*+-Rev. Irene Monroe: Misconstrued by racist images, of zombies rising from graves, jungle drums, orgiastic ceremonies ritualizing malevolent powers of black magic, and engaging in cannibalism, by today’s popular culture images courtesy of Hollywood’s and New Orleans’ tourism industries, Vodou is a persecuted religion.
*+-Rev. Irene Monroe: A talented pianist and blues singer, and one of the most notorious and successful entertainers during the Harlem Renaissance, Bentley cultivated a large LGBTQ following up until the 1950s. As an African-American woman whose success derived from her raunchy and salacious lyrics to popular tunes, Bentley not only openly sang about sex, but she also openly lived and celebrated her sexual orientation as an out lesbian.
*+-Rev. Irene Monroe: Within the African- American LGBTQ community, Black History Month has always come under criticism. And rightly so! The absence of LGBTQ people of African descent in the month-long celebration is evidence of how race, gender and sexual politics of the dominant culture are reinscribed in black culture as well.