Shortly after the pandemic hit, artist Gina Chavez noticed reports on the rise in domestic violence cases when quarantines went into effect. Apparently, the stay-at-home orders put in place across the world became an even greater danger zone for women. “It just was really weighing on my heart,” Chavez explains in a phone conversation on Future Rootz Radio. Inspired by a conversation between Dr. Brene Brown and Tarana Burke (Me Too), Chavez decided to take on the challenge of creating a video featuring dancers from across the world to accompany her anthem, “Ella” which would ultimately benefit an organization supporting displaced victims of domestic violence.
In Latin America, globally with the highest femicide numbers, COVID-19 related quarantines escalated abuse at home. In the webcast Accessing Justice: Femicide and the Rule of Law in Latin America, it’s reported that, “Femicides in Brazil increased 22 percent in March and April, compared to the same period last year and calls to domestic violence hotlines have surged. In Mexico, 987 women and girls were murdered in the first four months of 2020; the number for April broke a five-year record. In El Salvador, during the last two weeks of March, over 50 percent more women died from femicide than from COVID-19.” Chavez decided she had to do something to help and the idea for the video came along. “Ella” also benefits Survive2Thrive, “a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides life-changing resources and support to displaced victims of domestic violence and abuse.”
Chavez further explained that she wanted the video to show “what it means to reclaim the domestic space for survivors.” It’s her way of honoring survivors. The song includes additional support from award-winning producer Linda Briceno and the video was directed by Lisa Donato who explained, that “Ella” represents “the indomitable spirit and resilience of domestic abuse survivors,” showing that “in the face of adversity and struggle we will rise up and be stronger than we were before — nothing can take away our voice or undeniable light.”
In the conversation below on Future Rootz Radio, Chavez talks about this song as well as all the tracks that highlight her self-reflection on Latinidad, being queer, femininity, empowerment, and more on her Latin Grammy-nominated EP La Que Manda. The 2020 Latin GRAMMYs will air on Univision on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT).
|ABOUT GINA CHAVEZ
“Growing up in Austin, TX, Gina Chavez didn’t pick up a guitar until she was in college. The instrument proved to be her ticket around the world. Since then, she has traveled to Japan as a cultural ambassador for the city of Austin. She also toured the world as a cultural ambassador with the US State Dept, performing to international audiences in 10 countries. Chavez has won multiple awards, including a 2020 Latin Grammy nomination for her first all-Spanish language album, La Que Manda, 12 Austin Music Awards and the Grand Prize for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. She topped the iTunes and Amazon Latin charts with her second album, Up.Rooted.
Chavez’s multi-ethnic folk-pop sound also won her spotlights on national TV and radio shows in the US. She has been featured on NPR’s three nationally broadcast shows: First Listen, All Things Considered, and Tiny Desk Concerts. Her performances garnered more than 1.2 million views on YouTube and earned her a spot on NPR’s Top 15 Tiny Desk Concerts. She also was chosen to perform at The Kate on a nationally televised hour-long episode on PBS. To date, the artist has released three award-winning albums that showcase Chavez’s versatility as a songwriter and performer: her Latin Grammy Nominated all-Spanish album La Que Manda (2020), her award-winning bilingual album Up.Rooted (2014), and her soul/R&B EP LIGHTBEAM (2018).
Currently, Chavez lives in Austin with her wife, Jodi Granado. Together, they co-founded Niñas Arriba, a college fund that offers full scholarships to a private, Catholic university for young girls in Soyapango, El Salvador.”