A friend or colleague of mine read Rise of an African Elemental recently and we had a fantastic conversation about the depth and breadth of Africana Womanist symbolism and thought within the series. It’s always exciting to me when readers are able to pick up on the details.
Africana Womanism celebrates Black women's strength while acknowledging our unique oppression. It rejects narratives that antagonize Black men or portray Black women as superheroes incapable of vulnerability.
In the series, the heroines like Mawu, Shania, and Iniko draw strength from their communities while facing very real dangers. Shania is a domestic violence survivor, which some, unfortunately, criticize as making her "weak." But her experience mirrors the reality that even the strongest women can fall victim to abuse.
Iniko's struggle depicts how even healthy relationships can turn toxic. Her estranged husband kidnaps their daughter in a sinister ritual, subverting expectations of Black fatherhood. Both women brave uncertainty and past trauma to rescue their children.
Their allies like Deacon offer compassion rather than judgment. Together the characters protect their people from supernatural threats while also healing past hurts.
The series honors Black feminism's emphasis on wholeness over limitation. Survivors are recognized as multifaceted, aided by chosen families and in turn strengthening their communities. Ultimately the stories convey Africana Womanism's vision of empowerment through empathy and solidarity across gender.
If you’ve read the series or would like to let me know what you thought about how I wove-in womanist thought and symbolism, drop me a comment below.
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