In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven

Panel Discussion: Spiritual Reclamation as a Revolutionary Act

  • Her Majesty Queen Mother Dowoti Desir Hounon Houna II is a Manbo Asogwe (high priest) in Haitian Vodou and a chief of the Zangbeto and Egungun secret societies, as well as an author, critical theorist, curator, and founder of the AfroAtlantic Theologies & Treaties Institute.

  • Dr. Wade W. Nobles is a professor emeritus at San Francisco State University, a Ghanaian development chief, and author of Voodoo or IQ: An Introduction to African Psychology.

  • Yeye Luisah Teish, a storyteller-writer, artist-activist, and spiritual guidance counselor, is an initiated elder (Iyanifa) in the Ifa/Orisha tradition of the West African diaspora.

  • Iya Susheel Bibbs emphasizes unsung ancestors in her work on stage, in writings, and in film. She has participated in Ifa since 1991, Vodou since 2001, and was initiated in Voodoo in 2006. She is the author of Heritage of Power: Marie LaVeaux to Mary Ellen Pleasant.

  • Tracy Brown, the organizer of this event and panel moderator, is an artivist and curator. She has spent more than a decade photographing funerals and memorials around the world and has taught photography and visual culture in remote villages and urban centers.

Described by Variety as “vivid and heartfelt,” In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven seeks to illuminate the practice of faith that is prevalent in West Africa, specifically Benin, known as “the cradle of Voodoo.” The documentary weaves together personal, cultural, and spiritual journeys—capturing the vibrant tales of Voodoo, West Africa, and Benin’s favorite son, actor Djimon Hounsou. Following Hounsou back to the country of his birth, it is the story of a man rediscovering the core of his past and the lessons that the world can learn from a vibrant, yet misrepresented way of life.

This program is part of BAMPFA’s Black Life series, in collaboration with guest curator Tracy Brown.

  • Djimon Hounsou
  • Douglas Thompson
  • Kwaku Alston
Print Info
  • Color
  • Digital
  • 65 mins
  • Gunpowder & Sky