinions. These are my thoughts in relation to what I have seen and heard. They are my own personal thoughts and there are many who would choose either to agree or disagree.
- Firstly regarding whether Oshun is working through Beyonce. My answer is, personally, that her homage was to the Divine feminine per se and many energies from different faiths were honoured, amongst them Oshun. In addition, Oshun’s Ashe so to speak is in the field of creativity, connections and using the Arts as a medium to communicate. Many of Oshun’s children are artists, musicians, and are creative indviduals, so in that sense, we could say that Oshun is working through Beyonce if you like. Having said that, Paying homage to one Orisha or another in your creative work, does not mean to say that you have that Orisha crowned. For all of us, each and every Orisha and our relationship to them is important. There is always a need to connect with different kinds of energies as you are walking this path, and different times and for different purposes. Anyone who has been crowned will tell you, that at different points in time they will need to connect and honour different Orishas. Being crowned with one Orisha does not mean to say that you honour only that Orisha. In addition, there are many artists and musicians that have drawn on inspiration from Orisha tradition that do not have Orisha crowned and don’t walk the spiritual path either. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. Whether or not Beyonce is following this path is personal to her of course.
- With regards to feminine beauty and what you all think Oshun may look like in person, I would say that beauty is only skin deep. As I grow older as a woman, and as a daughter of Oshun, does my Ashe fade or grow? Concepts of beauty are cultural and in this warped society are often equated with youth. Beauty is on the inside. Remember that one of the Avatars of Oshun is the Vulture. Remember that what is beautiful is cultural and I think we have to take care that we don’t super impose our ideas of beauty which is so dominated by the Western media. For me, the energy of Oshun is a feeling. I always know when I am in the presence of someone who has Oshun as their mother, ( even if crowned with a different Orisha). There is something very unique about the energy of Oshun that I cannot put into words.
- Some people have asked me if what Beyonce is doing is appropriation of the religion. My answer to this is that there were many elements to her performance which I thought personally were beautiful. I did not find it offensive or that she was appropriating anything from the Orisha tradition. I have seen many instances of appropriation which I do find offensive. Offensive are those from other spiritual traditions that decide to take elements from ours, and incorporate into other traditions which have nothing to do with Orisha. It is offensive to white wash Orisha tradition and forget where the tradition came from. Offensive are those that use the name of Orisha to sell products which have nothing to do with our spiritual path. What Beyonce did, was simply a beautiful piece of work which happened consequentially to raise consciousness and awareness, albeit superficially, of our traditions.
- I think we are all in danger of falling into the celebrity trap. I am not particularly a fan of celebrity culture. I think it is dangerous to direct too much attention just to one person, one event, one high profile incident. Let’s put things into context. Acknowledge Beyonce’s work for what it is and remember to look at our own lives and how we live it. Oshun is the Queen of self reflection.
I purposefully chose not to use images of Beyonce’s performance. It’s easy enough to access.
Bendicion Iya, Ase!
Santo! Thanks for being there!