Renata Flores Rivera, who lives in Huamanga, Ayacucho, Perú, is using her voice to give the Quechua language a new life. Quechua is an indigenous language that is spoken by about 8 million people in Perú, Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador. Studies say that a language dies every two weeks. A significant factor in the loss of language is that it is pushed out by more dominant languages. In Latin America, that means indigenous languages are disappearing as more and more people speak Spanish. Rivera has taken to YouTube to showcase her musical talent and native language by giving Alicia Keys and Michael Jackson songs an indigenous makeover.
She is also using her music videos to expose viewers to Peruvian culture.
“I sing in Quechua as a voice of warning, because the language is being lost,” Rivera told AFP. “Children and young people are ashamed to speak it. They think only poor people in the Andes mountains speak it.”
Just when you thought the hype around Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” might be trickling down, a recent video of a deaf woman translating the lyrics has gone viral.
After dropping her big track collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, Dominican/Trinidadian rapper Cardi B has had just about everybody repeating the beloved lines of the song over and over again. But the most important rendition of the big hit is one done by a woman who does ASL and performs to “WAP” like a boss.
The now-viral clip is beyond entertaining and inspiring to watch. Mostly because the woman in the video not only has the MOVES she also has the lyrics on lock.
A 25-year old TikTok and Twitter user by the name of Raven Sutton went viral for her recent “WAP” ASL cover.
Known on the social platforms as @Freelove19xx, she went viral over the weekend after she recorded herself passionately repeating the lyrics to “WAP” in ASL while channeling the slick and sexy vibe of the Cardi B x Megan Thee Stallion hit. In the video, the TikTok user can be seen interpreting each line of the WAP lyrics while expertly swaying her hips and bopping to the music.
In the comments, users questioned how @Freelove19xx was able to keep up with the rhythm of the music without hearing, she revealed that she has a “speaker that vibrates my whole house lmao. I can feel the music.”
Speaking to Fierce by mitú Sutton explained “What I loved most about the WAP song is that Cardi B and Megan are both successful women that aren’t afraid to speak their truth. They do not let other people’s expectations define them.”
Sutton who was born deaf after the deaf gene was passed down to her by her father told us that ASL is her native language and that she hopes her video shows nondeaf people that deaf people can do just as much as they can. “It’s a common assumption that Deaf people can’t do certain things because we can’t hear. Things like talking, dancing, listening to music etc,” she explained. “Truth is, us Deaf people enjoy the same things as everyone else. We ask to be included and accommodated so that the things we enjoy do not become a burden. Examples of accommodations are providing ASL interpreters, caption your videos, and learn ASL. Accessibility is important. Let’s all put in the work together.”
Sutton says that since post her video she’s noticed that “people are recognizing that there are a lot of Deaf Talent and creators out there. People are wanting to learn ASL. This is a great thing and I hope the recognition and fire energy continues.”
Users inspired by the tweet were quick to celebrate @Freelove19xx for her post.
“A lot of times the variations of a sign are used for a song’s chorus so that it doesn’t seem too repetitive or redundant. It’s a wholeass art, as a hearing person that knows ASL, it’s amazing to see EVERY DAMN TIME lol,” one user commented.
“I absolutely love this. I’ve taken deaf studies & ASL classes & trying to learn 1 sign a week since then. hopefully, I can be signing like u someday!” another user pointed out. “Its hard w no one to practice w but i hope to gain more friends in the deaf community to help me w that. Anyway, you did amazing!”
“Ahhhhh I have no words!!” an adoring commenter replied. “This is grounds for a marriage proposal.”
Thanks to the clip, fans are already demanding the obvious:
“Has anyone started a petition asking Cardi to have Bluejay in her next video yet?” one user asked.
As of this publication, @Freelove19xx has yet to respond to mitú’s request for comment.
Apart from combating the Coronavirus, Peru has suffered a heartbreaking increase in the number of missing women and girls. Just as hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence, the Coronavirus hit and those same marches have had to be put on hold.
Now, as millions of women are forced to stay at home under strict lockdown orders, they’re spending more time with potentially abusive partners or family members. Many experts believe this combination of circumstances is leading to an increase in domestic violence as hundreds of women in Peru have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic.
Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing since the start of the lockdown.
In Peru, hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and many are feared dead since lockdown orders were put into place to help contain the spread of Covid-19. According to authorities (including Peru’s women’s ministry), at least 1,2000 women and girls have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic – a much higher figure than during non-Coronavirus months.
“The figures are really quite alarming,” Isabel Ortiz, a top women’s rights official, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday. “We know the numbers of women and girls who have disappeared, but we don’t have detailed information about how many have been found,” she said. “We don’t have proper and up-to-date records.”
Ortiz is pushing the government to start keeping records so that authorities can track those who go missing – whether they are found alive or dead and whether they are victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence or femicide.
The women’s ministry said the government was working to eradicate violence against women and had increased funding this year for gender-based violence prevention programs.
Like many Latin American countries, Peru has long suffered from reports of domestic violence.
The Andean nation home to 33 million people has long had a domestic violence problem, but the home confinement measures because of the pandemic has made the situation worse, said Eliana Revollar, who leads the women’s rights office of the National Ombudsman’s office, an independent body that monitors Peru’s human rights.
Before COVID-19, five women were reported missing in Peru every single day, but since the lockdown, that number has surged to eight a day. Countries worldwide have reported increases in domestic violence under coronavirus lockdowns, prompting the United Nations to call for urgent government action.
According to the UN, Latin America has the world’s highest rates of femicide, defined as the gender-motivated killing of women. Almost 20 million women and girls a year are estimated to endure sexual and physical violence in the region.
Latin America and the Caribbean are known for high rates of femicide and violence against women, driven by a macho culture and social norms that dictate women’s roles, Ortiz said. She added, “Violence against women exists because of the many patriarchal patterns that exist in our society.”
“There are many stereotypes about the role of women that set how their behaviour should be, and when these are not adhered to, violence is used against women,” she said.
Before the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of women throughout Latin America, including Peru, were staging mass street demonstrations demanding that their governments should act against gender-based violence.
Meanwhile, the country is also struggling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite implementing one of the world’s longest running stay-at-home orders, Peru has become one of the hardest hit countries. As of August 11, Peru has confirmed more than 483,000 cases of Coronavirus and 21,276 people have died.
Hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising number of patients and healthcare workers have protested against a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).