Minority Representation in the Music Industry: The Latinx Wave

With the music business being built on racism, minority representation today is a crucial factor in the regeneration of a more diverse music industry. Not only does having a more diverse industry benefit artists, but it also benefits listeners who struggle to find cultural acceptance in their own lives. With the increase in minority artists and their different cultural influences on music, the music industry has improved for the better. Today, for example, music made by Latinx has become more popular than ever, gathering support from all over the world. 

Latinx is just one of the many empowering and uplifting labels that people identify as. Others include Tejano, Mestizo, Afro-Latino, Hispanic, Taíno, Chicano, Nuyorican, Indígenas, Isleños, and many more. Unfortunately, there are times where the beauty and vastness of Latin culture gets lost in translation. Like any harmful generalization, society tends to stereotype Latinx into this little character——he is Mexican and probably has tan skin, he is likely to be an illiterate criminal, and especially in the United states he is called an illegal. Even in TV and film, the utilization of stereotypes contributes to the harmful degradation of Latinx; such as the sexualization of Latinx characters: the maid/housekeeper role, the landscaper role, the gangbanger role, and many more. 

Although in the past different media outlets have tried to dim and minimize Latinx culture and identity, the following artists are assisting in restoring and emphasizing the culture’s beauty and diversity. Kali Uchis, a Colombian-American singer and songwriter, is one of the artists doing this. Her EP Por Vida and her album Isolation, have established Latinx’s mark on the R&B scene. She even has songs written in spanish like La Luz, Tirano, Aquí Yo Mando, and Solita, which are loved by both Spanish and non Spanish speakers. Living in both Colombia and the U.S. has definitely influenced her music as well as contributed to the diversity of the genres she sings. Next, is a band originating from Dallas, Texas which is home to so many influential artists like Selena Quintanilla and Bobby Pulido. Luna Luna is now another band added to the list of Texas’s Latinx artists. With their EPs Carousel and For Lovers Only, Luna Luna has further helped bring a Latinx twist onto the indie scene with their bilingual songs. 

Following, is a girl from the suburban town Little Ferry, New Jersey. Dominican and Mexican artist, Ambar Lucid, is only 19 and has gathered immense support and love for her bilingual music. Her childhood, like the reality of many Latinx children, was negatively impacted by her father being deported when she was very young. However, while dealing with the split of her family, she was able to find her voice and love for music. Her song A letter to my younger self, exhibits a beautiful message she gives to her younger self. She sings, “Ya no quiero que llores / The universe is gonna give you muchas flores / Quítate ese miedo / You’ll be a lot more trust me, yo te entiendo,” in which she says, “I don’t want you to cry anymore / The universe is going to give you a lot of flowers / Take off that fear / You’ll be a lot more trust me, I understand you.” Her lyrics not only embrace her roots and culture, but the emphasis on her past helps others from all around the world relate to her words and find peace within themselves. 

Afro Latinx is a part of the Latin population that seems to get the least representation in Latin music, movies, and all sorts of media. However, artists like Amara La Negra and Calma Carmona have made sure to keep Afro Latinx representation alive. Amara La Negra, best known for her show, Love & Hip Hop: Miami, is a Latina of Domincan descent. In her stage name, she reclaims the word “negra” celebrating her identity as a Black woman unapologetically. Her songs Insecure and What a Bam Bam, feature Spanish and English lyrics along with passion and a small, yet powerful dose of Dominican influence. Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, Calma Carmona, is also keeping Latin Soul alive with music influenced by artists like Sade, Santana, and La Lupe. Her song No Puedo Evitarlo displays her talent, strong tone, and Latin influence. 

Additionally, many Chicano artists have taken the music industry by storm. One notable artist today is Mexican-American singer-songwriter Omar Apollo. In his newest release Apolonio, he features a collaboration with previously mentioned Kali Uchis on the track Hey Boy. He also has a new song Dos Uno Nueve, translating to 2-1-9, which is titled after an area code in his home state of Indiana. In this song, Apollo demonstrates a modern take on the traditional Mexican corrido. Another notable Chicano artist is Mauri Tapia, frequently known as Los Retros. His DIY indie pop music pays homage to all the bands he would hear his parents playing growing up. Perhaps his strongest influence is the Chilean pop group, Los Angeles Negros. Los Retros’ EP’s Everlasting and Retrospect display his own twist on Latin romantic ballads. Some additional Chicano artists include Beach Goons, Y La Bamba, Jasper Bones, Victor Internet, and Chicano Batman. 

With so many artists keeping Latin culture alive, Latinx youth (and even non Latinx youth) all over the world are able to find a connection within themselves through this music. Not only are these artists bringing Latin influences to the music scene, but they are also bringing much needed authenticity. The continued diversification of the music scene elicits the sense that the best is yet to come. The Latinx Wave is about to hit the shore, and it’s a big one.                    

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