Jennifer Lopez’s Tale of Alida and Taroo, Explained

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that Jennifer Lopez is an honest entertainer through and through; she’s a singer, dancer, as well as actress in every sense of these terms. It thus comes as no surprise all her projects surrounding her 9th studio album ‘This Is Me… Now’ — whether it be the tour, documentary, or accompanying musical drama — illustrate the same. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the old folk tale she often references in the same, especially in Prime Video’s ‘This Is Me … Now: A Love Story,’ we’ve got the details for you.

Alida and Taroo’s Saga is an Age-Old Legend

While there have been many renditions of star-crossed, tragic love fables across different cultures worldwide, the Puerto Ricans are the ones to embrace that of young Alida and Taroo the most. That’s because this tale actually unfolded in their homeland — then known as Borinquén — according to a retelling by Afro-Puerto Rican educator, myth collector, plus writer Pura Belpré in 1973. The former was the daughter of a local hill-inhabiting Indian chief, whereas the latter had mistakenly been left behind by the enemy Carib tribe following one of their several attacks on natives.

It turns out Alida didn’t care much about wealth, power, or standing, which is just among the many reasons why her favorite spot in this world was a lake between the towns of Cayey and Cidra. This lake was not only surrounded by pomarosa fruit trees but also fed by a waterfall that tumbled down the mountain’s side; plus, it was here that she came across handsome Taroo for the first time. Though the truth is this stranger-yet-not had already seen her beauty by these waters long before, just to frequently return to pick some food with an additional hope of catching another glimpse of her.

According to Pura Belpré’s work, Alida listened to Taroo’s story closely on that first day since she recognized he was not of her tribe, just to make serious plans to meet again in the days to follow. Their innate connection hence grew into a friendship before evolving into much more, yet their rendezvous’ were always rather brief as the former genuinely feared they’d get caught and separated. Little did she know her worst fears would soon be realized as someone saw them and reported to her father, only for him to then vehemently decide to marry off his girl to a man of his choosing.

That’s when a grief-stricken Alida pleaded with the gods to “help me! Kill me or do what you will with me, but do not let me marry this man whom I do not love.” They actually took pity and transformed her into a delicate red flower, all the while her completely unaware lover continued to wait for her by the lake every single day. It was the gods who ultimately eased his worries too by calling out, “O Tarro, wait no longer for Alida. Your secret was made known, and Alida was to be married… her plea for help [was heard] and changed her into a red flower,” just for him to then beg aid to find her.

That’s when Taroo was transformed into a small, many-colored bird, only for the Indians to name him Hummingbird upon soon discovering this new winged fellow darting among their flowers. They noticed this bird was as swift as an arrow, as bright as a jewel, and had music pouring out of its rapidly beating wings while it kissed every red petal, so they deemed this name very fitting.

“Ever since then, the little mini-colored bird has hovered over every flower he finds, but he returns most often to the flowers that are red,” Pura’s legend concludes. “He is still looking. He’s always looking for the one red flower that will be his last Alida. He has not found her yet.” And this narrative is what Jennifer Lopez often references while reimagining her own unwavering hopes for love.

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