Netflix Brings #BlackGirlMagic To Life…and then kills it
Move over Sabrina! Black girl magic is real, and it lives within Carmen Eguiluz.
I reeeellly wanted to keep this energetic tempo throughout the whole blog because I love the premise of the series.
In Siempre Bruja(or Always a Witch), Carmen Eguilluz is a powerful witch from 17th century Cartegena, Colombia who travels to the future to save the man she loves.
Sounds good right? Until you find out that her lover is the son of a slave master.
What the fuck!
I mean it has all the makings of a great series that is well needed for the black people in Colombia..
As Carmen searches for a way to get back to her own time, she meets allies on her journey, introducing her to modern day conveniences. However, there is a drawback; If she uses too much magic, it can summon the dark witch hunter Lucien. Lucien desires to use her magical powers for evil, and if she refuses, she will be turned to ashes.
Siempra Bruja touches on the history of slavery in Colombia which still affects much of how Afro Colombians are treated today. (Sounds familiar?)
But it leads me to believe that the people who came up with the plot are a bit tone deaf to the plight of the Afro Colombian community.
Afro Colombians, like many other Africans, suffered brutally from slavery which still contributes to the blatant racism and poor environments that some are living in today.
I want Afro-Colombians to win so bad! I mean check out the actress who is playing the lead character. The lovely Afro-Colombia actress Angely Gaviria plays the kick-ass Eguiluz.
Born in Cartagena, Colombia, the 23-year-old actress graduated from Colegio Gran Colombia and supported her family for years by selling food to tourists.
At the age of 16, she won the Señorita Afrodescendiente pageant, which is held every year to celebrate African heritage.
Colombia's well known Miss Colombia pageant has only seen two black winners since it began in 1934. Because of this, the pageant was created to showcase black Colombian pride that is often overlooked by mainstream media.
Much like the United States, black representation is minimal in many Latin American countries. The roles that were made available to Afro-Latinos were generally servants or idiotic buffoons who were used for comic relief.
We also know that proper representation matters which is why it’s so hard for me to love this tv series.
I understand that this is based on a book, but to be able to have a platform like Netflix which will reach over 100 countries and to show this black woman spending her time trying to go back to her white slavemaster’s son is probably not the best storyline to use in the name of progression.
Many do not realize that Afro Colombians make up about 10% of the total population. This means Gaviria's role will be groundbreaking for many, including those of us who have seen mostly white Latinos in the entertainment industry.
I hope with her newfound platform she will find more roles that show the real strength of #blackgirlmagic, sans the white savior. But let's look on the positive side: Siempre Bruja will show many young Afro Colombian girls that they can also be magical in their own way.
If you haven't started watching this Netflix series, check it out and leave your thoughts
Check out the beautiful Angely Gaviria on Netflix in Siempre Bruja.