The Yoruba diaspora chatter about Beyoncé and or as, Osun has been deafening. Continental Yoruba reaction has been a lot more muted. Perhaps being more used to seeing watered down or embellished versions of Yoruba culture from descendants of different America nationalities we don’t take offence , rather we feel proud of the attention being paid to our roots, our religion. On this occasion by the pop goddess Beyoncé, and at the Grammys, no less.
There may not be Facebook fights over it from continental Yorubas but over time, expect to see articles here and there. Funmi Iyanda, an obirin meta herself set the ball rolling on social media, looking not at the Osun aspect but rather the symbolism of Beyoncé’s entire performance focussing on motherhood, which the whole diaspora conversation thus far seems to have missed in the Osun outfit brouhaha.
“Orisha Bi Iya kosi. ( No Deity Like Mother)
There is no deity like the mother. Orishas are not long suffering doormats or self flattening emotional martyrs. They are deities. Full of power, subservient to no one, knowing that only in her own fullness can she bestow gifts of life, love, energy and power to others. Only the most deserving man gets to be with her as long as he recognises his role is to embellish her. In doing this he finds fuel to be a man of true strength and beauty. She doesn’t need completeness, she’s whole.
In ancient Yoruba land, the woman’s worth is closely tied to motherhood but this is however not some simplistic, self congratulatory child birthing which lesser animal are capable of without fan fare. It is the ability to give life, nurture, energy and love to others. An ability which is only acquired upon coming into one’s full self and thus not exclusive of women who do not have or desire biological children.
It requires that the woman is able to pursue enterprise, knowledge and progress as well as ownership of resources in accordance to her gifts, desires and inclination. Full power is not to be confused with possession of money or indeed wealth, although those will come. Any woman of full power is a giver of emotional, spiritual, medicinal, biological life and is thus a mother and therefore an orisha.
She is self replenishing with the support she is able to inspire from the constellation of humanity she stays connected to. She is not an isolated self sacrificed cloying emotional mouse trap for her children, biological or otherwise. Her world is large. It is a nuanced, complex and beautiful understanding of womanhood and motherhood, more civilised, kinder and truer to a progressive human condition.it is one l too wish l had understood or been taught earlier in life. #orisha #yoruba #grammys2017 #beyoncé #motherhood #yorubamythology #nigeria”
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award winning broadcaster. She is the producer of Talk With Funmi, a multi-segmented variety show set in multiple locations across Nigeria.