“Siempre Bruja” — Netflix’s new show — had its debut this week and it didn’t go over well with fans. The Spanish language program, dubbed in English for American viewers, tells the story of a young witch from the 17th century who travels through time to the future to “save the man she loves.” This show sounds like a sci-fi romance we’d love. The story is based on the novel “Yo, Bruja” by Isidora Chacón and centers around Carmen who’s not only a witch but a slave. When she travels to the future, she has to deal with “present-day Cartagena and defeat a dark rival.” While all of that may seem like an exciting plot, people are yelling foul for one particular reason. Carmen’s love interest and the focal point of the storyline is her white master.
People can’t understand why Carmen is trying to save her white master, who may be kind to her but is still her owner, and not trying to keep herself out of slavery with her powers.
STOP TELLING BLACK WOMEN TO MARTYR THEMSELVES FOR MEN WHO WOULD NEVER DO THE SAME FOR THEM. STOP CREATING CHARACTERS THAT FEED AFRO-LATINAS THIS TIRED CONCEPT THAT THEIR STORIES ARE ONLY WORTH TELLING IF THEY ARE WORTHY OF PROTECTING/UPHOLDING WHITE PATRIARCHY. #SIEMPREBRUJA https://t.co/F3uMSDejkX
— Melania-Luisa Marte (@sheismela_) February 4, 2019
“The #SiempreBruja writers/creators utterly failed. And listen I watched two episodes and that was two too many. Just as with books, you cannot expect me to give you the entire book (or the entire season) especially when dealing with something like this.” @whimsicallyours tweeted and added that other YA novels have dealt with this kind of premise and complex story of a slave but have told it in an authentic way. “So there IS a way to write about a romantic relationship with an INTENSE power imbalance well. But these writers DID NOT DO THAT. As a viewer, I immediately know there’s a power imbalance (its a black girl main character… you had to know black women would watch this show).”
“I wanted to see #SiempreBruja SO BADLY. I was so rooting for that show. And then y’all told me what the plot was. And now I can’t. I’m tired of white people some way, somehow being centered in black stories. There’s a bunch of white shit. Why can’t stuff just be BLACK?” @SonofBaldwin tweeted.
Despite the onslaught over this show on social media, we did learn a fascinating piece of information. Writer Elizabeth Acevedo, who continues to win awards for her novel The Poet X, tweeted that she is planning to write a story similar to “Siempre Bruja.”
“Listen,” she tweeted. “I’ve been working on a black bruja story set in early colonial times. It’s been sitting in my brain (and on my desktop) for a looong ass time. The sadness that welled up while watching the regressiveness that was SIEMPRE BRUJA solidified that this story needs to be told.”
Now that is a story we’re looking forward to reading.