When Nola Darling, the main character in Spike Lee’s Netflix comedy-drama She’s Gotta Have It, is assaulted in a season one episode, her Afro-Puerto Rican lover Mars Blackmon suggests she sit with his sister for a cleansing. A santera known as Lourdes (Lulu for short) can remove Nola’s “negative ions and energies,” as Mars describes them.
Toward the end of the season, Nola finally seeks a consulta (consultation) with Lulu in her Brooklyn projects apartment. “Let’s see what Elegua has for Ms. Nola,” Lulu says as she channels the deity, or orisha, known to hold the answers to all questions. Behind Lulu is a display of spiritual tools: Lit candles, water, and cowry shells, with a backdrop symbolic of Yemaya, a Yoruba orisha, the ”goddess of the sea.”
African spiritual traditions have permeated pop culture over the last several years, from scenes like this one in She’s Gotta Have