Religious Diversity News

Showing all news articles with tradition Afro-Caribbean AND in metro area Boston.

Judge: TSA Violated Rastafarian Screener’s Rights

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Google News

Wire Service: AFP

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the rights of a Rastafarian baggage screener at Boston’s Logan International Airport were violated when he was threatened with firing unless he cut his hair.

An administrative judge has issued an interim ruling in favor Josue Brissot (JOE’-sway BREE’-soh) and scheduled a February hearing on potential compensation.

Hub Gallery to Show Haitian Voodoo Flags

Author: Daniela Caride

Source: The Bay State Banner

Mermaids and Catholic saints. Pyramids, hearts and ceremonial candles. Not exactly the dark, frightening, black-magic-worshipping imagery one might conjure up when thinking of Voodoo (spelled “Vodou” or “Voudou” in other parts of the world).

But these dazzling images — combining a variety of spiritual and ritualistic symbols from Haitian folk art, made of beads and sequins and sewn into cloth by local artists — adorn the Haitian Voodoo flags that will be on display at the opening of the new gallery Bead + Fiber this weekend.

Opening this Saturday, Oct. 18, and running through Nov. 7, “VOUDOU-Flags of Haiti” is the first exhibition for the Harrison Avenue space. Artist Andrea Garr decided to open Bead + Fiber to combine a fine art craft gallery with a retail store, her own studio and a place where people could learn different arts and crafts.

“I was interested in retail and in supporting other artists,” said Garr.

Haitian Voodoo flags are “extraordinarily beautiful,” said artist Nancy Josephson during her lecture about Voodoo flags at Bead + Fiber’s preview day last week. Josephson is the author of the book “Spirits In Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti,” and has almost 100 of the flags in her collection.

“VOUDOU-Flags of Haiti” features the work of Haitian folk artists like Yves Telemaque and Silva Joseph. Works like the beaded flags are helping folk art traditions in Haiti rise to the level of fine art, their artistic vibrancy gaining popular recognition even as they raise awareness of their nation’s extreme poverty.

The flags are also popularizing a religion that has had a negative reputation in America for centuries.

“The cool thing about Voodoo is that you can bring who you are to the whole picnic,” said Josephson, who lives and has her art studio in Wilmington, Del. “It’s not that you have to believe this [certain] way.”

The openness of the tradition, Josephson explained, is part of the reason she finds inspiration in the flags.

Faith Healer: Erol Josue Uses Music to Rehabilitate Voodoo’s Image

Author: Robert C. Young

Source: Boston Herald

Erol Josue is a Haitian vodou (voodoo) priest inspired by a higher power – yet he makes some of the earthiest Caribbean roots music you’ve ever heard.

The singer, who visits Johnny D’s tomorrow to mark the release of his new CD, “Regleman,” doesn’t want listeners to merely move to his “electro vodou.” Josue wants them to understand that his religion isn’t about black magic, zombies and dolls with pins stuck in them.

“It’s about community, and about love, independence and revolution,” said the 34-year-old New York-based artist known as “The Prince of Haitian Roots

Music.” “My biggest problem is when television and Hollywood present the stereotype of vodou – people drinking blood, people as cannibals. When people see that they think that is vodou, which is not true.

“We believe in God – Granmet in Creole – who is the architect of the universe. With my music I want to cross over to present the real faith of Haiti, of vodou.”

Boston Santero Steve Quintana Interviewed

Source: The Boston Globe

On October 21, 2004 The Boston Globe reported on the Santeria temple at the home of Santero Steve Quintana, “Quintana is the godfather of Santeria in Greater Boston…   In their quest to reconnect with their indigenous roots here, many immigrants have turned to Quintana as a spiritual resource, whether they hail from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, or Cape Verde. To his followers, Quintana is a healer, a mentor, a liaison to the saints… Quintana works to bring the religion out of its closet. He also wants to dispel misconceptions about the religion… ‘This is a healing faith,” he says… ‘My goal is to bring the religion out in the open so we could be proud of it and so others can respect it…It’s been hidden for many many years. We’re trying to make sure people understand the religion itself. They think we are doing evil or wrong to others. We are not. This is Mother Nature’s religion.””

Professor Reconnects to Religion of the Yoruba People of Nigeria

Source: The Boston Globe

On October 26, 2002 The Boston Globe reported that “Tony Van Der Meer was raised a Baptist, but years ago, friends introduced him to the religion of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The Yoruba revere family and ancestors. Van Der Meer, 48, an African studies professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, says he saw a powerful demonstration of his new faith a decade ago involving his father, a man he barely knew. The Yoruba believe in a supreme god and more than 400 lesser divinities, called orishas, each with its own priests and sects. Yoruban religion holds that the universe is divided between benevolent and malevolent divinities. Ancestors are part of the benevolent half of the universe.”

Cambridge Center for Adult Education Holds Conference on Role of Ancestors in African Ritual and Art

Source: The Boston Globe

On October 26, 2002 The Boston Globe reported that “last week, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education devoted its second annual conference on African ritual and art to the role of ancestors. The conference ‘focused on seeing how the traditions from Africa, transplanted in the Western Hemisphere… still have influence,’ says Cambridge Center spokesman Jim Smith… Dragged from Africa during slavery, the Yoruba brought religious beliefs that couldn’t be suffocated… The Yoruba believe in a supreme god and mo

re than 400 lesser divinities called orishas, each with its own priests and sects. Yoruban religion holds that the universe is divided between benevolent and malevolent divinities. Ancestors are part of the benevolent half of the universe… If religious beliefs are for the Yoruba the synapses of cultural memory, they also are a reminder of the similarities among different faiths. ‘Most religions lead back to the same sorts of ideas,’ says Joe Platz [a drum maker who lives near Springfield]. In his book, Abimbola, using language Christians would recognize, says that ‘there is a crying need for a new covenant based on the energy of Ifa which is a peaceful, intellectual and tranquil energy… We must seek a new way of life if we all want to survive in the world.'”