Just a couple of days ago Comedic actor Orlando Jones announced his firing from the popular show “American Gods” based off the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman. Orlando’s character “Mr. Nancy” was axed from the cast for the upcoming season 3 and Jones believes it was racially motivated due to the characters strong Black presence. Here’s a clip from the show as well as his response.
So who actually is Mr. Nancy?
The character whose actual name is “Anansi” is based in Ghanian folklore and is a God represented by a spider. He is known to be the master of all knowledge and stories is quite a trickster.
Anansi reminds me of another “pre religion” character, Exu (Ezu) who is a Yoruba God who appeared in the movie “Besauro” (Beetle) a Brazilian movie about the Black hero who used capoeira to defeat Portuguese in post slavery South America. This clip is in another language but Besauro who was careless comes to terms with responsibility after he failed at his job of protecting his mentor the elder and former hero of the people. Exu uses his trickery to drive him mad only to prove certain points that keeps him focused on his path
Both these characters are ancient and pre religion. Some may call them pagan but they’re original and explains more about the soul and your connection to something greater than anything else. Both Anansi and Exu are personifications of the hurdles and brick walls in our lives that are only a hindrance to those who can’t see or don’t want to. They show us the truth with no filter and laughs at our foolish attempts to withdraw from our responsibilities.
In Besauro the God Exu and his actions make him seem like an undefeatable foe but it shows he was really Besauros conscious, the God within fighting to come out. In real life Mr. Nancy or “Anansi” was one of the oral traditions that made it to America by way of the first wave of slavery and it is said that that spirit is what drove the early slave revolts.