Dear Culture

Black Witches: Blue Telusma

Episode 87

Read the full transcript here.

Who you calling a witch? This week on the Dear Culture Podcast our hosts, theGrio Social Media Director Shana Pinnock and theGrio Managing Editor Gerren Keith Gaynor, are talking spirituality vs. religion and how this generation is looking beyond the Bible and redefining Black magic.

Bible thegrio

A quick scroll through Twitter or Instagram these days offers a glimpse into what seems to be a growing trend of Black Americans leaving behind the pews and scriptures in favor of the Palo Santo and smudge sticks. A recent study by the Pew Research Center finds that younger Black Americans are less pious than their older generations and there had been a growing discourse around Black women in particular finding spiritual practices in the metaphysical and embracing mysticism.  

Dear Culture‘s guest, writer, producer and spiritualist Blue Telusma said that the embracing of spirituality and the shift away from more traditional forms of religion is happening in part as a way for Black people to honor all parts of their identities and show up as their whole selves in spaces where they are usually invisible and dismissed.

“Black women are becoming witches in droves because it’s a response to white feminism,” said Telusma. “We tried to align with white feminist and saw the erasure that took place. We had no voice in those circles because they kept on saying, ‘Are you a woman or are you Black?’ They never let us be both and as a woman, this witchcraft made sense for me because it’s a place whereas a Black woman, I don’t have to choose. I’m fully empowered. My Blackness is actually leading the conversation, but my woman, this is always enhancing the conversation.” 

Black woman sitting in yoga lotus pose
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

As a growing number of folks in the general population are identifying as witches there is an ongoing reexamination of Christianity and Black Americans relationship to the Black church. 

“I grew up in the Black church, and so I grew up in a household where it was all about Black Jesus and anything that did not align with Black Jesus was the devil,” said Gaynor. That’s kind of how things were surmised in my household and, you know, at 32-years-old, I am one of those people Black, young people, millennials and Generation Z who are like, I’m actually more spiritual than religious.” 

Pinnock echoed a similar sentiment while detailing her upbringing in the church and added that she finds solace in her belief in a higher power. 

“You know, and there is certain things in my life that I know I had to have a higher power watching over me,” said Pinnock. “I’m certainly more of a spiritual person, and I’m a firm believer that my God is not necessarily the god of somebody else’s. My God is not homophobic. My God is not transphobic. My God is not a racist.”

Tune into Dear Culture to hear the entire fascinating conversation including how spirituality can be a gateway to forming community with our ancestors. 

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