politics

Why The NoDAPL Movement Has A Deeper Meaning For Me As An Afro-Indigenous Caribbean Latina

When the demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) first began in September, 26-year-old Bronx native Nasha Paola Holguín rushed to the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota to support the fight for indigenous sovereignty.

“As an Afro-Latina, I felt like Standing Rock was a culmination of everything and it was really important for us to have a presence there,” she told Mitú by phone from Harlem.

Vladimir De Jesus Santos
CREDIT: Vladimir De Jesus Santos

She wasn’t alone.

Like Holguín, hundreds of other young Latinx water protectors from around the United States and Latin America had also made the grueling trek to Standing Rock during the harsh winter months.

Vladimir De Jesus Santos
CREDIT: Vladimir De Jesus Santos

This was, of course, before the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers denied a permit for the continued construction of the pipeline on December 4th.

“I felt a very passionate love and dedication for my people. And when I say my people I mean all of Latin America: Mexico, Colombia, and Chile, because we’re all brothers and sisters who have been colonized.”

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CREDIT: Vladimir De Jesus Santos

As a self-identified “Afro-Indigenous Caribbean” woman, Holguín’s deep ties to her Dominican roots and activism were the catalyst for her journey to Standing Rock.

But demonstrating against the pipeline with other Latinxs from around the U.S. also brought the challenges of water access closer to home.

“This is also a Latinx problem because our water sources are also being polluted in the U.S.,” Holguín explained. “Seeing my Latino brothers and sisters out there just reassured me that we were after the same goal, which is our basic human rights as people and the health of the earth.”

Vladimir De Jesus Santos
CREDIT: Vladimir De Jesus Santos

Despite of the recent suspension of the pipeline drilling, Holguín and other water protector groups like the Last Real Indians and Red Warriors (who currently remain at Standing Rock) believe that president-elect Donald Trump will bring an increased threat to communities of color.

“Our people are really hopeless right now because of Trump,” she said. “But there’s so many of us who are willing to put our lives on the line for our people. It’s a good thing that all of us are coming together. The warriors at the camp gave me a lot of faith about the future because they think exactly like we do about liberation.”

Vladimir De Jesus Santos
CREDIT: Vladimir De Jesus Santos

Holguín plans to head back to Standing Rock during the next few weeks, but her decision to join the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline last fall will always be, according to her, a moment that changed her life forever.


READ: Dakota Access Pipeline Halted For Now, But Trump May Change That Soon

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From Punk To Reggaeton, Here Are 12 Acts To Keep You Eye On In 2017

entertainment

From Punk To Reggaeton, Here Are 12 Acts To Keep You Eye On In 2017

It feels truer and truer every day: the most exciting music, across sound and continent, is being made by Latinx voices. It’s not that the rest of the world is just starting to take notice of the massive Latin genre — it’s that it’s become unavoidable. When looking for the trendsetters, from political punk powerhouses to future rap superstars, we realized there were many, many innovative musicians coming from Latin backgrounds. Here are few to keep an eye out for in 2017.

Alegría Rampante

Credit: Ángel Flores / Alegria Rampante / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Ángel Flores / Alegría Rampante / Facebook

Alegría Rampante (“Rampant Joy” in English) is the project of Eduardo Alegría, former co-founder of Superaquello. Rampante is his pop project, one both theatrical and outspokenly queer in nature. All of his beautiful songs about love and loss songs manage to resonate with both his queer and his Puerto Rican identities.

Listen: “Armando”

Audri Nix

Credit: Audri Nix / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Audri Nix / Facebook

Boricua rapper Audri Nix has been around the underground hip hop scene for the last two years or so, first piquing the interest of sites like Vibe with her hauntingly earnest tracks “1,000 MPH” and “Veneno.” After taking a break to deal with her depression, she released an EP titled “El Nuevo Orden Vol. 1” last year. Her R&B-tinged music reflects that sorrow and the result is something that will make her fans feel a little less alone. We expect more beautiful things from her, and soon!

Listen: “Inevitable”

Maluma

Credit: Maluma / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Maluma / Facebook

Colombian singer Maluma is already huge in Latin America, but 2017 is the year that his fame translates stateside. He’s hitting the road in the U.S. for the first time this spring and we anticipate his world takeover soon after. Check out “El Perdedor” if you haven’t already — 500 million plays do not lie.

Listen: “El Perdedor”

The Tracks

Credit: The Tracks / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: The Tracks / Facebook

Los Angeles has been a hotbed for indie rock for a while now — there’s something very attractive about trying to enter the unforgiving music industry on your own terms, with your own DIY ethics, under the shadow of the Hollywood skyline. Though the city’s population is nearly half Latinx, garage rock is still a very white subgenre. But The Tracks, a band out of Boyle Heights, is changing that. With their debut album due later this year, we know they’re going to be a very important band for Latinx people both in and out of L.A.

Listen: “Go Out Tonight”

Helado Negro

Credit: Helado Negro / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Helado Negro / Facebook

Helado Negro, the electronic pop project of Roberto Carlos Lange, has caught the attention of major mainstream press outlets like Rolling Stone and SPIN while maintaining a distinctly personal feeling. “It’s My Brown Skin” and “Young, Latin & Proud” prove that other worldly experimental pop can be resonant in a tumultuous racial climate.

Listen: “It’s My Brown Skin”

Downtown Boys

Credit: Downtown Boys / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Downtown Boys / Facebook

Recently referred to as America’s most exciting punk band in Rolling Stone, Providence, Rhode Island’s Downtown Boys operate in a crucial bilingual space. All of their tracks deal directly with social and political injustices. Singer Victoria Ruiz’s refrain of “She is brown! She is smart!” in the song “Monstro” might be the most important punk lyric of the last five years. Here’s hoping for a new album in 2017.

Listen: “Monstro”

Eduardo F. Rosario

Credit: Eduardo F. Rosario / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Eduardo F. Rosario / Facebook

This one is not for the faint of heart. Eduardo F. Rosario is an experimental musician based in San Juan — his noise textures are mechanical and cold, a sound not normally associated with warm Caribbean climates. There’s a certain physicality to his music that can make it feel disorienting but controlled. This is the closest you’ll get to hearing visual art.

Listen: “Obsolescencia Programada 4”

Maria Usbeck

Credit: Maria Usbeck / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Maria Usbeck / Facebook

Maria Usbeck released “Amparo” last year, an album sung almost entirely in Spanish and produced by indie celebrity Caroline Polachek of Chairlift. Of the Spanish-language acts on this list, this one has probably enjoyed the most indie press for its soft soundscapes and its release on beloved label Cascine Records. There’s a really attractive fragility to the release, one that makes use excited to see where Usbeck goes next.

Listen: “Moai y Yo”

Bomba Estéreo


Colombian band Bomba Estéreo are well on their way to major mainstream fame. It’s all about “Soy Yo,” the lead single from their album Amanecer out last year. You might recognize it from a certain Target commercial that runs in Anglo-phonic spaces… shouldn’t be long before they’re infiltrating American pop radio.

Listen: “Soy Yo”

MNTJY

Credit: MNTJY / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: MNTJY / Facebook

MNTJY is an up-and-coming Costa Rican producer who first landed on our radar when he dropped a mixtape last year via Bueno Aires art collective I NEED SPONSORS. Most recently, he’s dropped “me calientas” and tagged it “elegant reggaeton.” It feels like the perfect moniker for this sound — it’s a bit sultry for the club, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect song to get down to.

Listen: “her note”

Porter

Credit: Porter / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Porter / Facebook

Porter hail from Guadalajara, Mexico and have already had a long and industrious career; they’re on this list is because of their recent reunion. If you missed them the first time around, it’s time to revisit the band. It’s been three years since 2014’s “Moctezuma” and it’s about time for them to drop a new full-length, so now is the time to do a deep dive into their older discography.

Listen: “La China”

Las Robertas

Credit: Las Robertas / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Las Robertas / Facebook

Las Robertas are the lo-fi garage pop acts of every indie Latinx’s dreams — the band hails from San Jose, Costa Rica and in the last few years have become festival staples, hitting South by Southwest, NRML, Primavera Sound and others. Their last EP, “The Feel,” dropped in 2015, so new recordings can be expected soon. Thank goodness!

Listen: “Marlene”


READ: 11 Music Bands that Own the Streets of LA

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