That’s the message that resonated with those who were in the presence of the 51st Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi during his visit to the MoCADA Museum in Brooklyn on Monday.
With his royal entourage in tow, accompanied by musicians communicating to the Clinton Hill neighborhood with traditional Yoruba sounds who came to visit, the Ooni came with the gift of love, understanding and the yearn to bring Africans and Diasporans together once and for all.
Okayafrica’s CEO, Abiola Oke, began the conversation to an intimate group of attendees (not forgetting to first pay his due respects) with questions for the Ooni, including his plans to return Yoruba art back to its rightful owners from our world renown museums, how Yoruba culture and religion has stood firm in the Diaspora after the atrocities of slavery, and how he intends to unite the Diaspora.
“My responsibility, that God almighty gave to me, is to unite the entire black race—as one happy family,” Ogunwusi says. “Nobody should take away our self-worth again. Nobody should take away our self-esteem again. Nobody should take away our confidence again.”
He also emphasized the thread that, in a sense, inadvertently kept the Yoruba spirit alive:
“The strongest religion across this continent [the Americas] is African religion. Strongest ’til date. It’s like a kinetic energy—it never left us. It never, ever, left us.”
New York State Senator Kevin Parker then took a moment to present the Ooni with a legislative resolution that passed to commemorate the occasion. The Ooni in turn presented the MoCADA Museum with a beautiful work of art from Ile-Ife, with executive director, James E. Bartlett, accepting the gift.
The air—filled with àṣẹs and praises—was lingering with this plea from the Ooni:
“Please—pass this message along to your fellow African-Americans, Caribbean—Trinidad and Tobago. All of us are cut from the same cloth.Why should we not love one another? Why should we dislike one another? Why can’t we all come together as one, and sustain the brotherhood?”
To watch the visit in full, take a look at our Facebook Live stream here.
See more the Ooni of Ife’s visit to MoCADA with the photos, photographed by Ginny Suss, below: