Oh, My Pop Culture Vodou: Loa Misrepresentation in American Horror Story: Coven, or Will the Real Papa Legba Please Stand Up?

AHS Coven VoodooI have been an avid fan and follower of American Horror Story since Season 1, and it’s been quite the ride watching the never-ending barrage of shocking and offensive moments that this show brings us. When I found out Season 3 was to be subtitled Coven, I was extra excited. I love witches! After all, I consider myself to more-or-less be one. It quickly became clear that American Horror Story: Coven was going to be rather different than Murder House (Season 1) and Asylum (Season 2). While still a psychosexual horror show, it was less The Shining and more Mean Girls with heavy occult influences. So I guess kind of like The Craft. That is loosely the plot of The Craft.

And you thought the Plastics were bad.

And you thought the Plastics were bad.

Coven had a lot of potential, but did a lot of things very wrong (like refer to the power of teleportation as “transmutation”). This post is not long enough to cover all those points, so I’ll focus on just one. Like I said, part of the charm of AHS is all the appallingly offensive scenes, but generally what’s offensive is some mix of gore and/or sex. However, as a pagan, there was something I found particularly offensive this season—the portrayal of the Vodou deity, Papa Legba.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Voodoo: The Princess and the Frog

princess-and-the-frog-2-hd (1)The Disney Princess movie franchise has been one of the most dominant cultural forces over the last few decades. Recently Disney has launched a campaign to convince people that there’s more to Disney princesses than a pretty face. The Princess and the Frog, released in 2009, embodies much of this new initiative to provide clear, positive role models for girls (and it also gives us our first African-American princess!).

Set in 1920s New Orleans, the movie follows Tiana, a hard-working young woman who works multiple jobs in hopes of saving up enough money to open her own restaurant. When Tiana kisses a frog claiming to be a prince, she turns into a frog herself, and embarks on a journey to find a way to reverse the curse before it’s too late. Voodoo features heavily in the film, and Disney certainly took some flak for it. While Disney does a great job of providing us with a dynamic Disney Princess, I had to wonder—does it do an equally good job portraying Voodoo?

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Book Review: Out of the Easy

coverThere is just something special about New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a chaotic mix of French, Voodoo, the old South, and African influences. It’s almost magical. However, it is also historically known as a hotbed of crime, “loose morals,” and discovering the true definition of family. At least that’s how it appears in Ruta Sepetys’s Out of the Easy.

In the French Quarter in 1950, our main character, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine, is the daughter of a prostitute. When she isn’t working at her beloved book store, Josie works the same brothel as her mother as a cleaner. Unsatisfied with the options offered to her, Josie uses both her book and street smarts to plan her way out of the Big Easy. However a peculiar death in the Quarter pulls Josie into the investigation. Josie is put through many trials and is caught between her Smith College dreams and her dark underworld reality. Continue reading