Yemanj?, Afro-Brazilian Candombl? Cult in Bahia
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Reclaiming Black Girl Magic Through Ancestral Spiritual Traditions

As more African descendants seek out non-traditional spiritual systems, Lakeesha Harris builds on the Black Witch University. 

As more black folks, particularly black women, in the United States are becoming more interested in exploring non-Christian faith systems, the need for more spaces providing information are becoming more imperative. For those who are disenchanted with traditional Western religions, Lakeesha Harris is here to guide you.

Harris proudly proclaims the title of witch, a political decision on her part, with a careful consideration of how the word was used to cast stigma over marginalized women. "I was like, yeah, I'm going to call myself a Black witch. Calling myself a Black witch is to understand the political nature and the power that title holds for me—as a woman and as a witch and as someone taking ownership of her magic and her whole body," she tells Broadly.

She came to discovering her own magical power at an early age, particularly in the kitchen, with the usage of herbal roots. "The Black women in my family, we had a legacy of magic, but we never called it that," she recalls of her childhood in Kankakee, Illinois. A particularly poignant moment was watching her aunt endure abuse, yet still manage to take care of the family. "I would say to myself, how did Auntie Joyce do all of this?" she recalls with Broadly. "How did she work, take care of the family, take care of all of us, [and] provide space and home and love? How did she take care of herself and navigate through abuse?" It was the act of growing, maintaining herbs, and keeping ties to the earth that sustained her aunt's strength—a power that Harris inherited in her own uses of magic.

She is one-third of the Black Witch Chronicles, a collective that was initiated in New Orleans that, in the group's own words, "communicate from our collective wisdom as healers, artists, visionaries, and change makers connected to the ongoing story that sings to us from our ancestral roots and truths." The group regularly hosts webinars for young black witches-in-training about beginning their own spiritual paths, learning the ways of ancestral rituals and conjuring.

The program will also serve as a safe space for those who feel like they are alone in their journey of discovery and dealing with judgement from loved ones.

The knowledgeable witch first established a small coven in Chicago in 2015, in which young witches, healers, and diviners set out together to do powerful spiritual work, which included alter building, invoking black southern spiritual traditions, crystals and tarot readings. From that point on, public interest continued to grow. "A lot of young and older Black people were like, 'Look we're interested, where do we start? And we just kept getting all these emails, emails, emails. I was like OK, it's time to set up some system in which we can formalize the learning process."

Black Witch University began in September, aims to instruct those hungry for spiritual understanding of ancestral spiritual traditions. Harris desires to incorporate Àjé (dedicated to female divinity associated with Yorùbá tradition) and Lucumí practices into the university's courses. The conclusion of the program, states Broadly, is scheduled in March of 2o17, and will happen in time for the Spring Equinox.

Harris advocates people of African descent utilizing ancestral magic as a tool of healing, as well as a potent weapon against harrowing social injustices. The Chicago-based witch has conducted spells against relieving the city of police violence. "It would behoove us to use our own magic for the protection of ourselves and other people."

Read interview in full over at Broadly.

 

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

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Judge Awards Cardi B Release Without Bail After Alleged Bartender Attack

Cardi B reported to court Friday morning (Dec. 7) in efforts to resolve an ongoing court case, which stems from an alleged altercation back in August at a Queens strip club involving two bartenders named Jade and Baddie Gi.

Prior to attending court, the "Money" MC was threatened to face jail time by the judge in charge of the case if she missed today’s court date. She reportedly had a court appearance on Monday (Dec. 3) that she failed to report to.

In October, the Bronx rapper (born Belcalis Almanzar) turned herself in to authorities after being accused of orchestrating a physical attack on the servers at Angels Strip Club. Per TMZ, she was arrested for two misdemeanor charges: assault and reckless endangerment.

One of the bartenders, Jade Gi, was accused of having an affair with Cardi’s (now possibly estranged) husband, Migos member Offset. The “She Bad” rapper was released without bail. Prosecutors reportedly wanted to charge her with a $2,500 bail, but the judge felt she wasn’t a flight risk, meaning she wouldn’t leave the country before the case is over in its totality.

However, the judge did warn Cardi to have “no contact” to Baddie and Jade Gi, after he granted both an order of protection against the 26 year-old. She’s also not allowed to make any threats or comment on the two on social media.

Cardi is reportedly scheduled to head back to court sometime next month.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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