Ọya’s Tornado

                                                   

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“JOURNEY INTO THE COSMOS OF THE SELF”:

An Interview with Dr. Teresa N. Washington



 

 

ỌT: Dr. Teresa N. Washington is the author of Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Àjẹ́ in Africana Literature; The Architects of Existence: Àjẹ́ in Yoruba Cosmology, Ontology, and Orature; and Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence: Divinity in Africana Life, Lyrics, and Literature as well as numerous oft-quoted books chapters and lauded articles. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, Teresa.

TNW: It's my pleasure! I am grateful for your support, Oyadare. I thank you, and I thank everyone who reads my works: You, my readers, are the reason that I write! Thank you for your energy, critiques, and enthusiasm!

ỌT: As the author of the first and most definitive books about the Yoruba power called Àjẹ́, I am sure readers will welcome this interview.

TNW: Well, I just hope I can share information that will contribute to our elevation.


Because there is so much interest in Àjẹ́, I would like to begin our discussion by dispelling some myths.

1)  There are no priests or priestesses of Àjẹ́. There is no need for such entities because Àjẹ́ are the “Gods of Society” the “Architects of Existence.” No Àjẹ́ needs an intermediary, a go-between, to access her own power. What is more, we are all unique. Your Àjẹ́—your powers, abilities, and strengths and weaknesses—is uniquely yours. Your manifestation of Àjẹ́ will reflect your character, identity, and abilities. For these reasons, I think the first step in understanding one’s powers or in healing psychic wounds or in bridging psychological gaps is for the person to go inside and commune with the Self because the Self is the Source.

Although we may try to avoid it and have numerous distractions to turn our heads, the Self, the Àjẹ́ ninú—the inner Àjẹ́—is our primary, expert, and most dependable source of knowledge. Sometimes the most difficult thing for a person to do is to be alone with the Self and to explore the core of one's being. But it is from that self-evaluation and honesty that empowerment and actualization flow. This journey into the Cosmos of the Self is also the only way for a person to truly know her (or his) Àjẹ́ and her (or his) earthly and cosmic obligations.

2)  There are no shrines, churches, temples, etc. of Àjẹ́. The reasons for this are elementary and important. Every Africana woman is, in and of herself, a temple, repository, and sanctuary of Àjẹ́. The Africana vagina and womb constitute the shrine and inner sanctum of the temple of Àjẹ́. So, if you want to worship you need only go inside to the Source.

As I discuss in Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts, the ẹgbẹ́ Àjẹ́ is the political collective that ensures the existence of this planet. This is why Àjẹ́ are called Ayé, Earth. Their work is the foundation of all earthly existence and continuity. Their work is so vast, complex, and profoundly important that the thought of it being undertaken in an earth-bound edifice or via a cyber space is ludicrous. 

Ignorance about (and perhaps fear of) the magnitude of Àjẹ́ and its centrality to existence leads people to debase and pervert it with infantile comparisons to “witches,” “crones,” “witchcraft,” “covens,” and other delimited, marginal, and, in some cases, imaginary Caucocentric constructs. To better appreciate the scope of Àjẹ́, we need a better understanding of the womb and The Womb. As I detail in The Architects of Existence, every female newborn enters this world with approximately 2 million eggs in her ovaries. These eggs are all unique and have unique destinies, desires, and existences. When menstruation begins, these eggs cycle, rotate, and revolve through the female body. Only a select few undergo the supreme mathematics of fertilization, division, and multiplication that results in human life. To understand Àjẹ́ we must recognize that the human womb is a microcosmic cosmos, and everything that is happening inside a woman is also occurring externally in the Cosmos—which is the Womb of Odù, who is the Àjẹ́. If we consider each egg to be a thriving planet with manners of existence the average mortal can neither see nor comprehend, we have a better understanding of the infinite depths of Odù.

One of the reasons it is difficult for most people to understand the vastness of Àjẹ́ and Odù is the globalization of compulsory miseducation. As it relates to astronomy and cosmogony, the myth that there's a colossal Caucasian man-god in the sky creating things with his index finger works in tandem with the lie that the most intelligent entity on the Earth is the Caucasian male. These lies, which are reified constantly in schools and in mainstream media, are stymying the development of the Earth and all of its life forms.

3)  The third misconception I would like to address concerns Àjẹ́ and initiation. Àjẹ́ is a biological, genetic, and spiritual element. It is transferred biologically and genetically. It is one with the blood, bones, and DNA of the Africana woman. Consequently, as it concerns Àjẹ́, the ultimate initiation occurs when the Africana mother gives birth. This is why the clitoris, vagina, womb, breasts, breast milk, and menstrual fluid all boast stunning potency and immediate scientific and medicinal efficacy, and I analyze these power sources in detail in The Architects of Existence.

Dr. S. M. Opeola, a revered scholar and spiritualist, reveals important information that I detail in my book. He states that the Àjẹ́ of infants and children in traditional Yoruba society is recognized and developed by community Mothers—not through initiation—but through systematic training that is a holistic, organic, and seamless aspect of existence. The training in question is not one-size-fits-all. To quote Papa Labas, Ishmael Reed’s reincarnation of Òrìṣà Ẹlẹ́gbára from the book Mumbo Jumbo, the training must fit your head. It must fit the needs of the individual Àjẹ́ and her/his destiny and community. This is why the wisdom and perceptions of the Mothers are so significant. They customize education in the same way that breast milk is customized for every individual child.


ỌT: So, a person cannot get initiated into Àjẹ́ in a week-long ceremony or after a few years of apprenticeship.


TNW: No. As it concerns Àjẹ́, you cannot be initiated into something you are not, and you don't need to be initiated into something you inherently are. I feel it is important to address these misconceptions because there are people who are eager to take advantage of others, and there are many people seeking shortcuts to knowledge and power. This is why I stress the importance of going inside. Because when you know your self, your power, and your destiny, no one can deceive, sway, or trick you, and you can experience full and unfettered elevation that is aided by real wisdom-keepers.


ỌT: Teresa, could you say a bit more about the importance of going “inside?” 


TNW: Yes, that journey is essential. Capitalism has so confused the world that people think that anything can be purchased. When it comes to self-actualization and enlightenment, money is the cheapest and quickest way to cheat and betray the Self. The real work of self-development and self-empowerment begins inside. Miles Davis is a great example: He studied at Julliard. He studied with the greats: “Dizzy” Gillespie and Charlie “Bird” Parker, and he learned so much from his elders. But he said his struggle was to find a way to play the music that was inside of him. When he was able to manifest the internal externally, he crafted a sound that is unlike any other. It is his signature, his artistic DNA. Miles went inside. He conferred with his Àjẹ́ inú and his orí inú—his inner head. He perfected ìlutí, the ability to be taught and to listen effectively, and he worked; he worked hard. With this skill-set, Miles was able to fully manifest his divinity—repeatedly.

ỌT: It is significant that you use Miles Davis as an example of a manifest Àjẹ́. You do a wonderful job of revealing the diversity of Àjẹ́ in your analyses of men with Àjẹ́ and of what you call the “Mother-son Àjẹ́ dyad."

TNW: In The Architects of Existence I devote a chapter to the relationships between Àwọn Ìyá Wa, "the Mothers," and their "sons," Yoruba men. I stress in my book that every male is a son before every female—no matter her age, because the female bears the womb of origins upon which men depend for existence, continuity, and immortality. An important point that I make in The Architects of Existence is that, as a son or child of the Mother, the Africana man occupies a most privileged and coveted position, that of adored child who lingers and learns at Mother’s breast and is ever-enveloped in Mother’s love, protection, and power.

ỌT: Images of Aset nursing Heru come to mind…

TNW: Exactly, Oyadare. That’s the iconic image of the African mother and son divine Àjẹ́ dyad. When we examine how oppressors have attempted to rape that image of its African identity, characteristics, and power we gain a better appreciation of the significance of the Àjẹ́ Mother-son union.


Because of the gender conflicts that have arisen in Africana communities as people vie to occupy oppressive  oppressor-made stations of power, in The Architects of Existence I focus on the gender balance instituted by the Originals, such as Àjẹ́ and Ògbóni. Another of the relationships I analyze in The Architects of Existence is that of Iya Lekuleja and Toyin Falola which elucidates the bond between the Mothers and their chosen sons for, while they are not biologically related, Iya Lekuleja and Toyin Falola forge a bond that is immortal. Iya Lekuleja is the quintessential Àjẹ́, and to better understand the work of terrestrial Àjẹ́ and why they are heralded as Ayé, we need only look to her. When Iya Lekuleja realizes that her son is acting in ways detrimental to their existence, she corrects and cleanses him in a manner that is both extraordinary and extraordinarily logical before enfolding him in the womb of her Àjẹ́ to ensure he is in full alignment with his destiny. What Iya Lekuleja does for Falola is the closest thing to an “Àjẹ́ initiation” one might imagine, and it is the closest thing to being reborn that one can experience outside of one’s womb of origins. Iya Lekuleja undertakes her actions out of necessity, to ensure and secure Falola’s destiny—not for money or prestige or to gain acolytes. Her Work is wholly selfless and her love for her son surpasses that of many of his biological relatives. That is Àjẹ́.

ỌT: From your writings on and illumination of Àjẹ́ you reveal a force that is—like Iya Lekuleja—at once fundamental and unfathomable.

TNW: Just like the cosmos, just like us. We Africana women are microcosmic manifestations of Àjẹ́ Odù; we embody Odù, which means Infinite Depths of Cosmic Blackness. Our power resides in our blood and bones and DNA, and it is transferred just like our genes and characteristics. One of the signature characteristics of Àjẹ́ is melanin because melanin is vital to human physical, cognitive, and spiritual development.

When we recall that university education and higher learning are products of African genius and that according to French historian Count Constantine de Volney the “arts, science, and even the use of speech,” were created by Africans, we can begin to understand the connection between melanin and intellect. The impact of melanin and melanin-concentrating hormone on REM sleep is especially important to spiritual development, and many spiritualists state that ancestors and Gods share sacred wisdom with them in their dreams. Many spiritualists assert that the intensity of one’s melanin is directly related to one’s spiritual power. For examples we can turn to such Gods as Odùduwà, the Womb of Infinite Blackness that Creates All Existence; Ausar, the Lord of Perfect Blackness; and Ast, Ausar’s complement who, despite being bleached, raped of power, and compartmentalized as the Virgin Mary, is still heralded in her original form around the world as the Black Madonna.

As Rowland Abiodun’s research reveals, melanin is so important that the Yoruba soul who watches Ọbàtálá mould its human form beseeches the creator:

Make me Black,
Do not make me yellow
Make me Black,
Do not make me white
Dye me with my ìwà first at the dawn of creation


As I state in a few publications, the soul is demanding the completion and perfection of undiluted melanin. The soul is begging, mould me in the image of Odùduwà; fashion me in the form of Odù. Do not adulterate my ìwà; do not dilute my power. Give me all of my cosmic depth at the dawn of creation so that I can fully manifest my destiny and my divinity.

I think it is important to understand that ìwà is not only characteristics and existence but it is also, logically, genetics. As I discuss in The Architects of Existence, geneticists found that Yoruba people are genetically different from Caucasians and Asians. The Yoruba have a greater number of signals on X chromosomes with which to map genes. Perhaps the ability to select and map optimum genes is the manner by which Odù and Odùduwà created exemplary human beings, beings who are inherently divine, who are Gods. Perhaps their genetic composition is why the Yoruba often refer to themselves as a superlative race of human beings and hold that Ilé-Ifẹ̀ is the origin  point of existence. Perhaps the proliferation of Yoruba culture across the globe—from Brazil to the Bahamas from Colombia to Cuba from Honduras to Haiti—can be linked to a specific type of genetic dominance.

While social romantics enjoy chanting, “We are all alike inside” (and what they mean by that is we are all Caucasian inside), we are not alike. We are not supposed to be. We are diverse entities with different origins and roles on this planet and, for some of us, in the Cosmos.

ỌT: Àjẹ́ is often discussed as if it is a religion or a superstition or a cult, but what you are describing is a science that includes genetics, chemistry, physics, astrophysics… This reminds me of the Jamaican definition of obeah, which is another word for Àjẹ́, as “science.” The reasons for the use of this term are becoming more clear.

TNW: Yes, ma’am, Àjẹ́ is a science. We could also describe Àjẹ́ as the Supreme Mathematics. The Caucocentric system of compulsory miseducation leads us to believe that anything African must be superficially mystical, wrapped in incoherent dogma, smothered in sacrifice and libation, and undergirded by tricks. But African wisdom is rooted in science, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, nuclear physics, quantum physics and much more. As I discuss in Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence, in order to understand such Yoruba technologies as kánàkò, egbé, and ọfẹ; such Igbo technologies as ekili, ndena, and ibi iboo; and BaKongo nkisi and prenda, to name only a handful of technologies, one must understand quantum physics, astrophysics, biological science, mathematics, and more. Yoruba culture is deep, complex, and perfectly curvilinear! By simply learning to count in Yoruba one learns addition, subtraction, and multiplication at once. Opeola's research reveals that Ifá divination could very well be the world’s first computer. I describe Yoruba words as odù kékeré little pots of profundity that overflow with intricately connected and, sometimes, opposing meanings.  With such profound mathematical, linguistic, and divination systems, the traditionally educated Yoruba mind is primed for the highest of learning. 

ỌT: Ìṣẹ̀sẹ ‘l’àgbà!

TNW: Òtìtọ́ niooo! The reason so little is understood about African wisdom is because people have bought into Caucasian myths about Africa that are rooted in such fictions as witches, witch doctors, black magic, superstition, etc.  These things are all part of the Caucasian imagination and imaginary. In actuality, elements, forces, and equations that eluded and elude Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Isaac Newton were understood, opened, and entered by African spiritualists, who also happen to be scientists, engineers, physicians, astrophysicists, philosophers, and mathematicians, eons ago. Because the racist indoctrination that attends anything related to Africa is so pervasive, the true depth of Africa’s science and technology will remain hidden—and that is a good thing. John Umeh in After God is Dibia discusses how essential, albeit heartbreaking for honest seekers, it is for this science to be concealed at this time because, in the words of Bolaji Idowu from Olódùmarè: God in Yoruba Belief, “charlatans abound…” However, if something is concealed, it is covered, it is within. To find what is within, wisdom seekers with ojú inú and ìlutí need only go…

ỌT and TNW: inside!

TNW: Word! All of the answers are waiting in the womb and The Womb, the biological womb and the cosmos, respectively. Odù is the Mother of All Knowledge; the Source of All Knowing, the Answers to All Questions, the Questions of All Answers.

As overwhelming as the power may seem, the relationship one has with one’s Àjẹ́—as an Africana woman or man—will not make you feel unsure, insecure, or frightened, unless you have committed a trespass for which you must make atonement... Àjẹ́ are Our Mothers, literally. They are the Earth, literally. Our spiritual relationships with these Mother-forces should be as respectful, as organic, and as logical as our terrestrial ones.

Years ago I read an article in which an African brother was asked what rites and ceremonies he had to enter into in order to approach his God. His response was that he speaks to God the same way that he speaks to his mother because that is who God is.

ỌT: Simple and plain.

TNW: Real truth and power are just that. At a book-talk for Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts, organized by Nubian Express bookstore in Shreveport, LA (a vital resource!), I noticed a lovely couple in their mid-thirties. They were not members of an Ifá community; they were members of the Shreveport community. I was honored that they seemed so intrigued by what I was sharing because if only members of select communities can gain from my works, then I haven’t done my job. My works should move a diverse range of humanity. They should move more and more people to the doorways of their inherent divinity. During the Q and A, the husband of the couple asked me what he could do to properly honor his wife’s Àjẹ́. I smiled and told him how rare he was and how blessed his wife was to have him. I told him to ask her to stand, and, while she is standing, I told him he should go on his knees and pray to her vagina and her womb. He should express his love, gratitude, bliss, and promise to her Àjẹ́ which honors him. And right there, he paid her homage. That amazing yet simple Work moved many of us to tears.

ỌT: I’m moved. I'm imagining how our relationships would evolve if more brothers—and sisters—revered the Source. This reminds me of Erykah Badu saying that “a woman must be so wrapped up in her GOD self that in order to find her a man must first find GOD.”  The husband at your book-talk found his wife’s “God self.”

TNW: And, to paraphrase Ntozake Shange from for colored girls, he loved her “God self” fiercely! To me, that couple shows the power of rituals that fit our heads, lives, and loves in organic and elegant ways. The Work should take us deeper into the Self and make us more powerful and more appreciative.

ỌT: Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts and Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence are not typical literary analyses. They are rooted in science, philosophy, and cosmology. It also seems to me that reading your books becomes a ritual act. You seem to be writing with the goal of bringing various disciplines together with life and literature to help us “determine our destinies.”

TNW: Word!  Christian Gaba's research reveals that the Anlo people describe Mawu as the Great Determiner of Destinies and the Ground of All Being. Mawu is the Anlo manifestation of Odù, and Odù is the Mother of Us All, Yewájọbí. But yes, I try to move us to deeper levels of comprehension using holistic wisdom in all of my works, especially Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence.

I think it is tragic that millions of Africana men and women have embraced the identity of “nigger.” As tragic is it is, I understand that it is the easy route that we are encouraged to take in this era. As I often say, it is easy to be a “nigger.” No one expects anything from a “nigger.” Being a God, on the other hand, is very difficult but infinitely rewarding. What I show in Masculine Magnificence is that the Odù Ifá; the Òrìṣà; biblical scriptures; Akil with From Niggas to Gods; Malidoma Somé with Of Water and the Spirit; Allah, the Father with his lessons; Killarmy with “Wake Up”; Sun Ra with his philosophical tracts; and Lord Jamar with “The Sun,” to name a few wisdom works and workers, seem to have the same objective: to introduce “niggers” to their true identities as Gods. I think this is remarkable.

ỌT: You wrote The Architects of Existence and Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence simultaneously, and they are both amazing works. How were you able to do this?

TNW: My daughter who was a nursing newborn and infant while I was writing helped me immensely. She arrived filled with wisdom and drenched me in it.

ỌT: So you were nursing and raising a child while writing, analyzing, and editing? What a testament to the power of Àjẹ́! Tell me more about your motivations.

TNW: I am motivated by two things that are one: My people and my daughter. My work is my child’s inheritance. I write so that even if I can’t tell her, she can pick up my books and know who she is and her role in this world. But my daughter’s Àjẹ́ is so pure, she told me at two years of age who she is! But in this world, it is easy to lose one’s way and one’s focus. If she does, the books will illuminate her path. My goal is to ensure that she will always have and know how to use the keys of continuity.

Before she chose me, my goal was to make sure that my students, my folks, my people, my suns can read my works and know exactly who they are and exactly what they are here to do—without equivocations. I fill my books with all of the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding I have and can amass because that's what we need. There are so many people out there whose sole motivation is to take advantage of a people seeking wholeness. We need books, music, guides, artists, and art that educate, liberate, and elevate. My vocation is my people’s liberation.

ỌT: Many would counter that they are free already.


TNW: You’re right... In this world, there are many covert vehicles of enslavement. They are innumerable. One of the chief enslavers is religion—any and every religion. In an interview, the RZA discussed the etymology of the word “religion.” He revealed that its root word is “to rely.” And then the RZA made an astute point: “If you’re relying on anything other than yourself you’re always gonna have a problem.”

ỌT: That is a powerful point.

TNW: It is because it reveals that the purpose of religion is to lock followers in a state of dependency. One of the things that I love about the Nation of Gods (also known as the Nation of Gods and Earths and the Five Percent) is that they recognize that you, the Africana person, are God. You control your universe, sphere, and existence. It is a way of life rooted in liberation, education, and self-determination. There is no imaginary entity to blame things on, to appeal to, or to con you. Indeed, you cannot buy or lie your way into the Nation of Gods or into Àjẹ́. Àjẹ́ and the Nation revolve around the acquisition of wisdom. Odù means Infinite Wisdom and the Gods are obligated to obtain and to disseminate wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. 

My goal with Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence and The Architects of Existence is to use wisdom to illuminate paths to numinosity. In Masculine Magnificence I quote Cornelius Adepegba who asserts that the Òrìṣà were once human beings, just like us, who manifested their destiny, which is divinity. That human beings should strive to attain divinity is implied in the Yoruba proverb àìkú parí wa, immortality is the result of a fully actualized existence. The divinity of humanity is also stated outright in Psalms 82:6 and John 10:34 of the Bible.

Many folk will think that embracing one’s divinity means lording it over others and becoming an unbearable blowhard. Noooo. Divinity comes with profound responsibilities because the work of the Gods is not to subjugate mortals but to make more Gods. The RZA asserts that 85% of rap music espouses Nation of God wisdom; in other words, Gods such as Rakim Allah, Brother J, Wu Tang Clan, Medusa, Lord Jamar, Hurricane G, Queen Tahera Earth, The Gravediggaz, Killarmy, Digable Planets, dead prez, and many more, are all dropping jewels with the goal of turning “niggas” into Gods.

When you have knowledge of self, the roots of problems and the solutions to problems become clearer. Many people, for example, attribute the Caucasian American love of lynching Africana peoples to racism, which they argue is the result of ignorance. But we’ve been here too long for the excuse of ignorance to hold water.

ỌT: [We] Came Before Columbus!

TNW: Word life. Peace be upon Brother Van Sertima! Racism isn’t fueled by ignorance. The lynchings, including the extra-judicial state-sanctioned lynchings undertaken by police, are the acts of a people who see very clearly our divinity. Their self-abhorrence, bottomless jealousy, and yawning inadequacies move them to try to destroy what can never be destroyed. Divinity is immortal. Look at all we have been through—atrocities that would have pushed any other people into extinction—and we are effortlessly rising and shining.  

“Nigger” is a convenient scapegoat, but there is no reason to kill a “nigger/nigga/niggah”: That entity is already dead. The biggest threat a “nigger” poses is to members of its community. Oppressors are not risking their careers, lives, families, and freedom to kill “niggers.” To quote Erykah Badu’s “On and On, “Most intellects do not believe in God / but they fear us just the same…” She also sings in “Soldier,” “They know who we are…” But too many of us don’t know! Many of our communities are so deeply immersed in "niggerdom" that when some members of the trap/(trapped) generation are introduced to the ALLAH of the Self they quote Lil Wayne's "Tha Heat," "I shoot your Arm-Leg-Leg-Arm-Head." In other words, upon encountering a Black God—even and especially in themselves—their first thought concerns destroying that God.


Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence is such an important book to me because it is clear that so many writers and artists, like Souleymane Cisse with Yeelen, August Wilson with JoeTurner’s Come and Gone, and John McCluskey with Look What They Done to My Song, are striving to help us understand the problems we are facing and to educate us about our identity and responsibilities as divinities. What is more, emerging writers like Asiri Odu with Ah Jubah! share with us a plethora of divinely appointed physical, spiritual, medicinal, and psychological tools that we can use to solve our problems because Gods don’t pray for solutions, they create them.


Given the significance of their work, the Gods are not about ego expansion, amassing the grandest collection of agbáda and ìlẹkẹ̀, or demanding certain brands of gin for libation. Iya Lekuleja and Malidoma Somé’s grandfather Bakhye make it clear that real Gods are so focused on spending themselves in their communities, to paraphrase Idowu’s statement on the role of the true babaláwo, that they shun all material possessions beyond basic food, clothing, and shelter. When one is clothed in and nourished by the Cosmos, what else does one need?


ỌT: One already has and is All.

TNW: Exactly, Ọyadare. Àjẹ́ is Odù is the Cosmos is the Africana woman is Power is All. As Àjẹ́, your ìlẹkẹ̀ is your ìrókò-strong neck. Your crown is your wisdom-filled head. Your royal robes are your children—whether they come from your womb or your community or both. Your healing water is only a loving mother's womb or breasts away. You were born with Odù, and She thrives with you and in you.

ỌT: Àṣẹ wa! You have provided with a feast for the soul with rich offerings to savor and to ponder. Thank you, Teresa, for this nourishment. Thank you for your force, for your dedication.

TNW: This is just me—all day every day. I am grateful to have been chosen. Modúpé!


 


“Journey into the Cosmos of the Self”: An Interview with Dr. Teresa N. Washington, conducted and edited by Ọyadare for Ọya's Tornado, January 9, 2016. © Ọyadare and Teresa N. Washington.

For more detailed information on the topics Dr. Washington discusses in this interview, check out her books 
The Architects of Existence: Àjẹ́ in Yoruba Cosmology, Ontology, and Orature; Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence: Divinity in Africana Life, Lyrics, and Literature; and Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Àjẹ́ in Africana Literature. You can email Dr. Washington at akeredun@yahoo.com.