Entertainment

Here’s How Netflix’s ‘Siempre Bruja’ Is Getting it Right And Wrong

In the world of brujería, Hollywood has been a major disappointment. For one, white girls are always witches, when we all know that every source of witchery boils down to our indigenous and Black roots. America’s initial obsession with witchcraft started with 17th century Puritan Americans and their absolute terror of the religious practices of colonizer’s African slaves.

Hollywood has capitalized on stolen culture en masse with its installments of witchy films and series, ranging from “Practical Magic” to “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” to “Charmed.” This genre is so inherently white, that when The CW’s reboot of “Charmed” was advertised as a trio of Latina witches, the Internet exploded with excitement. That was quickly followed by disappointment once we saw that, once again, the Latina characters were not all played by Latinas.

Prepare yourself for a similar journey with Netflix’s latest “Siempre Bruja,” which while it might be the best ever depiction of brujería, it is also another instance of Hollywood’s obsession with racial reconciliation fantasy.

The best part of the whole show is Angely Gaviria performance of Carmen.

Credit: @thegirlmob / Twitter

“Siempre Bruja” is a breakout role for Gaviria, who was born in Cartagena, Colombia. This Afro-Latina beauty is an actual beauty queen, holding the Señorita Afrodescendiente crown when she was just 16 years old. This show marks her third on-screen performance, and she slayed.

The show is based in Cartagena, Colombia.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Major props to the production. We get to see the beauty of the coast, strong colors, and cultura all throughout. At least we’re getting our brujería en español.

Pro tip: the English dubs are terrible, but the English subtitles are key for Spanish-challenged Latinos.

Like The CW, Netflix failed to promote the problematic plot of the entire show.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

We started out seeing an Afro-Latina bruja being burned at the stake only to escape to the year 2019 in her hometown of Cartagena. Sounds compelling, right?

We get to see an Afro-Colombian play an Afro-Colombian and create more visibility.

Credit: @LHerstorian / Twitter

It seems outrageous that any production would get points for hiring an Afro-Latina but this is 2019 and seeing an Afro-Latina get a starring role is a huge deal. Hopefully, not for long, thanks to Angely.

Prepare yourself for this major flaw.

Carmen’s entire motivation is to save her lover, who happens to be her slave master.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

We meet Cristobal as Carmen’s real-life white savior who purchases her as his own, after having pity for the way she was being treated. No points are given, sir.

Carmen narrates her journey via lovesick letters to her Cristobal, who is stuck in the past.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

So, a powerful bruja who was enslaved in the past finds herself in the present, where she suddenly is treated like a human and she wants to go back to her slave master?

Written for white audiences, by white writers, or nah?

Credit: @theetemi / Twitter

Such a trope. So bad. Carmen is head over heels in love with Cristobal, who plays the ultimate white savior.

There were so many missed opportunities for black characters to be their own advocates.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Hilda is Carmen’s best friend, who ends up getting caught up in this strange power dynamic. After Carmen disappears, it’s Cristobal who is corroborating her magic, not her BFF.

Al fin, Carmen and Hilda are saved purchased again by the descendent of their previous owners.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

This time, it’s the great-grandson of their old owners. He comes in the nick of time to trade spooky futuristic gadgets (compass, watch, etc.) in exchange for their bodies.

A white man teaches Carmen about her magic. 😩

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

People are growing tired. They always promise that they’ll do some things right in this show. To be fair, we do get some flashbacks of Carmen’s family teaching her about her magic before they were separated by the horrors of slavery. 

Oh, and then there’s a whole other love triangle with another white guy.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Why can’t these roles be given to more POC? Put black men in hero roles. Stop making white men saviors for black women.

All that said, let’s point out what “Siempre Bruja” did right.

Credit: @AyasatoHikari / Twitter

The base plot is truly terrible, but the actress herself is captivating. Plus, we get to see beachside Colombia in ways that we rarely see streaming on Netflix. It’s a binge-worthy show.

La Fiesta de la Candelaria scenes are breathtaking.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Instead of The CW’s “Charmed” sorority party scenes, we get to see Cartagena’s most celebrated holiday, an obvious nod to how slavery would ultimately impact ‘the future.’ African people celebrated their own religion under the pretense of Roman Catholic saints and holidays forced on them. La Fiesta de la Candelaria is a major celebration of African spirituality and black culture in the Caribbean.

Central to La Fiesta is The Black Madonna.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Unfortunately, we have to hear Carmen belittling herself and judging her powers based on how they affect Cristobal, but hey, representation, right? This is the problematic double-sided coin of the entire show in a nutshell.

There are some indigenous people cast in the show támbien.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

He shows up during a university class and is introduced as a source of knowledge. I thought we’d see much more of him, and that he’d help Carmen in some way, pero, no.

Then there was the scene reminiscent of the magic realism of “Agua de Chocolate.”

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Carmen is crying tears over Cristobal while she’s cooking, and suddenly, her patrons start grieving as well. It, of course, must be pointed out that future Carmen is still serving white people without pay in the same exact home, now run as a hostel. She’s working for a free place to stay.

The Santera in all of us got excited to see this ritual.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

You’re not Latino if your tía didn’t wear all white for at least one decade in your life. This ritual, of course, was centered around Carmen trying to forget Cristobal so she could function.

Ok, so some white magic came through with the ouija board. 

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

We all know they’re meant to invoke dead spirits, and luckily, Carmen was surprised to learn of it existing in the future. That’s because white people made that up, but Carmen’s powers were able to create contact.

“When you see a light flash across the sky, it’s a soul leaving this plane.”

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

All of us heard our mamis say this at one point or another, and it was cool to see it happen in “Siempre Bruja.” Carmen helped release a spirit and watched his soul streak across the sky.

Bottom line: “Siempre Bruja” isn’t perfect, but perfect is the enemy of the good. We have representation you won’t see anywhere else on television and that needs to be celebrated.

Credit: Siempre Bruja / Netflix

Have you watched “Siempre Bruja”? What do you think about the show and it’s representation of Afro-Latinos in Afro-Latino roles?

READ: Aja’s ‘Brujería’ Is The Anthem For All Of The Brujas Who Are Just Living Their Best Life

Goodbye To The 2010s: 11 Crazy Reality TV Moments You Didn’t Remember Actually Happened This Decade

Entertainment

Goodbye To The 2010s: 11 Crazy Reality TV Moments You Didn’t Remember Actually Happened This Decade

MTV

Reality is messy and unpredictable. So it’s only fitting that reality TV is just the same, messy and unpredictable —x1000. And these past 10 years have really seen a surge in reality programming. So we couldn’t say goodbye to the decade before revisiting some of the wildest reality TV moments of the past years. Some of these were so shocking that we thought they deserved their own shout out. So read along and enjoy. 

When Snooki got punched

Okay, okay, we know this isn’t technically part of the last decade but it was right at the very brink of it. In 2009 Jersey Shore cast member Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was enjoying herself with her squad at the bar and having a good time when she started arguing with a random guy who seemed drunk, and punched her. Ferro was not a cast member and the whole thing became a huge scandal. 

Caitlyn Jenner’s Transition

In a “KUWTK” special called “About Bruce,” Caitlyn Jenner revealed that she was a transgender woman publicly for the first time and was beginning her transition. 

Miss Universe 2015

Steve Harvey only had one job the night that he hosted Miss Universe and that was to announce the rightful winner to the crown. As you know by now, he messed it up and big time. Instead of announcing Miss Philippines, as the winner, he announced Miss Colombia as the winner when she was actually the runner-up. 

American Idol Charlotte Auditions

Be honest: How many of you watched American Idol just for to see the eye rolls and subtle (and not-so-subtle) digs between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey? You can answer truthfully, this is a safe place. And you are definitely not alone.

Chrissy Lampkin Sucker Punched Kimbella

Chrissy Lampkin has always been super protective of her man and her friends and she proved this during season 2 of VH1’s Love And Hip-Hop. When Kimbella dropped the bomb on Emily B. that she was dating rapper Fabulous while Emily was pregnant with his child, Chrissy went straight into defense mode. 

When Aviva Drescher slammed her prosthetic leg on the table

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Aviva, from The Real Housewives of New York City, announced there was only one thing fake about her, and proceeded to slam her prosthetic leg onto the table.

Mystique Summers Madison reminded Morgan McMichaels where she’s from.

When things got tense on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Mystique Summers Madison reminded Morgan McMichaels where she’s from; “B*tch I will whoop yo a*s I’m from Chicago!” …things escalated pretty quickly from there. 

Tristan Khloe and Jordyn Woods’ cheating scandal

In season 15 fans got to watch the family learn about Tristan’s cheating scandal just days before Khloe gave birth to True Thompson. Unsurprisingly, Khloe’s sisters were angry, but Khloe tried to keep her cool for her daughter’s arrival.

When Kelly and Abby got into a physical fight on Dance Moms.

Kelly brought up that Abby said Kelly’s daughter looks miserable, Abby denied saying that…cue the fighting.

Kenya using a megaphone to call Porsha a “Dumb ho”

When Kenya used a megaphone to call Porsha a dumb ho, at the reunion episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, Porsha lost her shit —and was subsequently arrested.

Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy reveal

When rumors about Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy were at their height, she stopped appearing on the show altogether. But then, she showed up pregnant on “KUWTK” in season 15, proving that she had actually been filming for the show in secret.

From Nipsey Hussle To Jose Jose, This Year We Had To Say Goodbye To Many Icons—Here’s A Roundup Of Celebrities Lost In 2019

Entertainment

From Nipsey Hussle To Jose Jose, This Year We Had To Say Goodbye To Many Icons—Here’s A Roundup Of Celebrities Lost In 2019

Jose Jose / emilyhartridge / Nipsey Hussle / Instagram

With 2019 ending in just a couple weeks, we’re taking a look back at the stars we lost in 2019. Learning of the death of a childhood hero, or an icon you look up to is always a sad experience, and unfortunately, 2019 was a year when we had to say goodbye to too many of them. From political big-hitters, to rappers, reggaeton artists and dancers, many icons passed away this year, and all will be greatly missed. Here’s to them:

Jose Jose

The Mexican musical icon died this year after battling pancreatic cancer. “El Príncipe de la canción” (Prince of Song), had tweeted in June that he was undergoing therapy and thanked his fans for their support. He was known for romantic ballads like “La Nave del Olvido,” “40 y 20,” “Gavilán o Paloma” and “El Triste,” and many more songs that became hits throughout his career of more than half a century.

Shelley Morrison 

twitter @deanrichards

The actress best known as Rosario Salazar, Karen Walker’s maid and confidante on “Will & Grace” — died on Dec. 1 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure following a brief illness, publicist Lori De Waal told People magazine. She was 83. “Shelley’s greatest pride as an actress was in playing the indomitable Rosario, in a comedy series that furthered the cause of social equity and fairness for LGBTQ people. 

Alicia Alonso 

twitter @luis81710730

Legendary Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso passed on October 17 at the age of 98 in a hospital of La Habana. She was the first western dancer to perform in the Soviet Union in 1957. She was the Cuban government’s highest artistic figure. 

Edith Gonzales

twitter @olivercampox

The Telenovela star lost her battle with cancer at 54 on the 13th of June, after two years fighting against the disease. There was a public homage in honor of her at the Jorge Negrete Theater in Ciudad de Mexico.

Carolina Bittencourt 

instagram @fofocalisany

Brazilian model Bittencourt died in São Paulo at the end of April after she drowned in an attempt to rescue her dogs who fell out of the sailboat she was on with her husband, Jorge Sestini. She was 37.

Nipsey Hussle

twitter @1johnpapi

The rapper Nipsey Hussle died in April after a shooting in Los Angeles near a clothing store he owned.

Fabio Legarda

twitter @actualidadrt

The Colombian reggaetonero died on February 7 during a shooting in Medellin. The musician was in his car, where he received a shot to the head which caused severe damage. Fellow Colombian artists like Juanes, Maluma and J Balvin expressed their condolences for the loss of this young talent.

Fernando Gaitan

twitter @mrintruso

The writer and producer of the world’s most famous telenovela ‘Betty La Fea’ passed away at 58 years of age. His iconic telenovela is considered to be the most successful in the world. He also worked on the adaptation of Betty, for US audiences ‘Betty en Nueva York’, coming to Telemundo on February 4, 2020.

Silver King

twitter @milenio

Professional lucha libre wrestler and actor King died after collapsing from a heart attack during his performance in London on May 11, The Guardian reported.

Kevin Fret

twitter @reggaetonxgata

The Latin trap singer was murdered this January. He was the first openly gay trap singer and debuted in 2018 with his single “Soy Asi.”

Juice WRLD

twitter @marshmellomusic

The Chicago-born artist, whose real name was Jarad Anthony Higgins, died after reportedly having a seizure at Chicago’s Midway Airport. 

Sulli

twitter @ecpv1

The former member of the popular K-Pop girl group f(x) was found dead in her Sujeong-gu apartment on Oct. 14. She was 25. 

Carl Ruiz

@luis81710730

The beloved Food Network star died on Sept. 21 at 44. His official cause of death has not been announced but Ruiz’s family confirmed the sad news by creating the Twitter account, @wemisscarlruiz.

Emily Hartridge 

twitter @thepophub

The YouTube star died on July 12, at the age of 35, in an electric scooter collision. An announcement was made on her official Instagram account on Saturday.

Cameron Boyce 

twitter @misslu96

The star of the Disney Channel franchise Descendants and the television series Jessie died on July 6. He was 20.

Gabriel Diniz

twitter @jubzinha

Brazilian pop star Diniz died in a plane crash in Brazil in late May, his record label confirmed. He was 28 years old. The singer was reportedly flying from Salvador to his girlfriend Karoline Calheiros’s birthday party in Maceió on May 27 when the small plane he was a passenger on crashed in the town of Porto Do Mato, Estância, on the southern coast of Sergipe, Brazil.

Doris Day

twitter @peterkidder

Day, the beautiful blonde whose sunny screen presence and singing voice guaranteed box-office and record-chart hits in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, died on May 13, her rep confirmed. She was 97.

Max Azria 

twitter @thestyledeskco

Azria, founder of the iconic American fashion brand BCBGMAXAZRIA, died on May 6 in a Houston hospital, WWD reported. He was 70. According to the outlet, the legendary Tunisian-born designer died of lung cancer.