Practitioners of African Traditional Religions (ATR) united on Twitter after a call to action by a popular social media personality called out trolls who were demeaning a photo of singer Summer Walker wearing all white online.
On March 10, a photo of Summer donning a simple white dress and white headscarf circulated on Twitter. The “Ex For A Reason” songstress looked radiant and happy as she shopped for healthy foods at the grocery store.
Folks with no home training began to share the photo with embarrassingly ignorant statements about her attire.
Summer Walker said “I have a dream ” pic.twitter.com/qno5tq4M3v
— (@prettybaddie27) March 11, 2022
Summer Walker proves niggas will try n talk to women wearing anything pic.twitter.com/bWJwG2N0lo
— (@Splashystackss) March 10, 2022
Why someone say Summer walker dressed as Harriet Tubman at the grocery store pic.twitter.com/bznFFnHTxV
— ❧ (@ireneoIogist) March 10, 2022
Jay Versace, a comedian, actor and musician who got his start by making hilarious videos on various social media platforms, posted a poignant tweet regarding Summer’s attire.
“I know y’all are posting this hoping to make everyone laugh, but we gotta create space for black women to navigate their spiritual practice. This is a African traditional attire for a specific spiritual practice. Let’s decide who we wanna tear down and who we wanna uplift,” he wrote.
I know y’all are posting this hoping to make everyone laugh but we gotta create space for black women to navigate their spiritual practice. this is a african traditional attire for a specific spiritual practice. let’s decide who we wanna tear down and who we wanna uplift
— ︎JAYVERSACE (@JAYVERSACE) March 11, 2022
The 24-year-old priest of Obatalá upped the ante by urging Black folks who understood the significance of Summer wearing white to drop their flicks in the comments.
“Black folks wearing white thread, drop the pics.”
black folks wearing white thread ,
drop the pics
— ︎JAYVERSACE (@JAYVERSACE) March 11, 2022
And did they. Although the singer didn’t directly say why she was dressed in that manner, people aware of certain practices spoke on her behalf.
Priests and non-initiates shared stunning images of themselves in white to show solidarity with the Summer and bring understanding about traditional African religions like Lucumi and Voudoun.
Me, my godsister, and some omiero! pic.twitter.com/FpUfyKHyfN
— iya ehime ora (@ehimeora) March 12, 2022
It’s a lifestyle pic.twitter.com/Hq6IA6QK8B
— ammawhatt (@ammawhatt) March 12, 2022
Get into it.. Oní Yemayá… Santo Menores..Bendición Mayores! My baby is crowned Oshún as well. Put some respect on our shit! pic.twitter.com/TZdHX9O4sV
— Keka Araújo (@KAraujoNWT) March 13, 2022
Lisssennn! Those garments just hit different now. There’s nothing like putting on some white to lift your spirits and remind you of your path and journey. I feel extra blessed and favored when I dress in white. In and out of ceremony. Maferefun Oyá! pic.twitter.com/HCk8ADaD9v
— Sili (@SiliRecio) March 13, 2022
— YAM GRIER (@zyahbelle) March 12, 2022
— lavender mami. (@Dirtylilbruja) March 12, 2022
Me wit the newborn aborisha glow pic.twitter.com/LEJ2cFqYoN
— Zora’s Oyster Knife (@PaigeUnabridged) March 11, 2022
Lil sum pic.twitter.com/Ms4cpUifYb
— ZΛY (@ZeiyaFG) March 11, 2022
Many of these faiths were practiced in secret as practitioners risked their lives if they worshipped openly. As more Black people step into traditional diasporic and African practices, awareness and teaching are key.
Summer had the last word, though. She responded to naysayers and trolls on Instagram. The singer explained that she was, indeed, an iyawo who had permission to post the stunning photo from her godparents.
“Who’s the clown? The ones trying to reconnect to STOLEN practices? Or the ones who can’t see the importance of their own culture,” she wrote.
“Also, I know yawos aren’t supposed to post themselves, but I got blessings from my godparents to post myself for work. I wanna show how you can do your job and still be a yawo while still rejecting vanity. I’m doing this publicly to show how important it is to be in African religions / to de-stigmatize them.”
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And real talk– sis looked good.
Blessings to her.