“Siempre Bruja” is the long-awaited novela featuring Black Colombian actress Angely Gaviria on Netflix which debuted February 1st. And like many Black diasporans– not just Black Latinos, I anticipated the start of this series with bated breath.
As I watched the first episode, I realized that this was not what I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was every sorry ass novela involving slavery and a negra pursuing the love of her enslaver or enslaver’s son that had already been produced.
Ana Maria Parra, a white Colombian, is “Siempre Bruja’s” creator, and honestly speaking, we shouldn’t have really expected much. But alas– it was going to be on Netflix, and it usually doesn’t fail when it comes to bomb international television programs. Where do I begin? All but two characters are Black. Carmen Eguiluz, the show’s protagonist, and some morenito with a cute afro.
Carmen is a 18-year old slave/ bruja from 17th century Cartagena who travels through time to modern day Cartagena in an attempt to reunite with Cristobal, her enslaver’s son. In order to get back to him, she makes “un contrato” (a deal) with an immortal brujo named Aldemar who happens to be white as hell.
Yes- a white brujo who speaks Yoruba puts Carmen on to her “black girl magic.” Not the other way around although her Black Cuban mother was a powerful olosha (Orisha priestess) in her own right. Her entire family appears to be “magical” as well. But that doesn’t stop Aldemar from teaching her how to invoke her magic with random “Omi Tutus.”
Por lo menos, they got that right albeit they were misplaced as hell and there were no actual orishas in the “Siempre Bruja” series. Watching this as a newly-initiated priestess was like watching a trainwreck. I knew it was going to be disastrous but I couldn’t stop watching.
As empowering as this could have been, it fell flat on its stereotypical Latino face. It reinforced the notion…