Who Run the World? Latin-American Women Are Having a Powerful Impact on Hip-Hop (Audio)
In a recent feature for the Guardian, a Female MC from Quito, Ecuador shares her experiences breaking into and representing Hip-Hop culture on a global level, but her story is far from anecdotal. Mariela Salgado (whose stage name is Roja) provided writer Claire Rigby with insight into the male-dominated scene in her hometown, a characteristic emblematic of many Hip-Hop communities around the world. Latin America, a region of the world that is predominantly Catholic and where women’s legislative and reproductive freedoms are curtailed in many ways has become a bastion for the outspoken, self-defining woman whose adoption of Hip-Hop as a means of artistic expression is, as Rigby writes, “shaking up Latin America’s macho rap culture.”
As one half of the duo Rima Roja en Venus, Salgado is just one of many women who are re-framing women’s role in Hip-Hop culture by bringing female visibility to Latin America’s stages, mics, recording booths, and cyphers. According to Rigby, these women are “part of a new generation of Latin American female MCs whose lyrics touch on some of the issues facing the region’s women – and celebrate the resilience and sheer huevos it takes to exist as a woman at all. The issues in question include a deep-rooted lack of equality; inadequate access to healthcare, sex education, contraception and abortion; human trafficking; domestic and public violence, rape and femicide.” She goes on to cite some startling statistics, including the unbelievably high murder rate of women in Brazil (15 a day).
Also included in the feature are the experiences of Guatamala City’s Rebeca Lane and Mexico City’s Audry Funk, with whom Salgado is a member of the “all-female, trans-Latin-American collective Somos Mujeres Somos Hip-Hop (We Are Women, We Are Hip-Hop).” The crew has since expanded its membership to include representatives of 10 countries who collectively released April’s mixtape “Latinoamérica Unida,” which can be heard in its entirely below. The title track was given the music-video treatment, and while all of the women involved are rappers through and through, according to Rigby their ultimate goal is to do more than perform music. “This emerging generation of female MCs is less interested in fame and fortune than it is in empowerment, collaboration and education,” she writes.