Like the Medium of Endor in 1 Samuel 28, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM-LA, attempt to call up the dead. The ritual is to publicly recite the names of black victims killed while chanting the African Yoruba term “Asé” after each name. Per the website Rooted Resistance, Asé, pronounced Ah-Shay, has multiple meanings but is mainly defined as “the power to make thing happen, or so let it be.”
Anthony Shintai’s Yorubaland article defines Asé as the divine force, energy, and power incarnate in the world. “Asé is an affirmation that is used in greeting and prayers, as well as a concept of spiritual growth.”
“When we speak their names, we invoke that spirit, and those spirits actually become present,” said Cullors during an interview on June13, 2020, streamed on Facebook’s Fowler Museum at UCLA page, “Spirituality is at the center of Black Lives Matter.” In response, Abdullah, who is also a professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University, added, “We become very intimate with the spirits we call on.” The chanting of “say his/ her name,” per Cullors, is more than a hashtag, “It is literally almost resurrecting a spirit so they can work through us to get the work that we need to get done.”
Hebah Farrag, assistant director of research at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, researches the “new spiritualities emerging from Black Lives Matter-affiliated organizations.” Ifá is the Yoruba religion or belief system of divination practiced by the BLM leaders.
The African spiritual rituals of Ifá openly practiced by BLM in crowded city and urban streets of the United States may sound like an obscure, rare, and unique religion. But it is not. Many African Diaspora Religions, also known as Afro-American, and African-derived religions are practiced throughout the world. When African slaves were scattered around the globe, they brought with them their beliefs and rituals.
Black Lives Matter founders are not the only ones bringing these spiritual practices to the forefront of American society and culture. During the 2017 Grammy Awards, Beyoncé paid homage to the YorubaIfá goddess Osun (or Oshun). Pregnant with twins, wearing a golden gown, Oshun’s sacred color, Beyoncé channeled the goddess of “love, money, and waterways,” or goddess of water and fertility as some headlines claimed.
Iyanla Vanzant is a lawyer, talk show host, best-selling author, and a Yoruba Ifá priestess initiated at Ola Olu by the Ifá Foundation of North America, Inc. She is the host and producer of “Iyanla: Fix My Life” on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Vibe Magazine recognized her as one of the “100 Most Influential African Americans.” Newsweek featured her as one of the “Women of the Century.” Vanzant’s website offers online workshops and events, “As Founder of Inner Visions World Wide, Iyanla is actively engaged in personal development courses and ongoing training programs for spiritual life coaches, and ordained ministers.”
Many other celebrities currently practice or have practiced this Yoruba spirituality, including Usher, Jennifer Lopez, Celia Cruz, Chaka Khan, 21Savage, to name a few. Their status and fame significantly impact society and culture by glamorizing this practice through their seductive art. Black Lives Matter, however, has completely exposed Ifá for what it truly is: an occultic spiritual practice that opens participants up to the influence of dark spiritual forces.
[TBC: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy:4:1).]