The My-Stery: Images of Mami Wata


The more I study mythology, religions and popular culture, the more I realize the mythological symbolism in a lot of popular culture. For example, in two of Aaliyah’s last videos, “We Need a Resolution” and “Rock the Boat.” The video for the first song contains scenes where she appears to be in a underground setting and covered in snakes. Well, I know Aaliyah liked snakes and had a pet one named “Boots,” but is this video referencing the Mami Wata and other snake-woman myths as well as the goddess of the underworld myths. The other video for “Rock the Boat” is all about water and there is even that creepy scene of her floating around in a black dress underwater. Aaliyah seems to be in the form of the Water Goddess or Queen of the Sea.

Aaliyah – “We Need a Resolution”

Aaliyah – “Rock the Boat”

Other songs that also hint at the Water Goddess is the song “Proud Mary.” Originally recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival, the song was famously covered by Ike and Tina Turner. The name of the band that original recorded it as well as the lyrics suggest a religious theme. Proud Mary is a “riverboat queen” and its name reminds me of Virgin Mary, whose name comes from Stella Maris, “the star of the sea.” Virgin Mary is often syncretized with Mami Wata or Erzulie.

Last, is Parliament’s “Mothership Connection.” Although the song is probably referring to a spaceship, it is still a ship and correlates with “Proud Mary,” which about a ship going to heaven.

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