In Ghana, people are often buried in
‘fantasy coffins’. The Ga people believe
life in the next world continues in the
same way it did on earth, so carpenters
honor the dead with custom coffins that
represent their dreams, personalities,
occupations, vices, or obsessions. SourceSource 2Source 3
The hairstyle currently making you do a double-take is known as Eembuvi Braids, worn by women of the Mbalantu tribes from the Namibia. It’s a style that requires preparation from a young age, usually around twelve years old, when Mbalantu girls use thick layers of finely ground tree bark and oils– a mixture that is said to be the secret to growing their hair to such lengths. The girls will live with this thick fat-mixture on their scalp for several years before it’s loosened and the hair becomes visible. It will then be braided and styled into various gravity-defying headresses throughout their life.
The United States of Hoodoo explores the influence of African spirituality, traditional religions, customs and Culture brought to the Americas by with the people taken during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, in American popular culture.
It is written by Darius James and Oliver Hardt and directed by Hardt.
Documentary overview The United States of Hoodoo is a road trip to the sources of black popular culture in America. The film’s main character is African-American writer Darius James who is known for his often bitingly satirical and self-ironic texts on music, film and literature. The film’s story begins when Darius´ world is turned inside out after his father´s death.
Uprooted from his life in Berlin, he unwillingly returns to his childhood home. All that remains from his father is his mask collection and a cardboard box filled with ashes. His father had been a painter and sculptor, his work drawing deeply on manifestations of African-based spirituality.Yet while he lived he fiercely rejected any idea of being inspired by the old gods of Africa.
Back in a house that is now his, but not quite, Darius finds himself confronted with many questions about his own life. In need of answers he sets off on a search, not for his roots but for traces of the spiritual energy that fueled and informed a whole culture.
A number of different tribes have lived scattered across the highland plateau for 1000 years, in small agrarian clans, isolated by the harsh terrain and divided by language, custom and tradition. The legendary Asaro Mudmen first met with the Western world in the middle of the 20th century. Legend has it that the Mudmen were forced to flee from an enemy into the Asaro River where they waited until dusk to escape. The enemy saw them rise from the banks covered in mud and thought they were spirits. The Asaro still apply mud and masks to keep the illusion alive and terrify other tribes.
The mudmen could not cover their faces with mud because the people of Papua New Guinea thought that the mud from the Asaro river was poisonous. So instead of covering their faces with this alleged poison, they made masks from pebbles that they heated and water from the waterfall, with unusual designs such as long or very short ears either going down to the chin or sticking up at the top, long joined eyebrows attached to the top of the ears, horns and sideways mouths.