Below is an excerpt from my master’s thesis Conjure Women: The Importance of the African-American Woman’s Fight Against Racism. It refers to Cassandra Wilson and her Blue Light ‘til Dawn CD. I ran across part of it unexpectedly and was quite inspired, so inspired that I did not want to keep it to myself, and so I am sharing it with you. The portion in italics touched my heart today and I am grateful that God saw fit to channel such words through me.

She has embodied the spirit of Sankofa– going back to learn from the past in order to move forward in the future-and even has an acapella chant on Blue Light that she created herself entitled “Sankofa.” This song is a call to the ancestors for guidance and strength, an acknowledgement of their power.

Oh Sankofa, high in the heavens you’ve soared,

My Soul wants to follow you,

Back to yesterday’s moon,

Will it remember me?

Back to yesterday’s sun,

It will rekindle me.

Rekindle the spirit into tomorrow and high on the wind,

Sankofa flies again and again.

Wilson performs all the vocal parts, creating intricate harmonies with a hauntingly spiritual quality. It has the hum of Negro spirituals, the drumbeat of Africa. It is a call for connection—connection to the past, present, and future. It is a powerful reminder of the power and the strength of the African spirit which lies inside African Americans. It is a call to awaken that spirit in those who are unaware of its presence and a boost of support to those already connected. It is about touching the heart, opening up to the light, and living in the world from a place of power. It is a call to shed the victim role, release occupation of the place of the downtrodden, and claim our rightful place in the scheme of the human landscape. It is about being a Conjure Woman; taking energy, stirring it up, and creating positive change with it.