Out and About!

A while back I blogged about religious persecution and questioned why so many people fear being known as aborisha*. I’ve even heard tales of a NY Statesperson having been a Iyawo while serving, although a name was never verified. However, it warms my heart that North American aborisha are pushing into the mainstream, and can be seen out in the open on prime time television!

In the 2007 season of American Idol, singer Amma Agyapon made it to Hollywood. During her audition, friends and family sang to Eshu while Ryan Seacrest danced along! Unfortunately, Ms. Agyapon didn’t make the final cut; hopefully she’ll audition again. In case you’re wondering why that’s important, Amma Agyapon is an Olorisha and religious musician.

This year, the American Idol stage is being graced by Naima Adedapo. When she auditioned, I imagined that her father must be Nigerian. However, once she made it to Hollywood and we got glimpses of her family in the audience, I realized that neither of her parents were Nigerian. Immediately I wondered what her connection was to a Yoruba surname, and questioned whether she, too, was an aborisha.

Then, suddenly, during her first top 24 performance she appears on stage in a beautiful yellow dress bellowing the lyrics to “Summertime.” She replaces, “With mama and daddy,” with, “yeye and baba,” and my face lights up with joy. I knew right away that she must be involved in the Orisha religion somehow.

For the next few days, Orisha themed discussion forums were alive with a buzz about Naima. Some people attested to having known her parents years ago, and that they are in fact initiated. Someone mentioned that she is a child of Oshun – whether she is initiated or not is unclear. One thing that is crystal, however, is that she has pride galore in Yoruba culture. After one week’s performance, she saluted the home audience with a resounding “Ashe!” during her off-stage interview. She even incorporated drumming and African dance to her “Dancing in the Street” routine for Motown week.

I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Idol and haven’t participated in television voting since the days of “Married with Children.” Every week I’m tuned in and texting, hoping to see Naima make it as far as she can – American Idol! It brings tears to my eyes that her parents raised her to be proud, not fearful or ashamed. We should all take a lesson from them.

Check out Naima’s “Summertime” performance, tune in, and vote!