When Leonie takes Jojo with her to pick up Michael from Parchman, Jojo finds that one of his grandparents has secretly packed a “gris-gris” bag along with his things. Gris-gris bags are voodoo talismans used in a number of West African cultures, a tradition carried on by descendants of enslaved Africans––like Jojo’s family––in the United States. Inside Jojo’s gris-gris bag is a feather, an animal’s tooth, a rock, and a small note that says “Keep this close.” According to Pop, objects in a gris-gris bag––like everything in the world––each contain a spirit, and the particular combination of objects is thus designed to achieve a “balance of spirit” that will protect whoever carries the bag with them. The gris-gris bag represents the hybrid religious traditions practiced by Jojo’s family. It also denotes Mam and Pop’s love for Jojo and their desire to protect him through both ordinary and supernatural means.
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Gris-Gris Bag appears in Sing, Unburied, Sing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Leonie
Chapter 3: Jojo
Chapter 7: Leonie
...and violently high. Given appears, and Kayla vomits again. The officer finds nothing but Jojo’s gris-gris bag , which he hands back to Jojo rudely. He takes off the cuffs and tells... (full context)
Chapter 11: Jojo