While Vodou is a religion, a practice, and a lifestyle, modern Hodou does not have to be connected to any of these things even though it began as a few religions and evolved until it was no longer considered a religion around 1880’s. Much like Vodou, Hodou got its start, unfortunately due to the kidnapping and enslavement of people from Congo, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. Those three peoples’ religions came together in southern America and combined with various native American practices, eventually evolving into modern day folk practices of Hodou. Because of slavery, the details of how the many religions came together are unfortunately blurry, but oral tradition(telling stories and passing information down by word of mouth) is likely what allowed for the merge.
After the civil war, Hodou practices grew and became easier to access, thus spreading the ideas and history even further through the united states, even though all black practices were stigmatized. While not considered derogatory by all who use Hodou, the spelling of it as “Hoodoo” is the American-English change. But the changes don’t stop there. Because Hodou became more accessible to other black people, it also became accessible to people who wanted to only make capital off of the practices and traditions. Over time, the elements of Hodou became picked apart and the pieces sold for profit by people who had no interest or knowledge of Hodou, spreading misinformation. By the 21st century, Hodou would be shown in many mainstream media as oversexualized, oversimplified, demonized, and often would be considered synonymous with Vodou, which it is NOT(Katrina Hazzard-Donald, 2013).
Link to Vodou
Katrina Hazzard-Donald. Mojo Workin’ : The Old African American Hoodoo System. University of Illinois Press, 2013. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=569512&site=ehost-live.