The Masked Latina: What Do Jessica Camacho and "Watchmen" Pirate Jenny Have in Common?
Although her character has been criticized for not being in the original comic, both the actress and Pirate Jenny are destined to become the roar of the Latina women.
They don't hide in a Rorschach stain, nor do they have to undergo the well-known psychological test to find out what they think about black and brown people and their right to be equal and respected in a country founded on diversity. Their hood today is called "fake news" and "supremacist demagoguery."
Since the television adaptation of Alan Moore and Gibbons' marvelous comic "Watchmen" premiered this fall, the series has positioned itself as the best metaphor of contemporary America. And its female hero, Angela Abar (aka, Sister Night), is the African American heroine par excellence.
But Latinos also have their own representation.
Pirate Jenny, one of the masked agents of the Tulsa Police Department, is not the heiress of the peaceful Pachamamas with a garland of flowers in her hair, but of the goddesses of war—a violent and vigilante character who does not allow herself to be intimidated by those who try to oppress her. And the actress Jessica Camacho has known how to embody her to perfection.
Pirate Jenny is based on the story of a maid who becomes a pirate to avenge her oppressors.
"I want other people to see themselves in me and to keep going for it and to keep creating projects and to keep showing up in those rooms and becoming the obvious choice for that character. When I was auditioning heavily and just trying to get on a show, I [didn't] focus on, 'Oh, they need a Latina character for the show.' No. What is the storyline? What is the character? Let me go tell that story," said Jessica Camacho to People.
The Puerto Rican, who endows her characters with the islander's slang - "unless you're Puerto Rican, you're not going to realize it, but it's important for me to put it there," she says - believes that Latino actors should not only aspire to Latino roles but be the best candidate to tell a story on their own merits.
She has taken us into space with "Another Life" and has also imparted justice in "All Rise," recently premiered on Netflix. But ethnicity and gender in "Watchmen" are essential, especially when her character, Pirate Jenny, could become the Guy Fawkes of Latina women. As usual, the reason for doing so is not in plain sight. It hides behind a mask, or rather, it is the sum of a Brecht opera, the voice of Nina Simone and a ghost ship.
There's a subtle reference to the heroine in the original comic as part of another fictional comic, "Tales of the Black Freighter," which is read by one of the characters.
But what really counts is the story of a sailor who, trying to detain a ghost ship that threatens his city, is capable of increasingly violent acts, which, Bustler points out, is part of the complex nature of the Pirate Jenny.
"I want other people to see themselves in me and to keep going for it and to keep creating projects," states Jessica Camacho.
But let's read it now in feminist terms. And let's go a little further, let's shipwreck with the real "Pirate Jenny", the song that inspired the story of the Black Freighter and which belongs to an opera by Bertolt Brecht in 1932, where Polly, one of the characters, sings a song about a poor maid named Jenny, mistreated by the people, who returns to claim her revenge as the captain of a pirate ship.
And knowing this, now imagine Nina Simone's incredible voice singing this song...
"She's a person who's understood a great deal of darkness in her life," says the actress regarding her character, "but she embraces that and uses that as her strength. She's not afraid to look different … she does not want to be uniform."
Neither does she.
If all the male pirates are called Jack, we now have our own Jenny.