Unveiled: Meet the African Deity of Water and Fertility Who Grants Mothers with Twins, Honored by Beyoncé at the Grammy’s & in Lemonade

At her most recent public appearance, Beyoncé chose to wear a gold sequin gown and headpiece, along with a gold bikini. However, there was more to her fashion statement than meets the eye. Beyoncé was actually paying tribute to an indigenous religious figure, Oshun – a Yoruba goddess from West Africa who is highly revered for her association with twins and motherhood. Oshun is known as the goddess of beauty, fertility, love, order, prosperity, and motherhood, and has been worshipped since the beginning of time. She is often depicted wearing bright yellow and golden clothing and accessories, and some have even likened her to the Christian figure of the Virgin Mary.

Beyonce at the Grammy Awards Sunday night

Oshun is represented in cultures all across the globe

Beyonce paid her respects to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility, in her Grammy Awards performance.

In the video for Hold Up on her latest album Lemonade, the star wears a yellow dress symbolic of Oshun while destroying buildings and cars with her bat Hot Sauce referencing the goddess's wrathfulness when she isn't shown respect

Beyoncé’s video for Hold Up in her recent album Lemonade showcases the artist wearing a yellow dress, representative of the goddess Oshun. She utilizes a bat named Hot Sauce to destroy buildings and cars, symbolizing the goddess’s wrath when disrespect is shown. Dr. Jacob Olupona, a professor of African Religious Traditions and Chair of the Committee on African Studies at Harvard Divinity School, highlights the essential role of Oshun in Nigerian civil society and mythology. According to him, Oshun displayed her strength and prominence from the beginning, indicating her spiritual force. The similarities between Oshun and Beyoncé are evident and significant in establishing the significance of local traditions worldwide. The Nigerian professor, who belongs to the Yoruba people, believes that Beyoncé educates the public about Oshun and shows how indigenous spirituality can be a powerful tool to bring change.

The Shrine of Oshun is located in southwestern Nigeria, Osogbo in Osun State, West Africa

Located in the southwestern region of Nigeria’s Osun State, West Africa, is the revered Shrine of Oshun. Dr. Olupona, an expert on African religions, drew comparisons between Oshun and Beyoncé’s various outfits. During her performance, he noted her portrayal of Oshun’s symbols through her golden chained bikini, yellow cape, bracelets, necklaces, and sun ray crown. These symbols are believed to belong to Oshun, the goddess of pendants and bras, who is known for embracing the golden and yellow theme. The ornaments, which are said to belong to Oshun, are believed to be hidden in the river. While acknowledging the Hindu connections in Beyonce’s gown, Dr. Olupona also recognized the close ties the outfit had with the goddess. He also noted the background dancers’ garb closely associated with devotees of Oshun.

Followers of the Afro Cuban Yoruba religion sit under a painting of Oshun and another deity Chango. Oshun's devotees wear white

The adherents of the Yoruba religion, which originated in Afro-Cuban culture, can be seen gathered beneath a painting depicting Oshun and Chango, two prominent deities within the religion. Those who follow Oshun often dress in garments of white.

The star's dancers wore nude and white dresses during the performance

In the show, the dancers who accompanied the celebrity artist were dressed in white and flesh-colored outfits.

Oshun was respected by her peers for her spiritual energy and power. She often dispelled negative energy

Oshun was renowned among her peers for her spiritual strength and ability to eliminate negative energy. In Yoruba mythology, it is believed that during the creation of the world, male deities did not seek Oshun’s counsel. As a result, she used her spiritual power to render their plans and changes futile. The gods eventually turned to Olorun, the Supreme God, to address their issues without mentioning their disregard for Oshun. However, when Olorun discovered their actions, he laughed and informed the gods that Oshun was crucial in the creation of the universe. ‘She is one of those deities that were highly regarded by the male deities who dominated the traditions,’ he stated. ‘They had no option but to respect her since she had control over them.’

Beyoncé has achieved a level of success that few artists have attained, as demonstrated by Adele’s emotional speech after winning Album of the Year for ’25.’ Adele expressed her gratitude to the Academy and spoke candidly about how motherhood had been challenging. She then praised Beyoncé, describing ‘Lemonade’ as a significant, stunning, and truthful work of art.

During her performance, the artist sang her songs Love Drought and Sandcastles 

While performing, the artist belted out her hits “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.” Adele later shared backstage that Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade” was her album of the year, adding that Beyoncé was her lifelong icon. According to Dr. Olupona, Beyoncé has become a significant figure not only in the African American community but also in society as a whole. She has the power to send impactful messages in both political and non-political realms. The Grammys offer a prime platform for her to promote important values like motherhood, which holds a crucial space in American society. Another reason for Beyoncé’s recent celebration was her pregnancy announcement with twins on February 1. She posed in a goddess-like manner in a photoshoot, along with her daughter Blue Ivy, further highlighting her powerful persona.

Beyonce performed a daring chair stunt during the show during her Grammy performance

In her Grammy performance, Beyonce pulled off a fearless trick using a chair.

The 35-year-old star was led by her dancers while she performed 

As her dancers led the way, the famous 35-year-old star put on a captivating performance. The movement of the Yoruba religion occurred mainly due to the Atlantic slave trade. Now, local religions such as Candomble (Brazil), Santeria (Cuba and Puerto Rico) and Umbanda (Argentina) all have roots tracing back to the Yoruba religion, which has followers all over the world. Dr. Olupano shared about the Yoruba tradition of twin deities Ibeji, Taiwo and Kehinde. Even though Taiwo was born first, Kehinde is considered the senior one as he checked if the world was ready for their birth. This story helped the Yoruba people decide which twin would be in charge if they were born in leadership positions. The cult of Oshun values twins greatly, perhaps explaining why Beyoncé gave homage to the goddess after announcing her pregnancy. According to Dr. Olupano, twins hold a significant place in Oshun’s cult since she gave children to mothers and could have given one child, but chose to give two.

Beyoncé’s music video for the song Hold Up in Lemonade features her wearing a bright yellow dress while wielding her bat, “Hot Sauce,” to wreak havoc on buildings and vehicles in what appears to be a peaceful neighborhood. According to Dr. Olupona, this is reminiscent of the vengeful deity Oshun, who is often associated with a malevolent temper and a sly smile. He notes that Beyoncé’s sinister grin before laughing menacingly is a clear indication of this comparison. Dr. Olupona tells a story of a confrontation between Oshun and the god of herbal medicines, Osanyin, to illustrate the similarities. In the story, Osanyin planned to harm Oshun’s mother clients with a medicine made from ground leaves, but Oshun managed to prevent him by distracting him. After she succeeded, she threw the medicine away and mocked Osanyin. This illustrates how Oshun takes great pleasure in destroying evil and negative energy in society, which is exactly what Beyoncé was channeling in her music video.

Local religions – like the Candomble (Brazil), Santeria (Cuba and Puerto Rico) and the Umbanda (Argentina) – can all trace their roots to the Yoruba and the religion now has strong bubbles of support all over the world

Indigenous faiths such as Candomble in Brazil, Santeria in Cuba and Puerto Rico, and Umbanda in Argentina all have their origins rooted in Yoruba religion. These local religions have gained widespread support across the globe.

Oshun is also a river goddess and Beyonce channels that at the beginning of Hold Up 

In the song “Hold Up”, Beyonce embodies the characteristics of Oshun, a deity associated with rivers.

Dr Olupona said: 'What she was doing in typical Oshun mythology is she was trying to destroy what she considered forces of evil'

According to Dr. Olupona, Beyonce used the story of Oshun in order to combat what she believed were evil forces and bring about change both in the US and abroad. The professor believes that Beyonce is well-suited to lead this conversation and highlight the importance of local traditions, as they have global significance and can teach us a great deal. Additionally, Dr. Olupona praises Beyonce for being an excellent artist and role model, noting that her pregnancy was a natural and beautiful part of her performance. Ultimately, he concludes that everyone is paying attention to Beyonce and her message.

Beyonce posted about her pregnancy on Instagram on Feb. 1 and became the most liked photo on the social media platform

On February 1st, Beyonce took to Instagram to announce her pregnancy, and in doing so, she earned the title of having the most liked photo on the platform.

She also posted a maternity photo shoot featuring five-year-old Blue Ivy again emulating the goddess

In another post, she shared a maternity photoshoot in which her daughter, five-year-old Blue Ivy, once again imitated the goddess.

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