The Original Hoodoo Guru

"Jeho-vah is why we are in Vietnam," Ishmael Reed wrote in his 1969 Neo-Hoodoo Manifesto, an anti-religion, pro-religious tract that serves as the touchstone for the exhibition "NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith," showing at the Miami Art Museum. Reed's essay-poem claims "every artist is a priest" in neo-hoodoo, a religion without hierarchal structure, so every man and woman is his or her own voodoo temple with his or her own rituals and ceremonies. The exhibition, however, has none of the work of Reed, a poet-novelist-musician-activist-etc. who, despite his association with the African-American literary canon, has always possessed a fiercely individualistic streak. In other words, if you want to know about Ishmael Reed, you need to hear about it from Ishmael Reed.

And this Wednesday is your opportunity to hear in person the esteemed man of letters. Reed will give an 8 p.m. talk at Books & Books titled "Reed's Neo-Hoodoo: From New Orleans to Lagos to Miami," in association with the Miami Art Museum. The event is free, but the chance to hear a living legend is priceless.
Wed., Sept. 9, 8 p.m., 2009
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P. Scott Cunningham