West African Storytelling: Seen Throughout Black Culture Today

A West African storyteller, also known as a Griot, historically has been responsible for passing down oral tradition. The Griot is society’s historian, storyteller, musician, and poet.

Griots memorized and recited stories of important events and people. Wise sayings often come from Griots, such as “it takes a village to raise a child.” Storytelling was and is used both to teach and to entertain.

Storytelling is a community practice, and calls for participation. The practice of “call and response”, as we still see in Black cultures all over the world today, originated in storytelling. The storyteller makes a call, and the audience responds according to the call. That can be seen a lot in Black music today as well.

Many times, African storytelling uses multiple references to animals and earthly things. Many times the animals have the characteristic of the moral lesson they are trying to get across. For example, a fox that ruins a vineyard can represent an evil person trying to ruin a relationship.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson about African storytelling. This is a practice still seen in much of Black culture and was essential when passing down history through slavery. We should hold on to the stories our ancestors have told us!

Enjoy Loves! ❤️

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