From hip-hop to cumbia and electro pop: these LGBT+ Latino artists have got you covered.
It’s a well-known truth that music is a universal language. I’m 100 percent sure that there isn’t anyone in this world who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good tune. That person doesn’t exist because our brain responds to rhythms and beats even when we’re not familiar with them. For that reason, I’ve always thought that music has a great power to convey meanings and emotions, and it's a perfect way to show people what you stand for and what you believe in. There are resistance songs that appeared at moments of war and struggle and later became anthems of inspiration and freedom. And today, many artists are using music to talk about important issues going on in the world. One of them is discrimination and the trampling of human rights among the LGBT+ community.
There are many artists that are combining their activism with their own life experiences, culture, and political views. So, here we have six amazing LGBT+ latino music artists who aren’t only using their work as a means to talk about their own identities as members of the community, but they're also bringing to the table their unique musical traditions, their culture, their history, and struggles.
Born and raised in Mexico's North, Niña Dioz became the very first LGBT+ Mexican rapper. Having always been a huge fan of the genre, and seeing that it was predominantly a sexist one, she decided to take the roots and principles of it and use it both to expose its nature and subvert it, to make it more inclusive and open for every audience. After struggling in a very tight and often discriminatory market, her lyrics started inspiring a huge audience, so that Niña Dioz has managed to make a name in the industry with her bold rhymes.
More or less in the same music vein, Rico Dalasam started his hip-hop career in his native São Paulo, garnering a lot of success in Brazil. His debut album, Orgunga, a play on the words “orgullo, gay, negro” (pride, gay, black), became a huge hit thanks to his intense and powerful songs, inspiring his audience to be proud of their roots and identity. He talks about his experience as a gay black man, two characteristics that are considerably discriminated against in his country. Needless to say, he became one of the main representatives of the Brazilian LGBT+ community thanks to his optimistic songs that encourage people to feel proud of who they are.
Nomi Ruiz is a Nuyorican artist known for her unique style, which merges R&B, hip-hop, and electro-pop. She’s also quite a popular producer, traveling throughout the world looking for new and interesting projects to support. She’s been very vocal both in her songs as well as an activist about how what it's like for a trans woman to succeed in the mainstream music industry and life in general. Her music is a true inspiration not only for the LGBT+ community, but also for everybody looking for recognition.
Using a historically loaded and powerful name, this Peruvian DJ based in Philadelphia has been using music to talk about her experience as an indigenous trans woman. She has been really vocal about the process of her transition, though she prefers using the term “genderqueer.” Her merging of electronic music with traditional rhythms such as cumbia and chicha really transports you to her particular reality and experience.
A former psychology student who realized that music was her real passion, Argentinian musician Paz Ferreyra, best known as Miss Bolivia, has devoted her musical career to the creation of songs with strong political and social meanings. Mixing some reggae, cumbia, and hip-hop, she’s been able to position herself as one of the most innovative musicians to play at the most prestigious Latin American stages and festivals. She came out publicly as a bisexual musician, and since then, she’s used her music as a platform to fight for LGBT+ rights through her lyrics, performing at Pride events, and also through more formal activism.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be mentioning where these musicians are from nor how they identify themselves. However, since we still have a long way to go, I think that these facts can inspire people all over the world to open their minds and join the many movements fighting for these rights. These artists are taking their unique cultural backgrounds and experiences for us to relate to them through the most universal language of all: music.