Fulani – Whipping Match
For the boys of the Fulani tribe of Benin to be considered men, they have to complete a ritual called sharo, which requires them to participate in a whip match meant to test their strength, self-control and bravery.
The Fulani are a nomadic people from West Africa. As a test of bravery and an initiation into manhood, two young boys from neighboring tribes are pitted against one another in a violent whipping match.
With help from their fathers, each boy chooses and sharpens a long, thin, branch that they think will inflict the most pain on their opponent. The boys then take turns striking their opponent three times across the ribs and back as hard as they can. The whole tribe will gather to watch the battle, and the winner is chosen by the crowd. The “winner,” by the way, is the one who opens the deepest, bloodiest wounds on his opponent, and who flinches less when his own insides are being exposed to the elements.
Detroit’s Park Theater (also known as the “Lincoln Park Theater”) has had a rather long and diverse history. When it originally opened in 1925 in Lincoln City, Detroit, it was an elegant Art Deco style movie theater. In the late 1960s it was briefly converted into a live music venue where Lincoln Park natives the MC5 often played for next to nothing to large crowds. Sometime in the early 1980s, it became an adult movie theater that operated (much to the displeasure of many Lincoln Park residents) for nearly 30 years.
When the theater closed in 2008, the owners (who wanted to develop the building as a part of a multi-million-dollar strip club operation), donated the Park as part of a settlement agreement. The Park has since been converted into high-end lofts and retail space. However, before it was restored, the once opulent theater fell victim to decay and vandalism. The images that follow are perhaps not for the faint of heart, especially since the intrepid photographer used an infrared camera to pick up some of the “sticky mess” that was left behind after the Park closed its smutty doors. Hopefully he or she was up to date on their tetanus shot. That said, I still feel like it’s necessary to say that the photos you are about to see are NSFW.
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Have an awesome and safe weekend everybody!