It’s what the Charmed reboot should have been with time-traveling inspiration from Sleepy Hollow.
‘Siempre Bruja’ translated to ‘Always a Witch’ – it’s what the Charmed reboot should have looked like with time-traveling inspiration from Sleepy Hollow.
Netflix has a new witch series called Siempre Bruja and if you haven’t binged it yet, then grab your tablet, switch on the subtitles and enjoy!
It’s a fun fantasy series set in the vibrant Colombian city of Cartagena where a single witch travels from the 16th to the 21st century in order to free herself, her love and an illusory ally.
While the tale may seem as old as time, the series has significant cultural importance as the only mainstream Spanish-speaking series with an Afro-Latina as the lead, while also portraying a colourful, artistic and ethical side of Colombia that’s often ignored by international audiences in favour of the country’s illicit history.
They’re just the starting points, read on for more reasons on why you should get hooked on Siempre Bruja:
1. It’s the first mainstream Spanish-speaking series with an Afro-Latina as the lead
Say that sub-title three times, fast.
Now, click here to scroll through the list of 43 Best Spanish TV Shows on Netflix. Click here to read Nine Best Spanish TV Shows on Amazon Prime. And finally, click here to check out the list of 10 Spanish Language Drama Series to Dramatically Improve Your Learning.
What do all these lists have in common?
The lists are made up of shows centered around white Latins or Spaniards.
Despite some 130 million people of African descent living in Latin America (according to Pew Research Center), Afro-Latins are rarely (if ever) the stars of mainstream Spanish-speaking shows. Even less likely, is a series revolved around an Afro-Latin female (Afro-Latina).
By choosing Angely Gaviria to play the powerful Carmen Eguiluz, Netflix is showcasing Latin America’s cultural diversity to an international audience, exposing the continent’s rich African history and hopefully, creating a shift so that more Afro-Latina roles pop-up in mainstream Spanish-speaking shows.
2. Who’s as strong as the Charmed Ones combined
Okay, so there’s no official measurement on this one but just like the Charmed trio, Carmen Eguiluz is ‘the chosen one’.
In addition to starring in the first mainstream Spanish-speaking series with an Afro-Latina lead, Angely Gaviria is given an opportunity to be a kick-ass Afro-Latina lead who has the ability to heal, time travel and essentially be one of the strongest witches in the 16th and 21st centuries.
Carmen initially uses her power for the sole purpose of returning to a male love interest, but as season one progresses her intentions and desires evolve to include saving and freeing her family and friends from slavery.
3. That also shines some light on the early struggles of Afro-Latins
Speaking of slavery, did you know that FIVE TIMES as many African slaves were taken to Latin America than to the US (again, according to Pew Research Center)?
Trusty Wikipedia writes that some 8.7 million Africans were shipped to Haiti, 8.5 million to the Dominican Republic, seven million to Cuba, five million to Colombia, four million to Venezuela, 1.1 million to Ecuador and the list goes on.
While the world may be well-versed in the early struggles of African Americans, the same can’t be said for those who were taken to the south of the Americas.
Although a fictional/fantasy series, Siempre Bruja adopts elements of Latin America’s (or in this case, Colombia’s) African ancestry to showcase the racism and hardship they endured in the 16th century.
4. Siempre Bruja steers clear of the dark & brooding 21st-century hero
Superman went there, as did the Charmed reboot, and screenwriters even somehow managed to do it to the bright and high-spirited Sabrina Spellman.
In an era where darkness seems to have infiltrated even the lightest of characters, Siempre Bruja steers clear from the murky shadows to offer a light and funny alternative.
Don’t get me wrong, I binged The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in a couple of days but it’s nice to be able to press play on a series where not everything feels like end-of-days.
5. And it’ll have you downloading all the Afro-Latin music
So you’ve definitely heard of Daddy Yankee, Shakira, Marc Anthony, and Enrique Iglesias, and you may have even listened to a few tracks from J Balvin, Luis Fonsi and Bad Bunny.
But how many Afro-Latin artists can you name?
Again with its cultural significance, Siempre Bruja‘s soundtrack is filled with Shazam-worthy tracks created by Afro-Latin artists.
Profetas, Tribu Baharú, Sángo Groove – to name a few.
6. Showcases the REAL & beautiful Colombia
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Colombia? Did the word start with the letter ‘c’, end in ‘e’ and include ‘ocain’ in between?
If so, then it’s time to update your knowledge on the Latin American country and you can start by watching Siempre Bruja. The show does an incredible job at displaying Cartagena’s vibrant nightlife, colourful Afro culture, passion for all art forms and biodiversity.
7. Discusses the world’s environmental problems
When was the last time you watched a series where the main characters were studying conservation and biodiversity? Perhaps Captain Planet?
Siempre Bruja sees Carmen and her crew learning about the world’s flora, fauna and the many issues they face in this hazardous 21st-century environment.
You’ll definitely learn a thing or two and be tempted to swim in that blue Cartagena water.
A few other reasons to love the series:
Jhony (the J Balvin look alike) will make your day
It puts a positive spin on Brujas (witches)
Her mission develops beyond saving a long lost love
One thing needs serious attention
Those special effects! SMH, they’re definitely stuck in the early 2000s.