Sangre brava

“Sangre brava y colorada
retadora como filo de puñal
es la sangre de mi raza
soñadora y cancionera
sangre brava y peleonera
valentona y pendenciera
como penca de nopal.”

“Blood that’s ‘brava’ and colored red
challenging like the sharpness of a dagger
that’s the blood of my people
full of dreams and full of song
blood that’s ‘brava’ and quarrelsome
boastful and rowdy
like the sprouts of a nopal.”
– Jorge Negrete (1911-1953)

I do not know a translation for “brava” that does it justice. In Mexican culture it means fierce, brave, bold, daring, with a sense of fire. The expression “sangre brava” was popular in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema (1933-1964). This Golden Age was a cultural revolution about the spirit of the Mexican Revolutionary War (1910-1920) where peasant farm workers revolted and overthrew dictatorship and oligarchy. The expression was used to harness our ancestral roots and describe the fighting spirit that we’re born with. El orgullo mexicano corre en nuestra sangre brava.

So, fuck the oppressive systems that dampen that pride and revolutionary spirit. I am privileged enough to have that spirit nurtured while I was growing up. Whether it was old black and white films about the motherland, la música ranchera that my family sings, dances, and cries to, or the home that my family is building on a jalisciense hillside— my parents made sure I knew where my fire comes from. That is privilege. If you’ve been shamed and disconnect from our generational fire, we can heal together and still use that fire to lead a new revolution. Somos sangre brava. We’ve fought for the people before, and won. We can do it again just a little North. 🇲🇽 It’s powerful to show up as our most genuine selves.

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