CHINGONA FIRE’S NOCHE DE BRUJAS — a women’s art showcase of slayin’ and savin’ hosted by L.A. poets and best friends Angela Aguirre and Yesika Salgado. Held at artWORKS, a teen art center in Pasadena, Noche de Brujas celebrated the raw power of female poets, artists, and vendors during a night created by and curated for chingonas by chingonas. What is a chingona? A chingona is the most badass babe you could ever encounter: a confident, sassy, sharp-tongued mujer (woman) who isn’t afraid to tell you who she is and what she stands for. Maybe she’s been called a bruja (witch) before, by people who don’t understand or respect her special brand of magic. Whether she has the power to cast spells or not, you don’t mess around with a chingona.
The power-duo of Aguirre and Salgado — AKA Chingona Fire — teamed up with an incredible group of talented chingonas to create a platform for women of color to share and celebrate their cultura through poetry, music, and art. Not just celebrating the good, poets and artists attacked issues like the rampant machismo in Latino culture, life within the patriarchy, the crippling effects of self-doubt, and body image issues with such raw honesty that they brought tears to almost everyone in the audience.
The Noche de Brujas line-up was like an underground lit-girls’ dream come true, and erupted with the powerful energy of sisterhood and love, community, and celebration. Poets and writers — including Missy Fuego, Mayda Del Valle, Karla Cordero, and Rachel McKibbens — took to the stage and reminded us all of the power and energy of every chingona in the audience.
The best part of the night was witnessing the interactions between Salgado and Aguirre. Watching from the sidelines in admiration, the two cheered each other on when they each took the stage to share their poetry and stories. Their respect and appreciation for one another permeated the room, a friendly reminder of the true power of friendship and love. My respect for these two women is constantly growing. Salgado, who is a well-known fixture at Da Poetry Lounge in Los Angeles, the nation’s largest weekly open mic night, is an unapologetic, body-positive proud brown girl and a perfect role model for any woman, young or old. She shared her poem The Bad Days, about her body image issues, for the first time — a poem so heart-wrenchingly raw it gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears; “this truth that is always the truth even when the world tries to tell me that being fat and beautiful ain’t something I do every f**king day.” Aguirre clapped and cheered for her sister through tears.
Aguirre’s stage presence is just as powerful as her comrade’s. She brought the house down performing poems like “Boobs vs. Brains,” which smashes the idea that the two cannot co-exist within an individual. This stylish and brazen chingona shatters these types of stereotypes one stiletto at a time.
The night wasn’t just bursting with energy from the poets; an array of talented local vendors were also present, eager to present their wares to their community. Some of the items available for purchase included beautiful textile hand-wrapped hoop earrings by Luna Inspirations, zines like Tranquila, dedicated to women of color dealing with anxiety with inserts featuring recipes, rituals, and incantations to cope with these anxiety issues, and paintings by talented artist yhercat. The night also included a performance by a Selena impersonator, Queen of Tejano music and bonafide chingona.
Chingona Fire has created a community space that celebrates, uplifts, and amplifies women of color, and we praise them for their dedication and work! To keep track of their upcoming events, follow Chingona Fire on Instagram and Facebook.