Five Latinas Transforming The Indie Music Scene

Irene Diaz
Carolyn Cardoza

Latinas are no monolith, so why expect music by them to all sound the same?

As multifaceted as Latinas are in their identities, the music they produce also manifests into a multitude of radical forms, sounds, and experiences. Enter these five Latinas who are making waves in music. These singers are spearheading innovations in their scenes by using their modern visions to synthesize traditional sounds with classic styles. From cumbia to disco, these cutting-edge women demonstrate that their tunes are dynamic, revolutionary, and empowering for all Latinxs and their music tastes.

Sarah La Morena

Sarah Palafox, whose stage name is Sarah La Morena, went viral for her powerful vocals and perfect Spanish while performing alongside a mariachi. But the singer’s immaculate performance shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Afro-Mexican sensation was adopted as a newborn by Mexican parents and raised in Zacatecas, and as such, she proudly showcases her identity by performing cumbia and norteño music. Palafox has several singles out on social platforms and is close to completing her first EP.

Irene Diaz

Haunting melodies and a soulful voice mark the music of Irene Diaz, a singer, and multi-instrumentalist whose upcoming full-length debut, Lovers & Friends, was executive produced by Latin Grammy Award winner Carla Morrison. Diaz draws her musical inspiration from multiple sources, including Nina Simone, Nick Drake, and even Ariana Grande. Diaz’s recent single called, “Me and My Babe,” highlights queer love told through the filter of Diaz’s relationship.

Sheyla and Emily Rosas from Dueto Dos Rosas

The sisters from San Marcos, California, pay homage to their Indigenous Oaxacan roots by performing musica campirina and rancheras on YouTube as Dueto Dos Rosas. The sisters play requinto and acoustic guitars as they harmonize covers by icons like Las Jilguerillas, Lucha Reyes, Lola Beltrán, and others. Their YouTube music channel is so popular, that their cover of, “Cariñito de mi Vida” has over 6 million views.

Cusi Coyllur

Cusi Coyllur, whose real name is Shannen Roberts, is a Peruvian-American musician from Los Angeles who takes a holistic approach in her music to document her struggles with mental health and disability issues. The singer’s avant-garde music merges various genres ranging from experimental to electronic and connected by her captivating, ethereal voice. Roberts recently released the song and music video, “Welcome to Our World,” which confronts listeners by showing them how the pandemic affects people living with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

Chrisol Lomeli

Watching Chrisol Lomeli perform live is like watching the late Mexican-American icon Selena. You can’t believe someone can move, sing, and perfectly capture the energy of the Tejana legend in such a powerful and uncanny way. Since 2015, she’s been singing in a popular Selena cover band from LA called Selenamos. Lomeli is now a star in her own right. Last year, she branched off and released her solo project. Lomeli’s music is a hypnotizing blend of Latin, disco, R&B, and soul. You can listen to it in her newest EP, Lovely.

vibrant graphic design featuring two female wrestlers in action

Picture this: the grand arena hums with the electricity of expectation and the clamor of a thousand voices, all waiting for the spectacle of the age-old Mexican tradition of Lucha Libre, a wrestling style born in the heart of Mexico in the early 20th century.

The combatants aren’t mere wrestlers; they are luchadores, artists of acrobatics and theatricality, their faces hidden behind vibrant masks that carry stories older than the very sport they represent, stories rooted in the legacy of the ancient Aztecs.

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Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

Video by theluncheonlawyer on InstagramVideo by theluncheonlawyer on Instagram

Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.