Chulita Vinyl Club & B-Side Brujas Are Latina DJ Crews Raising Cultural Consciousness In The Bay Area

Viva

The women of the Chulita Vinyl Club and the B-Side Brujas rise arm in arm against the rapidly growing gentrification of Oakland, California. As Latina DJs, they stand firmly for their culture, which is moved to a great extent by the sounds of Cumbia. (Cumbia is defined by flutes, African drums and maracas, and is the heartbeat of Latin America as it is the most widespread of musical styles throughout the region.)

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These women fight from behind the turntables for their place as Latinas in America, and their right to express their culture and live in their communities without fear of whitewashing. Jahaira Morales, one of the founding members of the Bay Area chapter of the Chulita Vinyl Club, spoke about the insensitivity of those who aren’t aware of the cultural space they take up, people who are ignorant of the fact that they’re sucking up all the air in a room, and leaving cultures separate from their own struggle to breathe.

“With Cumbia Jams on Tuesdays [at the Makeout Room], we literally have had to fight for that space,” she said to KQED. “We’re only there once a month, and they have the space the whole time, and  sometimes they have the nerve to come up and say’ ‘Can you play something else?’ And I’ve had to get on the mic and say, ‘Hey everyone, it’s Cumbia Jams tonight, so if you’re trying to hear something else, the door’s right there, and by the way, viva la raza!'”

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The women of the B-Side Brujas also recognize the disconnect between people in their community of different colors and social classes, and purposely use their music to create spaces of healing and understanding.

“We set up an altar for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and had sage and candles,” member April Garcia noted. “Throughout the night, different people in the community kept coming up, taking pictures, lighting candles, and smudging. Everyone needed some healing in the community, and it was really cool to be able to see people dancing, and then having a moment with the altar.”

?? #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile

A photo posted by B-Side Brujas (@bsidebrujas) on