Hi Mob! We’re halfway through September — can you believe it?
Hopefully, you’ve spent these first 2 weeks of month number 9 setting yourself up for success for the last lap of 2017. YES, IT’S ALMOST OVER. Finally.
I don’t know about you but 2017 has been a very challenging year for me. In this year alone, I have learned how to take a step back from life when I have felt overwhelmed, how to communicate my ideas and beliefs in ways that are NOT problematic. I have learned to love myself in new ways and I have learned how to disconnect from the world (and social media & tv) when I am too involved in the ills that constantly run across our screens and down our timelines. And above all things, I’ve learned new ways to stay true to myself as I grow out of old habits and beliefs. It’s really important for me to disconnect and do periodic maintenance on my mental and spiritual health. As an empath, I have a tendency to absorb the emotional state of others and I'm very sensitive to the violence that we see displayed in media. Because this world is constantly changing and I am smart enough to grow WITH it, I am learning new levels of mental/spiritual up-keep— and since ya'll are an extension of my life I'd love to share the following...
I have discovered new forms of healing and therapy, like the Full Moon Rituals Danielle Ayoka of MysticLipstick has been sharing with us via Twitter, the poetry of my girl Rupi Kuar, girl talk with the ladies of theGIRLMOB and of course, music!
Music is magic. Music can heal you, music can lead you to discover parts of yourself that you didn't know were there. Music connects us to one another. We are bound by the songs of our lifetimes. Music tells the stories that we are too afraid to share without 808’s and airy beats. Music is a phenomenon, it is the sound that the human Spirit makes. And when you discover an artist whose music, lyrics and journey represents your own? It is a spiritual experience in and of itself.
Among the artists who speak my language of Latinidad, Sass and Feminism there are 4 powerhouses who have taken the music industry by their edges simply by showing their true selves and empowering other women to do the same.
Cardi B., Princess Nokia, Kali Uchis and Karen Rodriguez are four Latinx/Hispanic women in the music industry who I admire, will support until the end of time— and most of all, remind me of myself! So this is an ode, a shout out, an appreciation reel to them...
Let’s start off with our lord and savior — Cardi B.
Cardi B got her claim to fame on VH1’s ‘Love & Hip Hop’ where her spitfire personality made the entire world fall in love with Bronx girls. S/O to the Bronx! She kept it real and it truly translated on the screen. As someone who has been on reality tv — I am SO proud of her for staying true to showing up as herself and using the show as a platform for her hearts desire… her music career! Cardi is a true feminist, a talented rapper and shows the world that brown and black women can be multi-dimensional. And let’s be real — ‘Bodak Yellow’ is the song of the summer. I was lucky enough to see her perform @ the MoMa PS1 in August & I got goosebumps watching my Bronx beauty shine & glow. Cardi B is proof that if you work hard enough for what you want and harness the power of YOU — the Universe will take you in its arms and carry you all the way to the top! Cardi baby — in me, you have a fan for LIFE! I can’t wait for your next project to drop in October!
Next up is Princess Nokia, formerly Wavy Spice. I am lucky enough to have briefly met her through my best friend and was enamored by her aura. Her presence is incredible and if you’ve ever met her — you know. She is such a lovely woman and you can feel the confidence oozing out of her pores, she talks the talk AND walks the walk. What I love so much about Princess Nokia is the way she pays homage to her Yoruba and Taino roots and incorporates her blended cultures into her music. She brings her diaspora into spaces that weren't designated for US and does so un-bashfully. Princess Nokia educates her fans on her experience + pays homage to NYC in the best way possible. And have y’all heard her speak? She's enlightening and graceful and is still gangsta as fuck. Now THAT'S duality! Baby girl, I am so proud of you + am looking forward to playing 1992 Deluxe until I know every last ad-lib.
Alright, now we have this Colombian angel who has descended from heaven by way of Virginia. While Kali Uchis can be considered a white passing woman — she is very proud of her Colombian heritage and as a Latina, I recognize how she channels her Latinidad in ways that might stay under the radar for someone who grew up outside of Latin/Hispanic culture. First off, her voice is incredible — it’s like honey layered over tales of heartbreak and girl power. She doesn’t just sing, Kali Uchis also plays the saxophone — which just so happens to be my favorite instrument. Citing her main influence as Jazz and attributing her sound to legends like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald — she reminds me of my beloved Amy Winehouse, but this is by no means a comparison. I wouldn't take away from either of their incredible talents by going down that route, but if you haven't heard her music yet — that’s the vibe you're in for, with a Latina twist! Kali Uchis gives me true angelic, ethereal vibes and I could get lost in her Instagram for days. My favorite thing about her though? She believes in the power of the Universe and channels her spirituality into her music. I think all Latina’s are brujas deep down inside because of our ancestral ties— and she shows us that witchy magic through her lyrics. Kali Uchis has a brand new track ft. one of my new favorite musicians, miss Jorja Smith — it’s called ‘Tyrant” + I’m all the way here for it.
And Karen. Oh, Karen. Karen Rodriguez is a woman who I am privileged enough to call a friend. We met in 2013 and I was taken aback by how sweet and humble she is after being a star and fan favorite on American Idol 10. I fell in love with Karen because she was and IS so adamant about incorporating her Latin culture in her music. She has always been this way and in 2016 — it finally payed off. Karen is now signed to Roc Latino, a faction of Jay-Z’s RocNation that focuses on Latinx musicians. While she isn’t the type to boast — I am definitely the type to brag about the accomplishments of my friends so let’s name a few. Karen was the FIRST bi-lingual finalist on American Idol. She co-wrote “Odio” with Romeo Santos and Drake, yes b*tch —ROMEO AND DRAKE! Karen is one of those singer/songwriters who comes along once in a lifetime — a true reflection of Latin culture and the love and humble demeanor we are known for. You might recognize her incredible voice from the Spanish covers she did of Adele’s “Hello” and Drizzy’s “Hotline Bling”. She really is putting on for all the bi-lingual and Spanish speaking music lovers and I am so so so proud of how hard she works. It is so great to see good, hardworking and talented women make it to the top! And the most recent? She performed at Made In America. My girl performed at Made in America aka Jay-Z handpicked her for this legendary festival — I know! It’s crazy. But this is just the beginning for her, believe me. I’m so happy that she finally has the resources to record the album that’s itching to get out of her. Manita, I am so proud of you — I can’t tell you enough + I am patiently waiting for that album to drop!
So those are four of my favorite Latina’s in the music industry right now. Four women who are setting the tone for Latin/Hispanic excellence in the years to come. Four women who represent my experience. Four women who tell my story. Four unique, talented and hard working women who are paving the way for the next generation of girls. Four women who inspire me and give me the confidence to face this world everyday. These four woman have given me a lifetime of lyrics, melodies and bars + I consider it a blessing to bear witness to their glow up!
Here's to us celebrating women like these and to continue to encourage other Latinx/Hispanic + Bicultural ladies to not be afraid to incorporate their culture (their SAZON) in their art.
Keep it Sassy,