La Llorona: Tear Down The Kingdom
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“A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Why unearth La Llorona now?!
There is danger in people/myths having a single-story. This is why I felt called to release two songs from a performance art musical I have been working on, The Cat, the Bird & Revolution. It's an attempt at combatting Hollywood's new single-story horror movie on its opening weekend. Hollywood casts a beloved character, La Llorona (aka the Weeping Woman), as a villain and not surprisingly she is way more than what they are selling.
I have studied this myth and read works analyzing this legend by authors such as Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Domino R Perez. From their works, I began to understand the myth as a cautionary tale of colonization. Their analysis of this character's story was so deep that it reflected to me my own internalized colonization. La Llorona is powerful. She is more than a scary weeping woman. She is a survivor of violence and poverty who spoke truth to riches and power. Indeed, she might be an ultimate anti-imperialist feminist hero. Knowing this, I felt I couldn't be silent while an unflattering single-story version of her is being sold across the country. Further, the skewed version of this myth is being sold to us during a time of massive anti-immigrant rhetoric. Hollywood is vilifying a character that stood up against imperialism and war. We need La Llorona more now than ever. In other words, if Hollywood is to sell its version this weekend, then I feel required to reflect - through music and art - the critical analysis offered up by the three authors above.
Some things to contemplate:
+No one chooses to have an affair with a king. Choice requires a balance of power. There is no balance of power in relation to a divine king.
+Whoever holds the analysis, holds the power. Decentralize it.
+Finally, Hollywood's movie declares "she wants your children." It is the perception of the authors above (and my own) that La Llorona is a victim of state violence who refused to give the king what he wanted, total control of her life. This is about "others children" insofar as she stripped the king of his power.
Here's to protecting La Llorona by remembering the importance of critical analysis and her story. I included some sources below if you are curious about this myth. Let me know your thoughts!
With love and in solidarity,
Sources to check out:
The danger of a single story by Chimamanda Adichie
Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Re-Thinking Margins and Borders: An Interview with Gloria Anzaldúa