How Beyonce’s Grammy Performance Was ‘Inspired’ By Osun, Other Goddesses
In usual fashion, Beyonce’s live performance at the 59th Grammy awards got a lot of people analysing and dissecting, with many saying it was inspired by spiritual figures.
According to Washington Post, analysts say that her performance was inspired by the Virgin Mary, Osun, a Yoruba water goddess associated with female sensuality, love and fertility, Kali, a many-armed Hindu goddess, who is associated with death, sexuality and motherly love, and Venus, a Roman goddess.
On Sunday, the Formation singer came on stage wearing little, leaving her pregnant belly open for all to see, a statement in itself.
As she belted out Love Drought and Sandcastles, pre-recorded projections of Beyoncé with her mother, Tina Lawson and her 5-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy — three generations adorned in yellow — were shown at intervals.
During the performance, which lasted for about 10 minutes, Beyonce was portrayed in various lights.
A projected image of the singer, barefoot and dressed in a gold string bikini, a silk yellow-gold drape flowing behind her — as if she were in water — first appeared on stage.
This is said to be a nod to the African water spirit Mami Wata, or Mother Water, who is often portrayed as half-human and half-fish with long, flowing hair, according to Smithsonian magazine’s Joseph Caputo.
“Mami Wata is known for her beauty. But she is as seductive as she is dangerous. Those who pay tribute to her know her as a ‘capitalist’ deity because she can bring good (or bad) fortune in the form of money. This relationship between currency and water makes sense. Her persona developed between the 15th and 20th centuries, as Africa became more present in global trade.
“The fact that the name Mami Wata is in pidgin English, the language used to facilitate this trade, shows the influence on foreign cultures on the spirit’s image and identity or as Osun, who is often depicted wearing yellow or white with a gold headpiece and surrounded by fresh water,” Caputo said.
Osun dwells in the waters of the Sacred Grove, just outside the city of Osogbo, in Osun state.
Beyonce also paid tribute to Kali, the Hindu goddess, when she appeared wearing a gold headpiece and her dancers draped the reappearing long silk cloth over the crown and extended the ends away from her body.
The flowers scattered around stage loop in an essence of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, sex, beauty and fertility.
Beyonce won two awards on the night while Adele scooped five plaques.