A DAY FOR THE OWNER
Exposing the Cyber Life and Crimes of Mercedes Morgana Cordova Bonilla Reyes
AN EVERYDAY THIEF
The person known as Mercedes Morgana Reyes, alias Mercedes Cordova Reyes, alias Mercedes Bonilla, alias Mercedes Morgana Bonilla, alias Mercedes Morgana Cordova Reyes, alias (most recently) "Mercedes Yogini," et. al., has been violating my intellectual property rights since spring 2014. With malice aforethought and with the intention to deceive and defraud, Mercedes has illegally—and without my knowledge or consent—plagiarized and posted to various social media pages and websites numerous passages from two of my books: Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Àjẹ́ in Africana Literature (June 2005) and The Architects of Existence: Àjẹ́ in Yoruba Cosmology, Ontology, and Orature (January 2014). Both of my books are products of my Ph.D. dissertation, which was copyrighted and registered in the Library of Congress in 2000. As separate books, Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts was copyrighted and registered in the Library of Congress in 2005, and The Architects of Existence was copyrighted and registered in the Library of Congress in 2013.
Before 2014, Mercedes was a purveyor of “witch/wicca” products. In the spring of 2014 Mercedes adorned herself with a plethora of titles including “Chief Iyalaje-Erelu Fakinsuyil'Aje Afirimaako Iku Ladde,” “Chief Iyalaje-Erelu Mercedes Morgana Cordova,” “Iyanifa Mercedes Morgana Cordova,” and “Iyalaje Mercedes Morgana Bonilla” (https://www.facebook.com/azramedea). She also opened a Facebook page she called “Egbe Iyami Aje Temple of America” (https://www.facebook.com/ajeiyamihouseofharmony/).
Mercedes knew that she would have to exhibit wisdom befitting her exalted and laughably lengthy titles. Because her personal storehouse of knowledge is meager, she created a Facebook persona that was a patchwork of other peoples’ stolen intellectual property, both images and words, with the objective of using this persona and stolen property to defraud her followers.
When I realized that a person was plagiarizing my intellectual property, I swung into action. From 11/15/2015 to 11/21/2015, I submitted to Facebook approximately 246 reports against Mercedes Morgana Reyes for intellectual property violations. Facebook responded by removing the infringing posts.
With her fictional identity in jeopardy, Mercedes responded as any unrepentant thief would, by claiming her page “Egbe Iyami Aje Temple of America” had been “hacked” and by opening another Facebook page that she titled “Egbe Iyami Aje Temple Worldwide.” She also launched a website, “Egbeajeiyami.com.” She went on to plagiarize my copyrighted intellectual property without my knowledge or permission 47 more times. From 8/17/2016 to 10/11/2016 I reported these violations to Facebook, and they removed the infringing posts. On 12/13/2018, Mercedes violated my intellectual property rights again by posting information from my books to both of her Fakebook pages and to her website. I submitted reports on the violations, and Facebook removed the infringing posts; her service provider shut her entire website down.
I am an easy-going person. I am a humble person. I have dealt with this issue in the most low-key manner possible. I thought that once Mercedes knew that I and others were aware of her fraudulent activities she would stop. However, Mercedes Morgana Reyes is a pathological fraudster. After years of playing wack-a-mole, or bop-a-beast, I decided to share this issue and evidence publicly. This was a difficult decision for me, as I want no association with this type of person whatsoever. However, I discussed this issue with my family, my mentor, a colleague, and a true Ìyá, and everyone agreed that I needed to attack this thief head-on with truth.
My objective in sharing this data is to reveal Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ fraudulent activities so that individuals will know exactly who she is and how she operates. I also seek to protect my words and works as they are my and my family’s legacy. Finally, I hope to shed light on a sinister development that is destroying the Ifá-Òrìṣà global community.
After Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ last theft of my work, 13 December 2018, I scrolled through her Facebook page and found some of her violations that I missed previously. I was delighted to find them because when her posts are juxtaposed to pages from my books, the audacity of Mercedes Morgana Reyes’s thievery is apparent.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes plagiarizes page 206 verbatim from my book, The Architects of Existence (left), as is evident in her Facebook post (right). Note how Reyes tacks on a concluding sentence to give the impression to her followers that the entire post is first-hand information she is giving about her “egbe”.
Reyes’ Facebook post (right) plagiarizes pages 120-121 of my book The Architects of Existence (left). Note that she doubles-down on her fraud by including a copyright symbol © and initials of one of her innumerable pseudonyms with her theft.
Below Mercedes Cordova Reyes plagiarizes from page 96 of The Architects of Existence and, again, compounds her fraud by claiming copyright.
Another example of Mercedes’ verbatim plagiarism from pages 121 and 122 of The Architects of Existence:
Mercedes Morgana Cordova Reyes plagiarizes page 208 of The Architects of Existence. Note that in my book I consistently reference my sources (Ulli Beier and Babatunde Lawal; below, left); by contrast, observe that Mercedes unfailingly omits the names and findings of groundbreaking scholars. Her goal is to fool people into thinking she is giving first-hand information about her “egbe”.
Mercedes Reyes plagiarizes from page 232 of my book The Architects of Existence (left, below). Note that in my book I site the source, Music is the Weapon, and the speaker of the block quotation, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Endnote 74 gives full citation information. Reyes, by contrast, does not attribute the statement to anyone so that readers will think she is referring to her fraudulent organization. She also includes the copyright symbol © and the initials “MBT”; by doing so, she is blatantly committing fraud.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ fraud is fueled by her manipulation and desecration of Africana women and womanhood and this is evident in Exhibits F and G. In EXHIBIT F (above), Mercedes includes two photos of women she claims are part of her “egbe”. She claims these women are “Iya l Aje Ogun Toeye, Iya L Aje Oba Tero Pupa (1910)” (left) and “Iya L Aje Egun Tossi” (right). In actuality, the photo on the left was taken by Henry John Drewal, who is also the copyright holder of the image, and is labeled by him as “Ohori-Yoruba woman with kolo tattoo-scarifications (Benin, 1975)” (http://www.henrydrewal.com/photos-films.html). The black-and-white photo on the right is of Queen Rosalie Gicanda, a Tutsi woman who was born in 1928 and was killed in 1994 during the Rwandan genocide (https://face2faceafrica.com/article/the-tragic-and-little-known-story-of-the-striking-last-queen-of-rwanda-rosalie-gicanda). By deliberately falsifying these women’s identities, Mercedes callously and casually violates all Africana women. This desecration especially egregious given that Queen Gicanda was killed during one of the world’s worst massacres.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes has no shame. She also has no respect for Africana women, Africana history, or Africana female power or empowerment of any type. She uses Our African Mothers as props to fool her followers into thinking her organization is historical and filled with Africana women so that she can defraud those followers.
The disrespect and desecration of Our African Mothers’ is Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ trademark, and what I consider to be the most audacious and offensive of her lies and misrepresentations occurs below. In her Facebook post (below, right), Mercedes claims to be mourning the passing of a woman she calls “Iyalode Ala Ofun III of Ota, Nigeria.” Mercedes refers to “Ala Ofun” as a “priestess” and a mentor who personally taught Mercedes “to be a better woman and the importance of Iwa Pele. . .” In actuality, this photo is of Agatha Emeagwali, an Igbo woman and the mother of Philip Emeagwali. Philip includes this image and many more in his photo essay tribute to his mother. Philip heralds his mother because of how she “suffered” to ensure he and their entire family would not only survive but also thrive (http://emeagwali.com/photoessays/agatha-emeagwali/).
The irony of Mercedes’ blatant serial violations of African women and culture and her use of the internet to undertake her crimes is that Philip Emeagwali is heralded as one of the “fathers of the internet.” His African genius—nurtured and supported by his loving and hardworking mother and father—changed our world (http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1963424_1963480_1963457,00.html).
Mercedes thought she was posting photos of random disposable African women. She has no clue how deep, rich, and significant all Our Mothers are: and she does not care, because Mercedes Morgana Cordova Bonilla Reyes is a morally bankrupt individual whose relationships with Àjẹ́, Ifá, Òrìṣà, and Africa are only as deep as her purse.
THE PATHOLOGY OF CRIMINALITY
Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ Facebook identity is a tenuous fiction; so to protect her façade, she deletes any comment that calls out her deceit. However, cognizant that some people may have seen the critical posts before she was able to erase them, she attacks her critics’ ghosts. This manner of operation leads to disjointed posts and comments.
In the 27 June 2014 post (above) Mercedes acknowledges that individuals have accused her of plagiarizing others’ copyrighted intellectual property. Her response is to lie and state that “when its [sic] not mine i [sic] put the name of the author.” A year later in the 25 June 2015 post (above), Mercedes Cordova Reyes is forced again to address charges of plagiarism. The fact that she lies and continues her thievery is important; this behavior is confirmation that her intention with her Facebook pages and website(s) is to portray herself as the owner of my and other artists’ and authors’ copyrighted intellectual property in a form of cyber identity theft.
I do not know the persons who called out Mercedes’ plagiarism, but I am grateful to them for looking through her smoke and mirrors and consistently telling the truth.
THE EPITOME OF HYPOCRISY
Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ unswerving mendacity is apparent in the post above. Mercedes’ lamentations about people “here in the internet” who haven’t been initiated but are “posting,” “having groups,” and “speaking as if they are experts,” is about herself. She projects her crimes onto a mythical other like a champion pathological liar. In her second comment, she complains that books by some women are “written as if for a class in college no real information.” Jello-headed contradiction aside, Mercedes is aware that I hold a Ph.D. and have taught at universities in America and abroad. But the irony is that she disparages the work I did to produce the book that she plagiarizes to create her fraudulent internet identity. She ends her comment with a shamefully hypocritical statement, “when a book comes out that is worth reading about Aje I’ll post it to this page.” Mercedes Morgana Reyes illegally posted 80% of my book to her page. Her statement serves as confirmation that her objective is to steal my intellectual property and promote it as her own.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes also seeks to dissuade people from reading my books, because if they do, they will immediately know that she is a plagiarist and a fraud. In Reyes’ third comment of the post above she attempts to negate my work by claiming I am “constantly putting down the male sex.” Having obviously read and found tremendous wisdom in my books, she knows that my work is rooted in the Yoruba principle of “tako tabo ejiwapo,” which means men and women must work together to achieve social harmony, balance, and development (see Babatunde Lawal, “Ejiwapo: the dialectics of twoness in Yoruba art and culture,” African Arts, vol. 41, no. 1, 2008, p 24+). What is more, I am also the author of Manifestations of Masculine Magnificence: Divinity in Africana Life, Lyrics, and Literature; it would be difficult for me to be “putting down” men whom I herald as inherently divine.
Also in the third comment above, Mercedes Morgana Reyes is unable to decide which lie to tell about me. Initially she dismisses my work as “not written as an initiate” and “pure academic.” However, she concludes with the admission that “for someone who is not initiated into Aje, her work is confusing.”
The only confusing thing to me is why more people have not seen through her sham.
THREATS AND RETALIATION
Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ responses to my protecting my property and having Facebook remove what she illegally posted are important. Reyes did not respond with contrition, remorse, or honesty. As is apparent in the posts below, she threatened me and vowed to continue plagiarizing my work on various sites. Her threats and actions are as disturbing as the fact that she thinks she has the right to steal my work and use that theft to defraud individuals and groups.
ATTRIBUTION FOR SOME. . .
In the Facebook posts below, Mercedes Cordova Reyes attributes passages from posts to Henry John Drewal “(Drewal”) the author of Gelede and Awo Fatunmbi the author of Iwa-pele: Ifa Quest.
These posts are important because they reveal that Mercedes Morgana Reyes knows right from wrong and legal from illegal. When it comes to my copyrighted intellectual property, she pathologically chooses to violate me, my work, and my rights.
THEFTS OF OTHERS
Because she has no authentic or useful contribution to make about Àjẹ́, Òrìṣà, or African spiritual systems, Mercedes Reyes combs the internet in search of passages to plagiarize and photos to defile. In the Facebook post below (right), Reyes plagiarizes a Google Groups post from 2005 written by a user identified as Afolabi (left).
Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ plagiarized Facebook post includes a reference to the experience of a “close Ocha sister.” If that “close . . . sister” is Afolabi, why not cite and reference Afolabi and include a link to Afolabi’s post? Mercedes doesn’t do this because Afolabi’s full post includes information about various Òrìṣà that Mercedes no doubt plans to plagiarize in the future. Indeed, her concluding statement reveals she is already figuring out how to cash-in on this Òrìṣà.
NEW YEAR: NEW LIES
Below is the beginning of an Ifá reading for 2019 posted by Awodele Ifayemi at https://www.ileifa.org/reading-for-the-year-2019/. The beginning of this reading, coincidentally and quite ironically, relates directly to Mercedes Morgana Bonilla Cordova Reyes:
Below is Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ attempt to plagiarize Ifayemi’s reading while dodging the unavoidable juggernaut of truth. She cobbles together information from various sources and posts a patchwork of idiocy that is criminally offensive to Muslims in general and especially insulting to the millions of Yoruba Muslims who are also Àbòrìṣà. This post is as idiotic, irresponsible, and dangerous as the ignorant impostor who threw it together.
FAUXYA AND FAUXNITIATES
Why is Mercedes Bonilla Morgana Cordova Reyes violating Africana women and men, disrespecting African culture, making a mockery of African spiritual systems, and breaking federal laws? Money. Her goal is to sell gewgaws, elixirs, talismans, “Orisha” (or I should say Fauxrisha) and her real money maker, “initiations.”
The photo on the left is Mercedes Morgana Cordova Reyes painted and posing in a display that could only fool the ignorant. The other photos are some of the women Mercedes has “initiated” into her “egbe.” The person with the red arrow above her head in the middle picture is Mercedes. Mercedes has conducted and publicized many “initiations” since 2014. If each person pays $1,000 to $2000—or more depending on gullibility—that is a sizable profit. And all she had to do was paint herself and hold a carving, open a Facebook page, steal, and lie.
When your “priestess” is a fraud, a thief, and a liar, what has she initiated you into? At best, she has ripped you off; at worse you’ve been initiated into an ẹgbẹ́kẹgbẹ́ or perhaps an ẹgbẹ́-igbé.
Yoruba ontology is rooted in ìwà (character) and Mercedes’ actions, methodology, and intentions clearly mark her as aìníwà. She has no character; she has no authentic wisdom, knowledge, or understanding. Because of her void, she steals from those who intrinsically possess what she can never obtain.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes’ character is identical to that of the enslavers, the “beasts of no nation,”[i] the colonizers who have inflicted innumerable miseries on the world since they emerged from their caves. These “animal[s] in human skin”[ii] will not stop unless they are forced to. They will usurp everything they can and destroy everything they cannot steal. As Ayi Kwei Armah reveals in Two Thousand Seasons, that is their “way.”[iii]
THE WORKER, THE WORK, AND THE WONDERS
I am thankful that my ancestors gave me divine endowments and tools so that I do not have to connive to thrive. I am grateful for my work ethic, my tenacity, my respect for those who came before me, and my curiosity, for they have led me to and through unimaginable wonders.
My life’s work began, in the logical place for a lifework to begin, when I was a child listening to my biological mothers and watching and learning from their Work. The more I learned about our wisdom and powers from my mother, Motherdear, aunts, and great aunts, the more I needed and wanted to learn. That I would eventually travel to the source of Àjẹ́ and study in Nigeria was not only logical; it was inevitable. However, the ancestors who were pulling me to West Africa were often in a tug-of-war with my elders. The only time I saw my Motherdear cry is when I left for Nigeria. I will never forget her profile, because that is all she would show me. She would not look at me or hug my neck, no matter my encouragement or pleas. Her tears flowed like the Mississippi River down her cheeks. She thought she would never see me again. She could easily have been correct.
Unlike many individuals who travel to Africa, I went with a one-way ticket and a mission: to learn as much as I could about Àjẹ́, the source of my and my mothers’ powers and identity. As a lifelong Pan-Africanist scholar, I was proud to matriculate as a doctoral student at “Great Ifẹ̀,” also known as Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), which is a mecca of wisdom, culture, and knowledge. Living in Ilé-Ifẹ̀, the root of Àjẹ́ and the home of humanity and the Gods, was revelatory.
I had no idea when or if I would return to America; I was focused on the road ahead of me, and I needed that focus because I was to have experiences that were life-altering, life-threatening, and life-enriching—sometimes all at once. When I caught malaria and was so sick I could not walk, “Strongman Chris,” my brother from Cameroon, literally carried me to the campus infirmary. The nurse told Chris that because my fever was too high for me to be treated, he had to remove my clothes and pour buckets of ice water over my naked body to bring my temperature down. I cried like a baby, but with the tenderness and resolve of my own mother, Chris bathed me in ice water and saved my life. Months later, my blood seemed to turn into ice in my veins when I learned that George “Afrika” Iwilade, my brother-revolutionary, was killed by cultists who sneaked into his dormitory and murdered him in his bed while he was sleeping. When the Ifẹ̀–Mòdakẹkẹ war reignited, I was crouched down listening to bullets pierce and graze our bus as my fellow crouching passengers begged Allah, Èdùmarè, Chineke, Ṣàngó, Ògún, Jesus, and other Gods to get us out of the market that had become a war zone.
Studying at OAU, “Africa’s Most Beautiful Campus” and Ilé-Ifẹ̀, the city of 601 Gods, was routinely astonishing, spiritually and culturally. I was privileged to study with some of the deepest minds in the world and the pillars of African culture and knowledge. And the wisdom is deep throughout Nigeria. For example, during a visit to the University of “First and Best” Ibadan, every corner I turned put me in the presence of a wisdom keeper who was delighted to “gist” with me and give me rare books that one cannot find in America. Because I was not in Nigeria for a set amount time and had not come to be initiated and immediately return to America, I found myself welcomed into underground wisdom systems and political movements. But one of the things that humbles and inspires me to no end is the fact that some of my former students are now shining conscious African-rooted professors themselves who are creating a new generation of wisdom keepers and wisdom workers!
Living in Nigeria and earning my Ph.D. there was the most important decision I have made in my life. That decision, rooted in the red clay of Mississippi, gave me the gift of another mother, Chief Oyeronke Igbinola the Ìyálájé of Ifẹ̀, who opened the doors of sacred wisdom that revealed to me my truest self. She showed me the divinity encoded in my DNA and in the blood of Onímọ́lẹ̀ which flows in my and my daughter’s veins. My Nigerian and Ghanaian mothers and fathers and professors and students are still teaching me. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t sip from the waters of wisdom in which they drenched me.
While living in Nigeria, I travelled and studied throughout Yorubaland. My quest for knowledge also took me to Benin Republic, Ghana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, and Morocco: Once my Liberian brothers taught me how to cross borders, I was unstoppable! During this time, northern Nigeria was so peaceful that I used to travel to Sokoto to avoid the chaos and ṣakara of the southern Nigeria-Benin Republic border. From Sokoto I would travel to Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and back. On one trip from Sokoto to Niamey, I realized I was the only woman on a bus filled with Muslim Hausa-Fulani men. There was never a thought in my or anyone else’s mind that I would be touched at all, unless someone was assisting me with something. I marveled in silent pride at the dignity of these men.
There is tremendous power in being an African in Africa, and I reveled in that power. I am proud of the fact that no one I met anywhere in Africa, including Morocco and later Egypt, ever gazed on me and thought I was an American. I knew that my survival and success hinged on me being who I was: an African indistinguishable from other Africans; an African subject to the same cruelty and kindnesses as all other Africans. As it relates to kindness, the concept of “southern hospitality” does not come from brutal and vicious Caucasian enslavers; it comes from Africans in America who uplifted, aided, and supported one another despite their oppression, humiliation, or chains. I routinely witnessed and was the recipient of the African hospitality that birthed its “southern” counterpart.
The love, complexity, loss, courage, wisdom, consciousness, power, and empowerment that I gained in my life I put in my books. My goal is to craft books that will provide the reader with the tools she/he will need to do what are arguably the most important and most difficult things in this world: liberate one’s self and embrace and manifest one’s inherent divinity.
My books are an extension and crystallization of my lifework and mission; my books also serve as my daughter’s inheritance. I have no money to give her; we literally budget every meal to the last penny and the last morsel. However, the lessons in my books can do more for her than any amount of money and serve as the most nourishing soul-food in this world. Given the seriousness of my works to me, my family, and the global African world and given the lifelong effort I have put into them, I will not allow my scholarship to be played with, raped, stolen, or chopped and screwed by anyone for any reason.
I am ever ready to do battle with thieves, liars, con artists, racists, literary rapists, and prevaricators—and these people are many. Mercedes Morgana Bonilla Cordova Reyes is not an anomaly; she is, sadly, the norm.
TRESPASSES OF THE PAST
After I published Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Àjẹ́ in Africana Literature in 2005, I found that a “priestess” with seventy-leven titles had plagiarized my work and had even redefined herself based on my analyses. She also tried to cleverly reshape my analyses and dress them up as her own for a publication. She encouraged her friend, another “priestess” of the seventy-leven, to follow her suit and rip-off my work. This individual and her cohorts published a plagiarized version of my book.
I was so naïve and open-spirited that when I saw new books being published about Àwọn Ìyá Wa and Àjẹ́ I was excited for the authors and was delighted that Our Mothers were getting their respect. I did not know that the “respect” was actually due to thieving “priestesses” gang-raping my wisdom and concealing their emptiness with my words and hard work.
What I find most amusing about all of this is that these persons—with vainglorious titles, who bear elaborate names that they struggle to pronounce, and who shout about their “initiations” from every rooftop—all had to stoop and steal from me, Betty Jo’s Babygirl.
To further the dissemination of ignorance and con artistry, certain charlatans are trying to create a dichotomy in which they posit that “academicians” (like me) do not have knowledge comparable to that of “initiates” (like Mercedes, I guess). This imaginary bifurcation appears to be the result of some Westerners’ feelings of inferiority before and hatred of Africana intellectualism and genius. This fictive dichotomy also furthers fraudsters’ economic agendas: “Initiation” has become a huge and hugely profitable business, especially among fraudsters. At present, so many “initiations” are occurring and immediately promoted on Facebook—and just as quickly called into question or invalidated—that the conscientious ones among us must question the relevance and true purpose of this practice.
As it relates to me, my goal is to further the liberation of Africana people and the revelation to each of us our inherent divinity. Information about my personal life will not further those objectives. But what is most significant is that I respect and cherish my relationships with my Self and my Mothers far too much to commercialize or commoditize who I am, what I have been made privy to, and what I have eternally been and will eternally be. To put it another way, the Earth doesn’t need a certificate of cosmic acceptance or a celestial megaphone to proclaim its place in the cosmos. Your existence provides ample proof of the Earth’s truth.
If I were lowdown enough to try to capitalize on the sacred—or if I had nothing sacred to honor and protect—I would also be shouting from rooftops about my “initiation,” throwing my seventy-leven titles in the face of anyone who came near me, and amassing an army of dupes. But that is not what I have ever been or will ever be about. When the square upon which you stand is truth, you don’t need lengthy names, mile-long titles, or bling. In fact, it is becoming clear that many people are using ego boosting titles and flashy accessories to cover their emptiness and conceal their wickedness.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes and people like her represent everything that is wrong with Ifá-Òrìṣà today. They are a virulent disease that is killing the culture and perverting the sacred. Ifá-Òrìṣà has become a haven for fraudsters, charlatans, and con artists. Ifá-Òrìṣà is a spiritual system that has been twisted into a capitalist religion through which one can buy titles, initiations, and even “Orisha.” Some people, such as Mercedes Morgana Reyes, don’t even bother to journey to the Continent for initiation. They simply create personae with impressive sounding—to the ignorant—titles, post some pictures, and immediately begin charging for “initiations”.
Mercedes Morgana Reyes has conned many individuals, and part of her success is the result of the laziness that leads people to think the most sacred and elemental society in the world has a bizarrely discordant Facebook page; that one can contact the page’s racist controller and join a sacred African way of life for a monetary fee; and that posting images of one’s self and one’s dupes in clownish facepaint confers upon one legitimacy. She has also been successful because of the reverse racism and self-hatred that lead some Africana people, especially some Continental Africans, to believe that the individuals who know the most about Africa and Africana spiritual systems are Caucasians or individuals who have Caucazoid mores, predilections, and/or appearances. Mercedes has also been successful because she and other ignorant individuals think that Àjẹ́ operates in a manner similar to Ifá, with initiations, beads, signage, and the like: It does not; it never has; and it never will, because it does not need to. Àjẹ́ is as organic and effortless as the rotations of the Earth . . . there is a reason Àjẹ́ are also known as Ayé.
A DAY FOR THE OWNER
Many people have been defrauded by Mercedes Morgana Bonilla Cordova Reyes, but there are many who saw through her and called out her treachery. I thank everyone who told the truth to and about this liar. I thank everyone who has given proper attribution to the elders, authors, and artists whose works enriched your wisdom or challenged or angered you. I am grateful to everyone who has read and/or recognized my work, because that is what it is, work, and hard work at that.
I am especially grateful to Dr. Funlayo E. Wood a Harvard-educated scholar and true Àbòrìṣà who is the founder of the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association (ADRSA). Dr. Wood and I were introduced via email and bonded through embrace at a symposium in Washington D.C. held in honor of the Ọ̀ọ̀ni of Ifẹ̀’s visit to America in 2016. Funlayo floored me with the dynamism of her truth-spitting speech! She also uplifted me with genuine support and sisterhood and invited me to be a keynote speaker at the ADRSA conference in 2018. I was delighted and honored by Funlayo’s graciousness and consideration. But that is her way—not just with me—but with all conscious and conscientious people she meets. Dr. Wood is the definition of ọmọlúabí: She stands in the light and illuminates the way for others to join her and shine.
When I told Funlayo that a plagiarist’s serial violations and thefts were turning my and my family’s lives upside down, she responded with the strength of Òkèbàdàn—resolute to stand beside me to fully resolve this issue: That is how real warrior-scholar-mothers handle business! Word Life.
Thieves, liars, plagiarists, con artists, Fakebookers, and the like are busily crafting ways to bamboozle, hoodwink, and reap what they have not sown.[iv] To combat them, we need more wisdom working warriors like Ìyá Funlayo. We need more honesty in Ifá-Òrìṣà. We need more courageous truth seekers and wisdom keepers. We need to read more closely and look more deeply. Our future depends on it.
A Nigerian proverb warns that “every day is for the thief . . . but one day is for the owner.” Mercedes Morgana Bonilla Cordova Reyes "Yogini" has enjoyed approximately 1367 days of thievery. With this document, I, the owner of my words, research, hard work, and books, claim my day of retribution.
A luta continua!
[i] Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80, “Beasts of No Nation,” Beasts of No Nation/ODOO (Fak Ltd., 1989).
[iii] Ayi Kwei Armah, Two Thousand Seasons (London: Heinemann, 1973), 3, 104.
[iv] Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Matigari (Trenton: Third World Press, 1998), 18.
PLEASE NOTE: The bulk of the evidence in this essay is my copyrighted intellectual property, whether the excerpts are from my published book(s) or from a plagiarized Facebook page. Other data included in this essay exists in the public domain, is freely accessible, and appears here in accordance with the Fair Use Act. The evidence of Mercedes Bonilla Cordova Morgana Reyes’ thefts comes straight from her public Facebook page(s), and until she or Facebook deletes or alters the posts, interested parties can scroll through her timeline and find the exact information I share here and much more. I was able to easily find the various sources she plagiarized by simply selecting some key phrases and doing a Google search. The images can be easily found in a Google image search.
This document may be reposted or reprinted to websites, blogs, journals, etc. provided the document is published in full with no alterations or deletions, except by permission of the author. You may contact the author, Teresa N. Washington, at . If you would like to read a pdf of this information, please click A Day for the Owner PDF.