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  • Writer's pictureBelinda Lane

Story: Author Natasha Bowen

Submitted By: J Anthony Spencer

February 10, 2023

In light of Black History Month and the controversy of Disney using Zandile Ndhlovu in The Little Mermaid. I wanted to bring to your attention two books in a series of Black Mermaids. Before the announcement from Disney, author Natasha Bowen who had an interest in mermaids, wanted to entertain the thought of them being black.

What she did was to research myths and legends of West Africa that featured the Mami Wata. The Mami Wata according to folklore, was a vicious siren-like mermaid. But Bowen made them human in both appearance and attitude. The Mami Wata would follow the slave ships and when the “slaves” through either violence or treated violently, they were thrown overboard.

The Mami Wata would gather their souls and usher them to the afterlife. For the sake of transparency, I have to admit I have little time to sit and read. So I opt to listen to my books on Audible (mainly when driving). The first book is Skin of the Sea, where you meet Simi, one of seven Mami Wata. Simi is fated to meet a young man, Kola after being tossed overboard, but still lives. Though this interaction of events which follows both their lives will be changed.

It has always attracted me to books where excellent research lends to a good story. You will read of other fictional creatures such as Yemoja, who is also a mermaid like deity, who is the creator of the Mami Wata, and thus their mission. I have no relationship with either Natasha Bowen or Audible. But like a good movie, I will suggest a good audiobook when I run across it. You don’t have to take my word for it. But you should! Since Amazon owns Audible you can search either title on Amazon and sample them on the book’s page. Both books are expertly narrated by Yetide Badki. And for me a narrator can make or break a story.

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