NewsBlack History Month

More Black Americans turning to spirituality and African traditions over organized religion

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 13:34:26-05

Demographically, Black Americans are the most religious group in the country. Churches and mosques are at the center of political movements and a source for healing and justice.

However, research shows a growing number of Black Americans are turning away from organized religion, and many are now embracing spirituality and African traditions.

Yvette Wyatt is the owner of Motown Witch.

She opened a shop with the same name on Detroit's west side six years ago, selling items like candles and herbs that aid in metaphysical work and traditional African religion and spiritual practices.

Wyatt said in the past two years, the business has skyrocketed.

"Most definitely, especially during COVID, I didn’t get to close," Wyatt said.

She attributes the surge to more Black Americans turning away from western religion and embracing spirituality.

A Pew Research study confirms Black Americans who demographically are the most religious in the country are turning away from organized religion in large numbers.

In one decade, 11% fewer Black people considered themselves Christians and 7% more claim to be unaffiliated with any religion.

Angela Williams is a prime example. She said she was in the Christian church for 34 years and even rose to the rank of minister before feeling unfulfilled.

"The questions that I started asking people didn’t want to answer, like what were our people studying prior to Christianity," Williams said.

She's now an intuitive reader who practices Hoodoo. Unlike Voodoo, Hoodoo is not a religion, but a spiritual practice unique to African Americans, birthed from the combination of different African folk magic traditions during slavery.

"That was their way of dealing with their situation. Like the love work was to keep your family together," Williams said.

In Hoodoo, it's believed everything has a purpose healthwise and in the spirit realm.

Karla Lockard prays to her ancestors every morning, not a diety. She started her spiritual journey 10 years ago, and is also noticing more people inquiring about her root and light work, a movement Williams is excited bout.

"People are starting to learn more about themselves as people and how our lives should be. They are going back to more natural ways," she said.

Because of the growth in popularity, there is now an annual Hoodoo Festival that will be held in May.