Black Goddess Rising: A Digital Archive

Black Goddess Rising is an electronic research and teaching tool that brings together in one place digitized images and user-generated content (UGC)  related to African/Diasporic/Black Goddess studies, making them easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers. This digital archive is a curated collection of digital images including photographs, digital artwork, memes, and Youtube videos created by or about black goddesses in the 21st century. The archives is comprised of two collections, the Image Collection and the Video Collection. The archive will expand as we continue to collect more digital images and videos, create metadata, and produce scholarship in coming years. For more information on the theoretical and methodological frameworks for the archives as a digital project, please read the About page.

Representations and discourses on African/Black goddesses are becoming more visible through social media, video platforms, and user-generated content on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. This development presents several challenges for research, including the ways in which meanings of African/Black goddesses are shifting in online environments, questions concerning the use of digital methodologies for research projects that focus on digital religion,  critical strategies for black cyberfeminist and cyberwomanist interventions into the digital humanities, and black women’s use of digital media and video platforms to create counter-narratives and sacred spaces that reflect their own engagements with (and reclamation of) black goddess archetypes, goddess heritages of African diasporic/black women, and the recovery and/or reinterpretations of goddess myths,  performances, rituals, representations, and spiritual praxis.

Representations of Black goddesses in popular culture via television and movies (The Queen of Sheeba, known as Biliquis on American Gods and “Papa” in the movie The Shack) have been at the center of debates concerning gender, race, and re-imaginings of the divine. Celebrities such as entertainment performers Beyonce (her 2017 Grammy performance as Oshun, a Yoruba Orisha) and Rihanna (her tattoo of the Egyptian goddess Isis in memory of her grandmother) have used the symbolic capital of Black goddesses as forms of artistic expression and positive affirmation of black womanhood.