Tag Archives: Witches

The My-Stery: Five Black Witches Is Too Much for Black Audiences?

On Wednesday night after watching American Horror Story: Freak Show, I tuned in to watch the latest of TV One’s Hollywood Divas episode, “Five Black Witches.” One of the opening scenes is the de facto leader of the group, Paula Jai Parker, presenting to producer Carl Craig the idea agreed upon in previous episode for a supernatural film about five black sisters who are witches who each would have their own special powers.

Parker acknowledged that there is no film she was familiar with that deals with the supernatural through the experience of the black community, although it can be argued that several exist (Beloved? Sankofa? Several independent films?), but Craig’s immediate reaction was an obvious aversion to the concept. He looked as if he was wondering what the hell Parker just give him. Although he did say this was cutting edge material, he felt that black audiences would have a difficult time embracing this type of story, that they will look at it as “demonic” (here we go).

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Moving on the Wires: News, Posts and New Music

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*Growing up, I remember seeing shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch or movies like The Craft, and wanting to see women of color as witches (although The Craft did have Rachel True). If I did see women of color as witches or magic(k) women, they were usually stereotypically portrayed in a degrading manner, like Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean or Tituba in the recent show, Salem. That is why I am happy to find out about MisSpelled, a show featuring witches of color, and written and created by Lindsey McDowell. I wish I found out about this show earlier, but they have a Kickstarter where they are raising funds to continue producing more episodes. See the Kickstarter video and promologue below:

*Black Girl Dangerous’ “Reclaiming the Sacred Black, Indigenous QTPOC Science of Sustainable Living and Survivor-Ship Magic:” “When most people think of scientists, they think of white, cis, non-disabled, heterosexual men in lab-coats cooking up ways for other white, cis, non-disabled, heterosexual people to survive sci-fi horrors like dinosaurs—but who, for what ever reason, can never think of ways to sustain the world’s need for electricity without stripping the earth of vital minerals. These Ivy-League educated, so-called genius scientists who send people to the moon and other planets and calculate the distance between this planet and our neighboring planets in order to speculate the probability of a select few humans living in those other planets, are the same ones who can never seem to figure out and implement ways of making this planet safer for ALL its inhabitants…So many people look to “modern (see western, imperialist, eurocentric) science” as the one true signifier of human brilliance—people who berate Indigenous wisdom as folklore and imagination, people who believe African science to be nothing more than superstition, people who look for “cold hard facts” and never ponder or consider the amount of suffering, exploitation, and oppression that has gone into garnering those facts. These are people who, somehow, believe that western, modern-day science happened in an “objective” vacuum and that it has not consistently worked, hand in hand, with white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism.” (Reading this reminded me of Elizabeth Nunez’s When the Rocks Dance.)

*Amazing Stories’ “Interview: Kaitlyn McKnight YA Author of a YA Novel:” This 12-year-old is the author of her own book, The Zodiac Saga 1: The Search fpr the Temple, Friends, Foes and the Zodians.

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: News, Posts and New Music

Modern Griots Reviews: Séan L. Young’s The Mystical Gathering Series

Photo 20Popular culture is filled with worlds of wizards, witches and mystic superhero characters likes that of Harry Potter. But while audiences are excited by the fantasy of those worlds, real life communities of witches either go unnoticed or are demonized as satanic. And even in the fiction, rarely do we get a super-witch character who is a 5’5”, dreadlock-wearing black guy. Let alone a posse of witches who are black women. And with these unexpected characters comes an unexpectedly entrancing, enlightening, and still down-to-earth book.

Séan L. Young‘s book one of his Mystical Gathering Series –The United follows three Floridan witch friends and college classmates, Wanda, Sam and Alycya who meet a mysterious new classmate and art student Vyncent Wynford. The bold, 6-foot “goddess of chaos” Wanda, the inquisitive intellect Sam and Alycya, who falls for Vyncent and lives with two powerful witch aunts, Hellyna and Anjylla Hehu, quickly welcome the outsider into their magical group. But Vyncent’s powers seem to go beyond ordinary magick (the term for actual witchcraft practices) and into psychic, “super-wizard” abilities, especially with his owl companion and spiritual guide, Snipe (aka Snipps). As Vyncent is welcomed into the close-knit circle, he is revisited by old enemies, Richard and his crew, Gabriel and Sigmund, new ones like Dr. and Mrs. Franken, and learns that Alycya’s aunts know more about him than he thought, leading to a series of events that could not only decide his fate, but that of everyone around him.

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: Séan L. Young’s The Mystical Gathering Series

“The Invisibility Cloak: Race and the Pagan”

The Black Witch wrote a post on the lack of people of color’s perspectives in pagan circles.

“…If you’re a minority in Paganism, it is very bright and clear that unless you’re a picture on the wall, you’re probably not going to get represented in any well-rounded way and shouldn’t expect it. The common face of Paganism is White and suburban and the current expressions of it are very well rooted in White culture and most of White hegemony. For many minority Pagans, that means dealing with being thrusted into White culture whether they like it or not – or just study alone and remember that the author doesn’t mean it but they probably assume you’re White.

Just because someone is part of a different religion doesn’t mean they’re potentially any less of a douche in the race and culture department. Thanks to the invisible knapsack of White privilege, it throws an invisibility cloak over minorities. To keep from going too broad, I’m going to focus primarily on the Black Pagan issues as different minorities have different issues depending on how White culture decided to shape them in the eyes of the public and mental landscape of society. You see, I’ve learned through experience and hearing the experiences of others that Pagans love rooting for the underdog – I mean, we are one so it makes sense right? So stories of things happening to minorities anywhere in the world is terrible and tear jerking, right? Even issues that happen in their own home country such as America or the UK, there is an “Oh, some people are awful” kind of reaction. Y’know, as if racism exists in a vacuum and only shows itself when a lynching occurs and stuff like that. As long as there’s no voice from the side of the minority, it’s a one-sided show that can sometimes turn into a near circle jerk of “Well, we’re Pagans! We’re better than that. Those Christians! How dare they! Another sordid testament to the religion itself. What meanies. We would never act like that, the Goddess says love all!”

Let the minority open its mouth, even criticize Pagans and their shortcomings in the culture department and watch that cooing and sympathy drop quick. All of a sudden, it’s “We’re being attacked” and rationalizing ahoy. Talk about some of the humanitarian issues in this nation and how it disproportionally affects minorities and the working class, they’ll claim it’s from not doing enough hard work – this is America, after all. (Yeah, how that occupying working out for you?) Mention words like “institutional racism”, “tokenization” and “privilege” and up come the defenses. I’ve dealt with a stunning variety of Pagan women or Pagan men who thought they don’t benefit at allfrom any form of institutional anything and definitely not privilege because they’re Pagan, bigotry only benefits you if you’re Christian and Christian only. That, as Pagans, they’ve dealt with all sorts of historical bigotry that my race could not fathom such as the Burning Times, the Salem Witch Trials and the loss of some useful occult texts. Yup. I totes wouldn’t know – or maybe I would since I am Pagan. Though, I have never gotten a Walking While Pagan so maybe the jury is out on that one….”