by La Diva Latina
|La Diva Latina™
La Bruja- when you hear her name the subconscious images conjured up in your mind are anything but pretty. After all, Bruja means WITCH. But in reality, La Bruja is bold, brilliant, beautiful, and very BRONX!
Why “La Bruja”? “As a little girl, listening to songs like, “Que viva Changó”, one of the songs would say, ‘Bruja ayúdame!’ I wanted to be a Bruja because I want to have the power to help people!”
How did she first become “La Bruja”? She was very creative, always writing rhymes and poetry. One day she decided that she was going to “give it my best shot to follow my dream because that’s what makes me happy. I was going to pursue my dream fulltime.” She hasn’t looked back since.
Artistically, first and foremost, she’s a poet. That’s right- a poet. She puts her poetry to music and there you have her CD “Brujalicious” produced by her very own record label. But La Bruja is also a model, actress, dancer, and political activist. She does all those roles because she refuses to be put into a box. “I want to break the box. I don’t want to be put in a box- even when I die.”
She breaks that box all the time. From performing poetry at HBO’s Def Comedy Jam to teaching how to write poetry to NYC kids. From modeling for Levi’s Jeans to appearing in Spike Lee’s film “Bamboozled”, and in “El Vacilón - The Movie". From creating her own one woman show “Boogie Rican Blvd” (sold out for 8 straight weeks) to starring in her own documentary, “La Bruja: A Witch from the Bronx”. From being the voice of Roxy in mun2’s animated comedy “Lugar Heights”, to being the voice of the people.
La Bruja, the activist, is the voice of the people, a voice that is fearless. She says she doesn’t care what people think, “You can say anything you want about me, just spell my name right!” As an activist, she helped raised funds for “Stop The Bombs,” in response to US Navy presence in Vieques, Puerto Rico. She also was a part of the No More Prisons album, which promotes awareness of the negative impact of militarism on today’s urban youth.
One of the issues she lends her voice to is education. “Why is it that we don’t learn about our history? About where we come from? Our Taino history. Our African history. We don’t learn about real culture. All we learn about is that we were slaves. That’s a slave mentality. The schools teach us to be worker ants. They don’t teach how to make money.”
Her other big topic she lends a voice to – the empowerment of women. She says, “Women were burned at the stake for being witches. They are not burning us anymore but women are still degraded in our society. In every art form women are portrayed as baby-making sex-objects.”
As a strong, positive role model for all Latina women, she recently caused some controversy with her music video, “Mi Gatita Negra”. If La Bruja is about women empowerment then why is she in the video laying in bed and pouring milk over the scantily clad man (gorgeous by the way)?
La Bruja explains, “The song is about sensuality. Nowadays what plays on the radio is so vulgar. You can be sexy without being so … disgusting. Today there is no romance left. No woman in my video was degraded. It’s a fun video that talks about a black cat- that’s it – a song that does not rob a child of their innocence if they were to hear it. It’s also about role reversal. I’ve had guys upset saying why is it the guy that gets the milk poured over him? I tell them, ‘Turn on the videos out there, son! That’s all we ever see is the woman being the objects.' And now that it’s reversed, now people are angry. Now it makes people think.”
I agree. “I believe in the power of images. That’s why I have a magazine- to put positive images out there. Sometimes I think, what is the answer? Is it to tell women- look stop being objects! Or should we be telling the men- hey, stop doing this to our women!”
“I think we have to explode a bomb that will radiate outward. Like a ripple effect. You throw something in the water and someone will catch the wave.”
With La Bruja, you can't talk about the empowerment of women without touching on religion. “We pray to the father and the son. What about the mother and the daughter too? I want to pray to the whole family.”
“But that’s not what the Bible says. What about the Bible?”
“What about it?” she throws back at me. “I want to learn from the Bible and from the Koran too. From different sources.”
“But there are rules, no? Do you pray the rosary?”
“Sure”, she says slowly. “I prayed the rosary.”
“Do you pray the rosary now?”
“I pray all the time. But I pray my way. Women are disempowered in religion. You look at the Bible and where are the women? No chapter is written by a woman. Why not? Did women not write? What about Jesus? Why didn’t he have a chapter? Maybe it’s because his chapter was about women. Maybe his message favored the woman.”
“So do you believe in one God?”
“Yes. In one God, a creator, one big spirit. The religion I believe in is the religion of love. My grandmother used to say, "Haz bien, sin mirar a quien." That’s what I believe.”
“OK so let me ask you - 3 Kings or Santa Claus?”
She laughs. “Both. I do both. I celebrate it all!”
“Egg nog or coquito?”
She nods, “I don’t even know what egg nog is!”
We both laugh. “OK I have another one for you: Puerto Rican or Boricua?”
“Why do I have to choose? Picking one side is homicide or suicide.”
“I have a big question now. Statehood or independence?”
“Mmmmmm…” she thinks before she answers. “I’ve been to la isla … y yo se lo que hay ahi. Yo he hablado con la gente... That’s tough. Maybe I’m not the one to say because I am here not over there.”
“Luck or destiny?”
“We create luck. You may have a destiny, a certain flow from the spiritual world. If you listen to your intuition you can create luck.”
Could that mean create your own destiny? To create your own destiny or to speed it up a little - a little brujeria would certainly help!
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