“My religious beliefs are my birthright. I’m a Puerto Rican woman whose family has roots in Regla de Ocha, also known as Santería. I like to honor my West African and Taíno ancestry, I consider it sacred and divine. A lot of practices of Regla de Ocha come with mediumship, clairvoyance, and healing abilities. I view these abilities as gifts. My connection to Regla de Ocha comes through my mother and mother’s mother.”

“In our culture, we learn that the eggun — our ancestor spirit — is always around us. Ancestor worship is a big part of the practice. My eggun has been present all of my life. My mother and grandmother both died when I was a child, but because they were proprietors, their egguns were so strong, and they’ve always been able to guide me. My mother picked my name with a spiritual intention: Destiny, “what was meant to be.” She was a very special woman, and a gifted witch. She knew she had to sacrifice her life to have me. Being aware that you can give life before you die is a very powerful thing.”

“There’s also this beautiful pantheon of orishas — humanlike gods and goddesses. My orisha is Yemaya, the depiction of a motherly mermaid. She’s the goddess of the ocean*, motherhood, and fertility. Before my mother passed away, she left me tokens of mermaids everywhere in my room. She made me a book and placed mermaids in there. She wanted me to know that I was a child of the ocean, that I am Yemaya’s daughter. It made sense from the day I was born. She left the mermaid tokens so I could understand who I was, who my mother was, who her mother was, and therefore never be lost in this world.”

“My ancestors had to keep their customs secret for fear of death or persecution, so it’s common to be secretive and discreet about Regla de Ocha. But it’s my family’s spirituality, so I don’t want to keep it secret. It’s very important to keep these traditions alive and to speak about them openly. I practice with discreteness, but I’m also open because I’m proud to be West African. I like to reclaim that beauty of the religion, and of the people. Without that, it dies. I simply cannot allow that.”

Yemoja by James C Lewis

“I’m one of the last people in my generation of my mother’s family, and I know that I come from strong, resilient women. The indigenous woman is reflective of the modern, urbanized ghetto woman. I don’t like to lose sight of that. Because my people were oppressed, murdered, and their spirituality was taken away from them, I feel it’s my duty to exhibit it in my art. Once we touch back into that tribal shit, we can understand our potential as fabulous women and break the stigma of the urban brown woman.”

“As young people of color, we’re seeing this is still a racist, archaic world, and we’re aware of how strong our cultural identities make us. We want to celebrate everything about us that’s been oppressed. Our parents come from immigrant backgrounds, so they couldn’t have the dichotomy of culture due to assimilation in America. None of us want to be assimilated anymore. We’re tired of this shit. We have the luxury of being millennials — it’s up to us to make our legacies even more relevant.”

 

Destiny Nicole Frasqueri (born June 14, 1992) is an Afro-Nuyorican independent alternative hip hop and alternative R&B recording artist and songwriter based in New York City. Formerly known by her stage names “Wavy Spice” or “Destiny”, she currently performs in a collaboratives duo known as Princess Nokia.-wiki

Her interview along with 4 other artistes who credit their inspiration to their spirituality is here on The Fader

 

*In West African Orisa tradition, Yeye Omo Eja or Yemoja is a river goddess. Within the Yoruba diaspora in the Americas she is an ocean goddess.

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4 thoughts on “Yeye Omo Eja Inspires New York Hip Hop

  1. I love you and appreciate you acknowledging our African Ancestors and there relevance then, now, and Always!!!!! I too was born on the 14th!!!! Love and Light to you!!!!!

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