I have no idea. Only "African Americans" I've seen do it or reference it are rappers in videos. And white people doing it to "be funny".. so I couldn't tell ya.
Okay.. Went to Wikipedia:
is a ritual
pouring of a liquid as an offering to a god
or in memory of those who have died. It was common in many religions
and continues to be offered in various cultures today.
All shucks... they was doing in ancient Israel
Libations were part of ancient Judaism
and are mentioned in the Bible
"And Jacob set up a Pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a Pillar of Stone; and he poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it"
uses libation as a metaphor
when describing the end of the Suffering Servant
figure who: "poured out his life unto death". (53:12)
In certain African cultures, the ritual of pouring libation is an essential ceremonial tradition and a way of giving homage to the ancestors. Ancestors are not only respected in such cultures, but also invited to participate in all public functions (as are also the gods). A prayer is offered in the form of libations, calling the ancestors to attend. The ritual is generally performed by an elder. Although water may be used, the drink is typically some traditional wine (e.g. palm wine), and the libation ritual is accompanied by an invitation (and invocation) to the ancestors and gods.
Libation is also commonly recognized as the break within the famous performance of Agbekor
, a ritual dance performed in some West African cultures.
In the contemporary United States
, there is a tradition of pouring libations of malt liquor
from a forty
before drinking, which is particularly associated with African American rappers
. This is referred to as "tipping" to one's (dead) homies (friends),
or "pouring one out".
This is referenced in various songs, such as the 1993 "Gangsta Lean (This Is For My Homies)
" by DRS
("I tip my 40 to your memory"), and sometimes accompanied by ritual expressions such as "One for me, and one for my homies." This is occasionally parodied, as in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
This can also be seen in HBO's TV series Boardwalk Empire. Character James Darmody pours a drink out "to the lost," referencing both deceased WWI veterans, then later the show's own departed characters.
So apparently it's in a lot of different ones.. African, Middle East, Indian, Celts, Cuban, etc.