In January, on the heels of the Trump inauguration, the first four episodes of the dark, sexy web series BRUJOS debuted online to a cult following. Following four gay Latinx grad students who are also witches as they battle the wealthy, straight white male descendants of the first New World colonizers, villains, BRUJOS seemed more timely than ever. As creator Ricardo Gamboa quips, "Everyone says it's a fantasy series. I call it a documentary." Now BRUJOS is back with more radical queer realness with seven new episodes in two parts, "The Hangman" and "Death," at brujostv.com and at Open.TV, a platform for original series open to people who identify as queer, trans, or persons of color, and the network that distributed rising hit series Brown Girls.
BRUJOS, created by Chicago artist and activist Ricardo Gamboa and co-directed by Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke and Robert Stockwell, takes stylistic cues from American sitcoms and Latin American telenovelas alike with a dose of queer theory. It follows roommates Panfilo, Edwin, Jonathan, and token white guy Brian as they discover their magical powers and evade a secret society trying to kill them. In the new episodes, the stakes are raised when the Brujos have more near-misses with danger and death, and start realizing that they are not alone and that not all people with magic are cis, gay Latino men. They begin finding more people with powers, people who are "othered" from white patriarchal society, and their coven grows as they turn toward the inevitable a final, magical battle with the forces of societal oppression.
BRUJOS gives radically politicized entertainment in a dark, sexy, hilarious wrapper with magic and mayhem. But the "supernatural" in brujos doesn't just refer to possessed Grindr hook-ups and spells, as Gamboa explains, "The show is also a celebration of us people of color, queers, women and women of color, and other 'others' that manage to survive and thrive under crazy oppression—that's supernatural. Our existence is always resistance and can oftentimes be revolutionary."
The revolution BRUJOS aspires to isn't just on-screen. Their mission includes staying free from the culture industry's influence with funding by donations. Seed&Spark is one way Brujos is raising money for the season finale without the help of big-time and corporate investors, whose offers they turned down.
In the current climate of America that is marred by vitriol against Latinx communities, people of color, and queer and trans people, we deserve a coven of gay Latinx witches representing the "good guys." You can catch the new episodes of Brujos at brujostv.com and weareopen.tv . The campaign is at www.seedandspark.com/fund/brujos .