Audible is the world’s largest producer and source of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment and in February it launched Audible Latino. Part of the debut collection includes Audible Original Talking While Female and Other Dangerous Acts, a series of original short stories from Latinas across the states.
The stories, available in April, are curated by Teatro Luna – the country’s first Pan-Latina theater company, based in Chicago – and co-produced by Christina Igaraividez and Alexandra Meda. Founded in 2001 by Coya Paz and Tanya Saracho, Teatro Luna is a direct result of the lack of representation of Latinas in media and theatre.
Talking While Female was originally a traveling solo-play festival featuring performances and original work by WOC from all over the nation.
“This storytelling series has ramped up due to audience interest and our own desire to lift up as many voices as possible via this platform,” Igaraividez told HipLatina. “We are incredibly proud but also sad that this is one of the few — if not only — live storytelling shows that exclusively features women of color.”
Since 2000, Igaraividez and Meda — performers themselves — have been working with Latinas and WOC to help tell their stories. Now they’re joining the Audible family to share their stories with a larger audience.
“We are really proud of how it has turned out. No two stories are alike, no two lived experiences are the same with this group. We were as intentional as possible to represent the diverse and rich spectrum of what it means to be Latina. It was really important that no one was tokenized to tell their story as an ‘other,'” Igaraividez said.
They both talk about the importance of not pigeonholing women in gender roles or reinforcing negative stereotypes, instead of showing stories that they describe as “messy and complex.”
Stories range from a Venezuelan journalist turned playwright’s unaired interview with Fidel Castro to a woman traveling Europe as a hitchhiker to the impact of a grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s on a Mexican-American girl.
“They are all little jewels, little lessons on how to live bravely, how to get up after a failure, how to love yourself more, and how to spread the love with others,” Meda said.
Audible is promoting the collection for “anyone who has ever felt invisible, powerless or alone.”
With Audible being the home of the largest collection of audiobooks, the launch of the Latino platform is an indicator of not only Latinx buying power but also the vastness of Spanish literature — past and present.
“With the launch of Audible Latino, Hispanic customers now have access to a dedicated home comprised of the largest selection of Spanish-language audiobooks in the US,” Director of Original Content, Spanish Language at Audible Manny Miravete said.
Audiobooks continue to climb in popularity with sales increasing by 22.7 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the Audio Publishers Association.
The Latinx community currently makes up 18 percent of the U.S. population and are the second-fastest growing demographic with an estimated buying power of $1.7 trillion by 2020. Audible membership is $14.95 a month.
The Audible collection also includes Puerto Rican Carlos Ponce narrating the audio premiere of Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J. K. Rowling, released in conjunction with the launch of the platform. The rest of the titles will come later this year. Coming in the fall is Audible Original From Negative to Positive, a memoir by Armando Perez a.k.a Pitbull ,who wrote and narrates the book.
Meda and Igaraividez hope the Talking While Female and Other Dangerous Acts series reinforces that there is strength in unity and the power of love and grace, specifically considering the current culture in America.
“[These stories] will showcase how special our limited time of being alive truly is. It will help women feel seen, supported and will give them power and strength to come out of their own shadows,” Meda said.