God and Blackness: Race, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church
Andrea C. Abrams
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38). It was understood by the congregants that part of an Afrocentric consciousness is to refute these ideas by celebrating the natural textures of one’s hair. Rather than being seen as problematic, the coily nature of black hair is seen as powerful and as an organic refutation of European dominance. Nearly half of the women at First Afrikan wear twists, locks, and other decidedly unstraight styles. These women celebrated their coily hair as being one of the most African aspects of themselves.
part of my lineage, you know. So now I’m on that search. 64 << Situating the Self For Valerie, Frances, and Anaya, going to Africa represented, in part, an opportunity to reconnect with the places where their ancestors were born and to return to where they believed they themselves were supposed to be. This is undoubtedly a romantic notion, but it was a romance sullied for Valerie by not knowing where home was and, for Frances, of not feeling at home once she got there. For Anaya, although she
worshipping like the Babylonians was evidence of their Africanness. They remained true to their African culture and belief systems and, thus, were able to transcend the oppressive situation in which they found themselves. Similarly, it is those African Americans who have remained true to their fundamental Africanness who have also avoided exiled and enslaved consciousnesses and thus remained more authentically black. * * * Thus far, I have used “African” and “black” rather interchangeably, as
run the church. Reverends Lomax’s and Coleman’s references to her as “Missionary” and “Mama” reflected both a certain amount of consternation for being taken to task, as well as a respectful acknowledgement of the status that she held within the group. The status as the feminine authority in the church was quite important to Elder Toure, and she embraced the term “Mama,” as to her it underscored the power and respect that women command in families: Everybody that I get to be in a relationship
community struggling with feelings of disconnection from their ancestral, spiritual, and national moorings. Afrocentrism supplies not only explanations for this disconnect with arguments of deliberate marginalization of blackness and privileging of whiteness but also supplies the remedy with arguments of a transcendent and timeless blackness that naturally inheres in all people of African descent. Despite attempts of erasure and acts toward marginalization, Africanness and blackness will persist