Sokari Ekine is a Queer Nigerian British Feminist, diasporic nomad, visual scholar, and activist, writer, educator seeking out new possibilities and ways of being beyond the normative and hegemony of whiteness, heterosexuality and native informers. I began Black Looks: 2 in June 2014 after moving on from Black Looks: 1 which ran from June 2004-2014 and which includes a 10-year archive of LGBTIQ Africa and other writings on African related issues.
With Black Looks: 2 I wanted to change the focus of my scholarship from the textual to the visual and as a way of documenting my personal journey and scholarship towards African Diasporic Spiritual Practices which had begun during extended periods in Haiti working as a writer, teacher, and advocate. In 2014 I undertook the ceremony of “Lave Tet”, a three-day isolation engagement with the Lwa that includes a spiritual cleansing, and identifying my ‘Lwa met tet’ [the one or more Lwa that walk with me] and confirm myself as a Vodouizan or sèvitèGinen. It is through my interaction as a sèvitè [one that serves the Lwa] that I came to see photography as a way of creating something beautiful through my personal experience and understanding of Haitian Vodoun.
My life in Haiti has been a gift that I hold close to my heart, even though most of the time it required a great daily struggle to accomplish. Between 2011 and 2016, I spent three to four months a year in Haiti working on various projects associated with SOPUDEP Community and the IDP Camp Acra. .The gift of Haiti was made possible by a number of people some still with us, some who have passed on. I mention them here: The family at Penier, Rea Dol and Bato who have taken care of me as a member of their family since 2007; Elie Jean-Louis, dedicated activist and visionary who passed away suddenly in July 2015.
My brother and comrade, Serge Supre, without whom none of this would have been possible, and who passed away on 2nd February 2016; Rony Desire, my adopted son who forced me to speak Creole and with whom I traveled far and wide across this beautiful country; my teachers: Godmother, Manbo Gina Baptiste of Tamp Simbi in Port-au-Prince, and Dorsanvile Estime, the Sèvitè of Lakou Badjo.
Together they taught me the Haitian way of Living through Vodoun as an everyday living, breathing experience. I would also like to mention, the late Dr Margaret Armand, for her belief and support of my work and for giving me another perspective on Haitian Vodoun. Finally, I cannot leave this space without acknowledging the “Lwa met tet” whose presence gives me much joy and peace.