Bay Area singer-songwriter La Doña premieres exclusively on Billboard her new single “Chuparrosa” honoring Sean Monterrosa who was killed at the hands of police on June 2 in the Bay Area.
The title, which translates to hummingbirds, was inspired after “both mine and other people’s experiences of seeing hummingbirds when Sean passed,” La Doña (real name Cecilia Peña-Govea) tells Billboard. “There was a wounded hummingbird at his memorial, just hummingbirds all over the place. It’s like he’s visiting us and I couldn’t get it out of my head.”
Monterrosa, an unarmed 22-year-old man, was shot and killed by a police officer of the Vallejo Police Department who fired at him through the window of an unmarked car outside of a Walgreens in Vallejo, a city in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, his sisters Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa, along with community members including La Doña, have mobilized to seek justice for their brother.
“[La Doña] was front and center at the first rally we had for my brother on June 5,” says Michelle. “It’s been a blessing to have her in our corner. I know my brother would be proud to see the community come out for us and my parents. It’s a really horrible loss and we’re only five months into this fight. Now, on the fifth month of my brother’s anniversary, something so beautiful will be released in his honor.”
“Chuparrosa” is a son jarocho, a musical style from Veracruz, Mexico, in which La Doña immortalizes Monterrosa and pays homage to Ashley and Michelle who have taken to the streets since the day their brother was killed to demand accountability from police and get justice for Monterrosa and other Black and brown community members who have died at the hands of police.
“I’ve been so moved by Ashley and Michelle and their tireless work. I come from a family of organizers and I know that the work is not easy. It’s a lifelong commitment. In the song I say, ‘las hermanas de guerra y de paz (the sisters of war and peace)’ because they exemplify those callings all the times.”
The track also condemns police brutality calling for the “immediate firing” of the officers involved in the murder of Monterrosa and other victims of police brutality.
“Sean can be anyone,” says Ashley. “He was a fist generation man trying to make it out there and he never settled. He was always looking for more. Just 30 minutes before he was murdered his last message was to send us the change.org petition for George Floyd.”
Michelle adds, “We’re forever grateful with Cecilia for writing about our family. This song and all the other art my brother has inspired is what keeps us going.” Stream La Doña’s “Chuparrosa” exclusively on Billboard: