One thing about religious people is that they always look for the other, the outsider who can personify their great enemy, ‘the devil’. because they always love to stay in a state of perpetual warfare with the enemy, as religious texts teach.
Often what religious people miss is non religious people like playing to that bias. Take the Satanic Temple in the US, who have been fighting tooth and nail to have a monument to Satan set up. Their ideals and actions point towards a secular movement fighting the undue influence of religion in the public sphere, but the use of Satan is a powerful metaphor to challenge the prejudices of the Christians they’re fighting.
I suspect that’s what Azizaa is going for. Working with Wanluv the Kubolor, the pair created a video for her song ‘Black Magic Woman’ that would certainly stir up controversies upon controversies in Ghana. I can already foresee the demonic connotations people would ascribe to them, but luckily these are two intelligent people who know their history and their art.
In an interview with The Fader magazine, the two speak on the video, Ghanaian history and tradition, and our love for the tool that was once used to enslave us, Christianity.
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On religion and superstition…
Azizaa: “The term black magic is loosely used in Ghana just about as much as juju. Ghanians are very religious and somehow still manage to be very superstitious. I have yet to understand that. Every death in Ghana has a superstitious tale behind it.”
On the theme of the video…
Azizaa: “In the video we bring light to a huge problem in Ghana, or Africa as a whole, one that many refuse to acknowledge. Many religious leaders are abusing the people in different ways and taking advantage due to vulnerability and desperation of the people.”
On religion and colonialism…
Azizaa: “History has it that the colonial masters came with the Bible and the gun, gave the Bible to the Africans, as they pointed their guns at their heads.”
Wanlov: “It is a perfect self-perpetuating system. They took away our spirituality and gave us religion; they banned us from gathering under a tree by the fireside and herded us into churches. Now we love going to church, because it is the only place we can have a weekend retreat from the mundane work week cycle also imposed on us by the colonials.”
On preachers in Ghana…
Azizaa: “I’ve seen trotro preachers aiming their messages at me to repent because of my nose and lip rings, and the blue/green/purple hair. This is not just it—I think Christianity should be banned and made illegal in Ghana, and all of Africa. How can anyone of African descent be worshiping the same tool used to uselessly murder their ancestors?”
Why are Ghanaians so religious yet practice so much juju…
Wanlov: “More and more pastors now have traditional deities they secretly consult. They do not fully believe in their religion, but are duping others to do so in order to have control over them to survive off them because the system is getting harder and harder to live in.”
Azizaa: “There is stigma attached to vodou [voodoo], so Christianity is a very safe choice. But deep down, in their souls, hearts and minds, they can’t fight or ignore the voice that tells them to go back to their roots. The Christian thing is just another way of slavery taking its toll and Ghanaians copying and pasting blindly.”
The rest of this fascinating interview can be read on The Fader
If you haven’t, you can watch ‘Black Magic Woman’ below…
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