One of the reasons why the movements for body positivity, natural hair, and diversity are so important is because people – women especially – need to see images that represent their multifaceted identities. Fresh off the Grammys, it’s clear that representation for ALL women in the music is sadly lacking, and this is a big deal considering the impact and influence of the industry.
Afro-Latinas (Latinas of African descent) especially are incredibly underrepresented when it comes to mainstream media. Sure, we got old school Afro-Latina artists like Celia Cruz that we all grew up listening to but what about the modern stuff? What better time than now to highlight and honor some of the best Afro-Latino music artists in the biz right now? Here’s a look at a few Afro-Latina singers and artists to add to your playlist!
This insanely talented French, Venezuelan, and Afro-Cuban musical duo consists of 22-year-old twin sisters, Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz. Their worldly music is filled with the sounds of piano, percussion, hip-hop beats, and minimal electronics and the lyrics are sung in English, Spanish, a little bit of French, and Yoruba, the language spoken by the West Africans who were brought as slaves to Cuba. The language along with deeply spiritual aspects of the music pays homage to the twin’s Afro-Cuban roots. They were born in Paris and spent a lot of time in Cuba over the years, where their well-known Cuban musician and percussionist father Angá Díaz was from. The girls hit mainstream stardom when they made an appearance in Beyonce’s Lemonade special which debuted on HBO in April 2016. Clearly, Bey is a fan of there’s because the year before that she had the twin’s song “River” playing in the background of a Vogue video she made in conjunction with her September issue cover. Listen to “River” from their eponymous first album and “Me Voy” from their 2017 album Ash.
If you haven’t listened to her music yet, chances are you’ve seen that video of her throwing soup at a racist man that went viral. The stunning, 25-year-old artist of Afro- Puerto Rican descent, whose real name is Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, identifies as a bruja (spiritual witch) and a queer feminist. She incorporates these numerous identities as well as female empowerment in all of her music. Listen to tracks “Brujas” and “Tomboy” off of her latest album 1992.
Amara La Negra
The Afro-Dominicana made headlines after she was insulted on an episode of Love and Hip Hop: Miami for rocking her natural fro and embracing her African roots. She has since been a strong voice for Afro-Latina identity and she’s practically the queen of Tumbao. Listen to “Se Que Soy” and “Pa Tu Cama Ni Loca.”
The woke and self-identified “banjee rose from the concrete jungle,” is the Dominican rapper you should be obsessing over right now – if you haven’t already. This Afro-Latina feminist uses her music as an opportunity to address issues that impact women of color and has made it her mission to crush the patriarchy. Listen to “Mala.”
The Afro-Latina rapper who has Panamanian and Jamaican heritage on her dad’s side and Puerto Rican and Haitian on her mom’s side raps a lot about growing up in Brooklyn. She’s made it her mission to provide not just a sense of nostalgia in her lyrics but an opportunity for healing. Her song “Glo Up” is probably the catchiest track off of her 2017 Teen Nite at Empire. It’s a song dedicated to every woman who has ever been done dirty by a dude and who is learning to love and accept themselves.
This soulful Afro- Puerto Rican, dreadlocked beauty is like Sade with a Latin and Caribbean twist. Her music is meditative and her lyrics are empowering. Listen to “100 Vidas” and “No Puedo Evitarlo.”
The talented rapper touches on her experience being an Afro-Boricua bisexual bruja in her 2017 album Creature! while also rejecting the patriarchal standards that are constantly being forced upon women of color. Listen to “La Diaspora,” like, right this second.