Last month Colombian singer Kali Uchis released her fourth studio album Orquídeas, as her latest labor of love to the world. In the weeks since, many of us still find ourselves transcending into celestial bliss when listening to this masterpiece. Apart from its versatility and ability to move across musical genres and a diverse audience of listeners, Kali’s album resonates profoundly with Latinas. Since its release, Orquídeas has become a love project inviting Latinas to fulfill our wildest soft girl era dreams. The album ushers us into an indulging and beautiful journey to self-love by empowering our agency and Divine Feminine.
Kali sets the tone of Orquídeas with “Como Asi,” introducing herself as an untouchable and powerful woman who knows she is the sh*t and acts like it by making “’em beg for it.” In the room la mirada de Kali manda, telling you not to speak and she asserts herself as the center of your world. This boss and reina energy can only be fueled by her sense of worth and self-love, but how do we get here? Well through the lens of Orquídeas we can start with exercising our agency.
When I think of agency, I think of the song, “Te Mata,” and how Kali expressed the fact that she walked away from a past toxic lover letting him know she was done with him. Though this man once held power over her, she ended his access to her especially when singing, “nunca vas a poder cortar mis alas.” This soft ballad is a loud witness to la diosa’s power found in her agency; she chose herself and her happiness over a man who harmed and used her. Her choice to leave restored her power and brought a more fuller and free life for la reina. May this be a reminder of the agency we find within ourselves that empowers us to walk away from toxic lovers and things that do not serve us, porque tu si puedes mama, you can choose YOU. I love that Kali exemplifies agency once again in “Muñekita” sharing, “lo que no me sirve, ‘pa fuera, que venga lo bueno, it’s what I always say.” Agency is an empowering thing for Latinas who have endured heartache and stress in relationships, jobs, and toxic family systems, and Kali reminds us to exercise the hell out of it in Orquídeas sin verguenza for our own flourishing. Choosing us is part of our journey towards self-love.
Orquídeas also highlights the act of recognizing the sacredness found within our very bones, our Divine Feminine. I want to start off by saying how odd this might sound to a number of you for different reasons 1.You either don’t vibe with this divinity stuff or 2.You were told it was sacrilegious to call yourself a goddess by an ultra conservative and religious (or hating) background. Whatever the reason may be, I want to encourage you to lean in with curiosity and a decolonized approach away from colonial structures that have thrived off of the shame, repression, and disconnect we as Latinas may feel towards our bodies. These same colonial structures shamed our ancestors and their sacred practices rooted in a spiritual life in tune with the earth, their bodies, and spirit. It makes sense for the disconnect some of us feel towards our Divine Feminine, but it does not have to end here.
Sex-positive womanist preacher and author Lyvonne Briggs shares in her book, Sensual Faith that we do not “celebrate the Divine Feminine because we were not taught about her intrinsic worth and value.” When systems have worked overtime across generations to try to censor and break the connection we have with our bodies, I can’t help but think how much our Divine Feminine is perceived as a threat to the world. Remember, Divine Feminine is not a girly demeanor or girly girl, Briggs reminds us that it is the act of operating within our intuition and our knowledge of knowing we, including our bodies, are good, holy, and beautiful–we are holy as is. To know ourselves is to trust ourselves, and to trust ourselves is to love ourselves.
Can you imagine a world where all women and femmes choose to walk in tune with their Divine Feminine? I can in Orquídeas. Through songs like “Diosa ” and “Igual Que Un Angel ” we hear that we are heaven sent, we have all we need and are worthy of good things. You are a “diosa total, la reina, la diva, la diosa” and “eres luz,” “sent from Heaven down to Earth.” Singing messages like this over our bodies is healing for the Latinas who have been exploited, harmed, abused, and mistreated, it also nurtures our inner niñas who heard messages on the contrary growing up. We uncover our untainted spirit, the Divine Feminine that reminds us we are good, worthy, crowned, and wise with intrinsic and intuitive knowledge. Walking with self assurance in our Divine Feminine gets us far and preserves our wholeness in a world that attempts to take so much. Eres diosa e intocable.
Exercising our agency and Divine Feminine as Latinas is hard work and even more within the male-centered narrative of patriarchy embedded in our communities, yet Kali achieves this through her album. As we tune into our Divine Feminine and exert our agency, we find that in the end that there is a reward: we come home to ourselves and experience radical self-love. bell hooks shares in All About Love how the process of giving ourselves love provides “our inner being with the opportunity to have the unconditional love we may have always longed to receive from someone else.” This is what the #softgirllife is all about, making intentional efforts and choices to experience the life and love we want for ourselves, one that is rooted in beauty, peace, consistency and gentleness. In creative resistance, Orquídeas shows us a better world for Latinas where we are diosas who grace the earth with our presence and sharpen our tool of self-preservation every time we use our agency. In the end Orquídeas shows Latinas we have what it takes to make this world our very own.