The Commercialization Of African Culture And Spirituality


6-african-gods-you-can-find-in-beyonces-lemonade-2-19163-1462114045-0_dblbigFor the past few thousand years an attempt to demoralize, erase, and sweep under the rug the presence of African culture has been in play. With the rise of Greco-Roman influence worldwide it gave them power to re-write history from it’s perspective. The Hellenistic period of ancient times was a tide turner. It gave people with no previous history beyond 8-10 thousand years an opportunity to caste it’s influence on the world.

In recent years the same system that tried to erase and change history is now watering down and demonizing historical views by controlling  things through the commercializing of African cultures. The 1st to face this problem of course is African Kmt whose history is well written by The Ancient Remetch that left millions of clues about its past. The past few years you have seen The Music Industry, Hollywood, and pseudo-scientific marketing strategies promote the glamor of African Kmt without promoting it’s true history from an African perspective. Today you’ll see hip-hop artist and rnb artist wearing Ankhs with crosses or tattoos of mAat, Ankhs, and King Tut. You even have Chinese, Arab, and Jewish companies selling all kind of Kmty materialized practices such as yoga, food, clothing, and even toys which has created a fad surrounding such a historic civilization that brought forth all we know today.

A few nights ago sister Beyoncé performed at the grammys one of her songs off her Lemonade album. It was not her song or performance that sparked a worldwide Internet frenzy it was her costume. Dressed as beautiful West African Yoruba Orisa Goddess her stylist nailed the essence of bringing forth a historical presence of a culture unlike Kmt that has not been disrespected or commercialized. In her attempt to raise awareness of our African ancestral practices and spiritual systems she by some instances exposed the ignorance in the African American communities and it’s religious followers of the Abrahamic faith. Some demonized her, others praised her, some in the conscious community who practice faithfully the West African spiritual system found it a bit disrespectful. Now, with all these different personalities and opinions one can see the grip racism white supremacy has on the views and opinions of African in America and abroad.

You can not blame the Ife community for feeling the way it does due to recent commercializations of Kmt. Playing with African spiritual systems have consequences one may never consider to take seriously. We can question if Beyoncé is genuine in her attempt to expose our brothers and sisters to our Ancestors,however one thing is for certain her influence on her followers is significant. This could have 2 outcomes  on our brothers and sisters: expose them to who they really are or start another commercialization of a African paradigm with a rich tradition in culture and spirituality.

Society has a problem targeting us as a people and our struggles. They make it easy to promote our history for its own personal gains while many of those who are not quite aware of their history see it equally from the perspective of the oppressor as entertainment, fiction, and culturally unacceptable. When you can control the initiative you can control the agenda,  and we as a people have grown accustomed to following suit ignoring the message and meaning behind our lives being their entertainment.

One way to combat any attempt of commercializing our culture is raising awareness and promoting our culture on a grand scale. Using idols such as a Beyoncé or the music and movie industries as a opportunity to teach not preach to our children using proper methodology to expose them to where they really come from and who our true African Gods and Goddesses are across the continent. We can no longer stay silent allowing fads to control the narrative using each trending topic as a teaching opportunity to encourage our people to get to know more about who they are, where they come from, and what they knew not believed before our lives changed at the hands of our oppressor. Remaining silent will allow those who have controlled the narrative for far to long to continue to commercialize our culture and demonize our spirituality and continuing to push their faith and beliefs on us for their economical control and spiritual gain.

 By:Ini-Herit Khalfani

February 14, 2017

Nashville, Tn

#Beyoncé #Grammys

Photos by: HouseOfSarah14 Storm. “The Dashiki Trend.”HouseOfSarah14. House of Sarah14, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. <;.

Pharoah Inc. “Fharaoh.” Fharaoh. Pharoah Inc, 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. <;.

Gistmaster . “How Beyoncé Channeled Yoruba Goddess Oshun During Her 2017 Grammy Performance.” Gistmaster. N.p., 14 Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. <;.


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