Amor for Alex Nieto and this family

All power and love to Favi Estrella, a soothing soul singing homegirl warrior, and to her magnificent crew that filmed this beautiful empowering artistic video, “Cruisin’ with You,” which is dedicated to our fallen brother Alex Nieto.

Our movement, Amor for Alex, is a creative revolution, a perpetual pursuit for passion.

Favi Estrella’s new hit “Cruisin’ with You” exemplifies puro amor and community in action. The tragedies that are daily pressed upon us are our opportunity for creation. With our tears, we make art. If beauty is truth, then here it is, in every scene and shot of the video, and that is why the “Cruisin’ with You” video deserves a thorough analysis.

Favi had called me only days before the video filming to ask if we could gather enough gente and lowriders for the proposed video. After calling Roberto Hernandez, the mayor of La Mision, we organized and promoted a free barbeque, lowrider show, and signature gathering party at an event entitled “Independence of La Mision” to be held on Friday, July 3, 2015. While the gente and lowriders packed La Raza park, Favi and her crew almost didn’t make it, as they had been accosted and harassed by the Oakland police at the same time they were supposed to be with us, yet the filming, even with its obstacles, was meant to be, and she made it to witness an entire community of lowriders, children, veteran OG’s, political warriors, and families united to uplift the positive message of fighting against gentrification and of love and justice for Alex Nieto.

The movement for Alex Nieto began on March 21, 2014 when scholarship student Alex was shot at 59 times and killed by the San Francisco Police Department. Since then SFPD and the San Francisco machine have continued to attempt to oppress us with their lies and cover-ups, but we as a community are resilient and persistent. We hold endurance, that trait that withstands oppression and continues forward simultaneously. Since he was unlawfully killed we have marched, sung, painted many murals in Alex’s honor, performed poetry, created film, and held magnificent lowrider shows. Aztec dancers have blessed us with their spirit, and we have hosted informational booths at events such as Carnaval. We have spread our positive message using writing, videos, posadas, Burritos on Bernal, celebrations at the cemetery, y mas! Our search for truth will not end until Alex’s life is vindicated.

“Crusin’ with You” is Favi and the community’s latest art to combat injustice. Favi’s delicious soul soothing style of singing lowrider oldies is a revolution unto itself. She carries a voice of compassion that glides us into a new era of activism, one that is rooted in the streets, our positive community. Hypnotically, Favi sustains her lyrics with sensuality, but not a poisoned commercial hedonism. She respects the unique history of the Mission and Bay Area street culture, which adds a metaphysical dimension to her sound. Her singing is a cruise, a lullaby, not to put us to sleep, but to awaken us to our community responsibility.

The opening shots of the video are of Favi reading and viewing intense literature and historical photography. One book is of Ted Pushinsky’s photography, and in it there is a world famous shot of 1970’s 24th Street Mission Homeboys marching down the street with their boom box. In the background one hears two mas firme classic cholo oldies, The Moments’ “Love on a Two Way Street” and Malo’s “Suavecito.” These songs are salutes to our romantic and loving traditions in the barrio. On Favi’s door is a genius pencil penitentiary style mural drawing of Favi, a 1964 Impala lowrider, and the elegant script “Cruisin’ with You.” Political testaments of struggle, these intricate drawings were a way for incarcerated homeboys to kill time and create love out of an empty page. With mass incarceration that erupted in the 1980’s, homeboys found themselves victims of the system and locked up for great lengths of time. They fought back with art, as many homeboys learned to be detailed and creative, drawing out history and visions for special people on the outside.