In the opening scene of episode 2 of the TV series
The Igbo man who is speaking in Igbo dialect is praying to Anansi, a god from the gold coast region (now Ghana) of West Africa to free him from impending slavery.
The strange thing about the scene was that the Igbo man was praying to a Ghanaian god. Many Nigerians who watched the show picked up on this supposed error real quick including me.
Last night I mentioned the writer and executive producer of the show Bryan Fuller on Twitter about the flaw. "It's obvious @BryanFuller lumped W. Africa as one tribe. The only explanation as to why an Igbo man is praying to a Ghanaian god. #AmericanGods." Bryan Fuller has worked on several American TV shows such as Hannibal, Heroes, and others.
Hours later I got a response from Fuller himself on Twitter. "In our research, we learned although tales of Anansi may have originated in Africa's Gold Coast, they circulated throughout Africa and beyond" he tweeted in his response.
At first, I thought it was just a PR response from a Hollywood top dog who had made a mess on African culture. A minutes later I got two replies from two Nigerian actors who feature on the show.
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"As a Nigerian who grew up in Nigeria with Anansi tales told by my elders I can attest to that" tweeted actress Yetide Badaki. She plays the role of Bilqis in American Gods who so far is a fan favourite because of her unusual method of sucking people's souls...and bodies as well.
Yetide Badaki was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. Three years later she moved to England. Badaki graduated with a major in English Literature (Theater) and a minor in Environmental Science from McGill University. She also has a Masters Degree in Fine Arts in Theatre from Illinois State University. She has acted in a bunch of American TV series such as 'Lost', 'Criminal Minds', and 'Masters of Sex'.
After Yetide Badaki's tweet, I received another reply from another Nigerian actor on the series. Chris Obi who plays the role of Anubis in 'American Gods' said that his father told him stories about Anansi.
"My father is Igbo (the dialect spoken on the ship) and growing up, he used to regale us with stories of the 'trickster god Anansi'" tweeted Obi.
Wow...this was a great educative moment. Apparently, Anansi is present in Igbo culture and mythology. Who would have thought? It does require more research to find out more about Anansi and Igbo mythology.
When the Europeans came into Africa and mapped out the continent, they put our tribes in boxes. Before their arrival, it was common for tribes to migrate to other places.
American Gods is starting out to be a great show as well as an educative one. Take us back to our roots.