• By Usaini Nebianet
    In
    May 11, 2017
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    Igbo man praying to Anansi in "American Gods"

    When people from different cultures unite to create a new nation, what happens to the gods of the past? What kinds of new gods will emerge? In his 2001 novel American Gods, Neil Gaiman asked massive questions about national identity, immigration, and faith, and after years of languishing in development limbo at HBO, an adaptation has finally arrived courtesy of Starz and showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green.
    The prologue of episode one gets violent when the Viking captain realizes that Odin demands a blood sacrifice to summon the wind they need to escape the landing of the first Viking party on the shores of North America after being met with a barrage of arrows.
    In episode two,similar to the flashback we saw in the first one there was a "Coming to America" sequence where a ship was carrying slaves to the New America and it saw a man speaking in Igbo in the scene but was praying to a Ghanaian god, "Anansi".
    Many Nigerians saw this and were completely taken aback, "Who is Anasi, again". But one twitter user mentioned the writer and executive producer of the show Bryan Fuller on Twitter about the flaw. 


    "It's obvious @BryanFuller lumped W. Africa as one tribe. The only explanation as to why an Igbo man is praying to a Ghanaian god. #AmericanGods."
    Much later, he got a response from Fuller himself on Twitter. "In our research, we learned although tales of Anansi may have originated in Africa's Gold Coast, they circulated throughout Africa and beyond" he said in his tweet.


    Yetide Badaki an Ibadan-born actor who plays Bilquis, a washed-up love goddess on the show also gave her two cents on the topic saying; "As a Nigerian who grew up in Nigeria with Anansi tales told by my elders I can attest to that".


    Chris Obi who plays the role of Anubis in 'American Gods' said that his father told him stories about Anansi.
    "My father is Igbo (the dialect spoken on the ship) and growing up, he used to regale us with stories of the 'trickster god Anansi'" tweeted Obi. 


    The scene from the TV series and the follow-up tweets just prove that we pay more attention to the "Americaness"(and probably British from earlier decades) that has been fed to us from all the TV.  It’s an Oh-My-God moment that we should pay attention to and remember that we can't let our culture, myths, legends, gods, deities to be forgotten. We should go back to the books and educate ourselves on everything genuinely Nigerian/African.

     

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