Inspired by the tragic death of U.S. Army soldier Vanessa Guillén and the dozens of assaults on women being held at ICE detention centers, Colombian-Puerto Rican singer Karina Daza has united 14 female musicians and engineers to create a powerful new feminist anthem. Among the collaborators on the bilingual song, “Mujeres Will Riot,” are Grammy-winning artist Gaby Moreno, bass guitarist Jennifer Condos and Latin-Grammy-nominated producer Ali Stone.
Released on April 22—the anniversary of Vanessa Guillén’s death—the song which features the voices of everyday women reciting facts about the ongoing sexual violence that women have experienced throughout all of history, has been described as, “both a celebration of female strength, and a call to action to all Latinas—and all women—out there to rise up in solidarity.” April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the song raises awareness in the face of the femicide in Latin America, as well as the assault and harassment women like Guillén endure in the U.S. and migrant women in ICE detention centers.
“I was initially inspired to write it when I heard Vanessa Guillén’s story. Then I learned about the sexual assaults (including unwanted sterilizations) happening in ICE detention centers, and it just became painfully clear that women -and especially Latina women- are being brutalized, beaten, deported and even killed before they are able to testify against their abusers. This song is a response to all of that,” Karina said. She was born in New York City to immigrant parents and previously penned the song “Espíritu de León (Spirit of a Lion),” in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). “I think sometimes people get tired of talking about and sharing these things, and I hope that this song helps to reignite the fire in people to on fighting,” Karina tells HipLatina exclusively.
The song is performed mostly in English with some Spanish peppered throughout and it touches on Karina’s Latino roots. The line “no me quedare calladita,” which will likely hit home for many Latinas who grew up hearing the phrase “calladita te ves más bonita,” which of course means, “you’re prettier when you’re quiet,” and has been a source of contention and internal conflict for many.
The music video dropped the same day as the single and is incredibly emotional and makes an empowering statement about the strength and power of women. It begins with the iconic Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno saying, “Women in general are stereotyped, as the ‘weaker’ sex, that’s changing, and I think it’s alarming a lot of people.” “And I scream into the ocean, my grief…all the emotions of my mother’s, mother’s mother and so on, and I wonder how their fight became mine. But we’re survivors, and we’ll rise up,” Karina croons in her songbird voice, setting the tone for the rest of the empowering track.
“I am so proud that over a dozen women, including Gaby and Ali, generously collaborated on this project. Every aspect of this song – and music video – was entirely created by women- from every note played on each instrument, to the production, engineering, mixing and mastering. That’s extremely rare in this industry, and the energy in the air during this creative process was incredibly feminine, powerful, and divine. This project is a literal example of women coming together to support other women, and that’s a beautiful thing,” Karina explains.
“When I heard Karina’s incredible song, I knew I would be part of something really special. It was a big honor to produce “Mujeres Will Riot” and get all these outstanding female musicians, singers and engineers on board. It’s the first time I’m part of a production that is made 100% by women and it was an inspiring journey, to say the least,” says collaborator Gaby Moreno. “Everyone poured their hearts into this performance and I’m so proud of the outcome.”
Since the song was released, Karina says feedback has been incredible. “I have some people saying they’re hearing these women’s stories for the first time. And many who have been moved to tears, and moved to action, whether that’s signing a petition, raising awareness, or donating funds to nonprofits doing the work,” Karina told us. “I believe that collectively, we can absolutely pave the road for change.”
Proceeds from the song will be donated to Project South, which works to expose conditions in ICE detention centers, shut them down and help migrant women fight for justice in sexual assault and rape cases.