Survivors Reclaim Domestic Spaces in Gina Chavez’s ‘Ella’

Lead Photo: Photo by Ismael Quintanilla
Photo by Ismael Quintanilla
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Latin Grammy Award-nominated artist Gina Chavez’s new video for “Ella,” is dedicated to survivors of abuse. Concerned about the rise of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chavez was also affected by an interview with Me Too founder Tarana Burke on author and researcher Dr. Brené Brown’s podcast, “Unlocking Us.”

In support, Chavez and director Lisa Donato created a defiant visual of reclamation for survivors. Dancers from all over the world beautifully twist and wind their way through homes as Chavez sings. Donato says “Ella” shows 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.” Those featured in the clip, some actors and others professional dancers, are survivors themselves and/or activists against gender-based violence.

The track itself blazes with empowerment despite the oppression of women and femmes to which our patriarchal society is so committed: “En contra de eso y más, nunca se rindió,” Chavez sings. “Against that and more, she never surrendered.”

Some proceeds from the video benefit Survive2Thrive, founded by Courtney Santana. The Austin, Texas, organization supports survivors with resources through recovery and routes to self-sufficiency. You can watch the video’s premiere here:

Chavez described her mission in a press release saying “Music and dance have always been important to global culture, not just as an artform but also as a form of empowerment and healing. With ‘Ella,’ I wanted to emphasize those qualities of my art and use that power to not only call attention to the disturbing rise of domestic abuse during these unprecedented times but to also celebrate the strength and perseverance of survivors.”

“The pandemic limited our options for filming,” she continued, “but I think seeing these dancers perform in their own homes connects the choreography and visuals even more to that perseverance I sought to honor, as these survivors reclaim and rebuild their homes.”