Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy in the Civil Rights space is an ever-present inspiration to all oppressed and marginalized people. MLK played a massively pivotal role in inspiring the Black community, but through his speeches, fights, and political views, he also effectively highlighted that the spirit of mutuality is where we needed to collectively focus. As MLK noted, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
It’s in this spirit that he was able to influence Latino leaders and communities to join in the fight for civil rights and collective liberation.
MLK Supported Civil Right Latino Activists
César Chávez admired MLK’s work. And MLK was impressed by what Chávez was achieving for the movement. MLK sent a telegram where he recognized that the work that needed to be done for both Black and Latino people were the same struggles and they both needed to support each other.
Cesar Chávez and Dolores Huerta, co-founders of the United Farm Workers of America, inspired by MLK’s work, launched their own marches in California and adopted nonviolent strategies like boycotts and picketing.
MLK Wanted Latinos Involved in the Poor People’s Campaign
MLK contacted Gilberto Gerena Valentín, president of the NYC Puerto Rican Day Parade, to help him get a better turnout of Latinos supporting civil rights work. After all, as he had mentioned to Chávez, they had a lot in common and working together was obviously apparent and necessary.
MLK Supported the United Farm Workers Union at a Critical Moment
MLK’s endorsement of Chávez helped the Latino community have someone who inspired them. Both Chávez and Huerta followed MLK’s steps and helped create pressure campaigns that led to better conditions for farmworkers.
MLK Attended a Los Angeles rally for Mexican Americans
MLK gave a speech at a rally of over 20,000 at Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field. He sponsored special guest speaker Juan Cornejo (the first Mexican American elected to the all-white city council). His presence inspired people to donate to various causes that fought for people of color’s needs.
MLK’s Legacy is Timeless
MLK’s work will always be a source of inspiration to others. Even though we’re still a massively long way from the dream he envisioned, reminding ourselves that together we can work towards a better future is the best lesson we can move forward with. Service to his legacy means being in service to ourselves while being in service to others without getting into oppression olympics. It’s not about who has it worse, but rather acknowledging the harm, trying to move forward collectively to address it, and solve it for the good of all.
Trap Latino is a hip-hop subgenre that’s been gaining steam worldwide for the past few years. Originating in Puerto Rico during the late 2000s, this genre comes directly from southern U.S. hip-hop and rap music and is heavily influenced by reggaeton and dembow. It’s been slowly taking over the charts, with many Latina singer-songwriters taking the scene by storm.
With their unapologetic lyrics, these Latinas also lend their voices to the Latin American feminist movement, using their platforms to lift each other up any chance they get, creating new feminist anthems, constantly advocating for more women in the urban scene, and offering a fresh take on urban music, lyrics, and imagery from a woman’s perspective.
Don’t sleep on these women. Check out our first of two lists of women who should be on your trap playlist.
Her name is Noris Diaz, but she’s better known as Tokischa. Having studied fine arts and dramaturgy, Tokischa took up professional modeling at the age of sixteen before moving on to work in a call center. By the time she turned eighteen, she had turned to sex work to make ends meet.
During a photoshoot for a magazine in her hometown of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at the age of twenty, she crossed paths with Raymi Paulus, a producer, who would eventually invite her to sign with his label.
Her lyrics are characterized by explicit expressions of sexual liberation and party culture, all set to the rhythms of trap, dembow, and reggaetón. This Afro-Dominican queen isn’t afraid to speak her mind, a trait that has often led to her being deemed, “
controversial,” something she doesn’t apologize for, even when she took heat for being a part of J Balvin’s use of Black women as dogs in the Perra video.
"I understand the interpretation people had, and I’m truly sorry that people felt offended. But at the same time, art is expression. It’s creating a world.”
Tokischa has gained recognition as a feminist and queer icon, largely due to her unabashed bisexuality, candid discussions about her past work as a sex worker, and bold fashion choices. She uses her platform to promote and celebrate Afro-Latine culture, while also making sure her message of self-love and in-your-face confidence resonates with her fans all over the world.
While walking the magenta carpet at Premios Lo Nuestro, where she was nominated for Artista Revelación Femenina, she expressed her admiration for all the women dominating the urbano genre, saying, “I feel like we are all winners, because we are all representing our countries, our culture, showing that women are powerful.”
The daughter of Mexican immigrants, 35-year-old Claudia Madriz became involved with music as young as 6 years old, participating in school talent shows and performing with her grandfather’s mariachi band. As a teen, Claudia started freestyling with her friends and eventually decided to go head-on into the urban music scene, releasing her first collab in 2007 and becoming an independent artist in 2018.
Snow has called out the blatant gender wage gap not only in the urban music scene but in all jobs, stating, “I rap better than 90% of the male rappers who are popular right now, but I get paid much less. Whether we are cooks, doctors, or maids, it doesn't matter, I want men to take into account our talent, not our gender.”
Villano Santiago Pacheco is a 27-year-old rapper, singer, and songwriter from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She describes herself as non-binary, transfeminine, and bisexual. She’s the first transgender and non-binary artist to enter
Spotify’s Global Top 50 list with her song “BZRP Music Sessions Vol. 51,” a collaboration with popular Argentinian producer Bizarrap.
Her lyrics revolve around sexual liberation, women’s empowerment, and fighting against transphobic rhetoric. Her beats are aggressive and catchy, with a touch of reggaeton and house music here and there.
Villano interchanges male and female pronouns in her songs, plays around with gender, and always shows her authentic self, completely uninterested in fitting into boring, conventional standards, which is part of why she calls herself a “villain.”
“I don't consider myself an activist or anything like that; I just exist. My existence ends up being activism,” she has said regarding her being seen as a pioneer of the Latino LGBTQIA+ movement. Villano has been very clear about being more interested in making music that reflects her life and experiences and resonates with other queer people, rather than being embraced by cis-hetero people.
She's also said she’s not striving for people's tolerance; she demands their respect.
You might know her as "La Nena Fina" straight outta the colorful city of Medellin, Colombia. An Afro-Colombian icon, her music is a fusion of trap, hip-hop, reggaeton, and pop, with powerful vocals, catchy hooks, and socially conscious lyrics.
She was raised in a family where music was everything; her father's guitar playing, and her mother's singing inspired her to pursue her passion. Before becoming a music sensation, she ventured into modeling and acting, landing a role in the hit Colombian TV series "Sin Senos No Hay Paraíso" in 2008.
Fast forward to today, and Farina has become a bonafide star in the Latin music scene, winning countless accolades along the way, including a Latin Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2018.
Her talent and fierce commitment to female empowerment have earned her critical acclaim and a massive fan base. Her fierce talent and commitment to championing women's empowerment have won her legions of fans. "I feel like I have a massive responsibility in the rap world, and I want to kick open doors for other ladies," she declared in a recent interview with
For Your Playlist:
For far too long, the music industry has been a man's world, with Trap and Reggaeton often falling prey to misogynistic lyrics and male-dominated vocals. But there's a new wave of Latinas taking over and revolutionizing the game, creating a community where women can empower each other and inspire one another to reach new heights, and it's about time.