Creating social change and educating come hand in hand. For the Latinx community, Conciencia Collective comes as a much needed session to change the narrative we have towards people of color within our community. The collective is an alliance comprised of +35 executives from the Latin music industry, including activists, journalists, artist managers, publicists, lawyers, and on-air personalities, who are against racial and social injustice and came together to create awareness.
The first conversation of Conciencia Talk, which is presented by the collective and mitú, will be streamed this Friday at 4pm PST/7pm EST. Afro-Latin artists Goyo and Rafa Pabón, alongside Dr. Aurora Vergara Figueroa will be leading the talk and discussing the important role that the Afro-Latino community plays in society, and what we can do to help amplify their voice and dismantle systemic racism.
Check out Conciencia Collective’s playlist, co-curated with Spotify and updated monthly. Conciencia Collective’s other partners include SiriusXM Caliente which is launching a special dedicated to educating our community on racism in the world called “Tu Lucha, Es Mi Lucha” and Beatsource who gave the collective an official playlist on the Latin music front page.
Statement by Goyo
“I’m talking to you as a Black woman, rapper, singer, born in South America. In an invisible region, a jewel in my country; a Black village.
The experiences that we Black women live change you from the moment you leave your home. Society reminds you that at home, you live in a protected space. At home, we are educated with tools to go out into a racist world. As Howard C. Stevenson said, ‘we [as Black people] are educated with a kind of a racial literacy.’
Where I come from, they equip us with tools to achieve the highest level of education; they prepare you not to let yourself be belittled because of your skin color, to understand that your rights and privileges are different; to do things for others, for your brothers and sisters, even if we don’t have the same blood. It’s enough to live through the experiences that are not far from that of a normal woman in the Pacific. More than 100 million Afro-Latinos share experiences of racism that confront us. We are succumbing to the inferior narratives in the media when we do not show our histories or as they did with “Blanquita,” the image of a woman that is used to perpetuate the image of a domestic servant.
This last example seems mild but it is an attack on the humanity of Black women because it is linked to a series of images that classify and perpetuate [their existence] in certain occupations. And, in this way, they ratify the racist logic of stereotyping someone’s image.
I also understand that many speak from ignorance. This does not make them bad people. They need to make an effort and educate themselves to understand the multiple manifestations of racism.
Many people do not live in [Black] skin. Some people find out when they experience discrimination as an immigrant. This helps understand the problem once and for all without hesitation. They also teach us that being direct is different from being rude, which all depends on how you grew up.
When we say that racism does exist, we are not asking for anything, nor are asking to be given anything. Who more than we, who through our ancestors learned to do things as best as humanly possible; as we set our standards three times higher for ourselves.
Equality is a right. If turning on cameras brings authority under scrutiny, we must continue to do so.
If you love my music and if you believe me, I invite you to join me in my struggle. Join me in making people understand that racism is prevalent and has very deep impacts. It is something basic to understand.
I should be interested in you and even more so if your rights are violated, by the media and its policies, companies and governments that exclude [us] that are founded on systematic racism.
Many institutions do not care about our dead, it is up to us to talk about our pain. I’ve been denouncing this and using multiple platforms even if this is seen as “uncool.” For many years, at least throughy my music, we have showcased our lives without all the drama, in reality we laugh, we cry, we dance, we fall in love, we bitch and moan through our music. For example, in ‘Somos los Prietos’ we do just this because we believe that it is important, that in order to have equality, we have to talk about the issue of racism, in the same way that we talk about soccer or money.
We live this in the music industry. This is similar to the discussion that is taking place to eliminate the word ‘urbano’ from describing Latin music. I think that by removing the term, it delegitimizes many of the jewels [songs] that are categorized under that term. That’s why I think it’s important to include categories in the music awards for Hip Hop, Latin R&B, soul, Pacific Music, Urban Alternative and Rap. Almost all of us [artists] have had a song that wasn’t necessarily showcased or awarded under the appropriate category in awards. Words are redefined and a good body of work goes beyond the numbers we all talk about, beyond the genres. This serves to say that we are number one in something and that’s it. However, each artist finds in their art a reason for being who they are.
For these reasons, almost no reggaeton artist can say that they don’t have an [urban] track or that they haven’t collaborated in an ‘urban’ song. In the end they feed off the same sounds every time; like every musical genre does. Everyone can communicate with each other or they are family [of genres] and we must be prepared for this discussion.
I’ve understood more and more that to be a rapper, you don’t have to be what the standard is in the US; we can do it our own way. The discussion is also from our experience in our cities or corners of the so-called Third World. Whoever raps or sings, does it under any rhythm. You’re even stereotyped because of your music.
We all contribute something as a society. We are all capable of creating many reasons for living and achieving those dreams if we work for this, but it cannot be denied that the game is not 11 against 11 from any perspective. For the Black and Latino communities there is no equality. Much less when they always tell us that Black is ugly, that working a lot is ‘working like Black person,’ that, supposedly, braids were worn by domestic servants in Colombia, but they never told us our story in schools. There is no talk of racism in educational institutions. This must change.
There are not many Black people who have the privilege of saying ‘we make a living from music,’ ‘I have a career, I tour the world, I have awards and Grammy nominations.’ There are no serious marketing studies to believe that we are incapable of anything.
Racism isn’t just saying “Black bitch” to a person who plays soccer. But it’s not less important. If we continue reinforcing racist stereotypes through the media, we close the few doors that are open to us, thanks to the talent and the amount of people who don’t even see you as a number or a skin color. They see you as a human being that behaves like one. With mistakes and virtues but one who dreams of an inclusive, hopeful and loving future.”