Things That Matter

Mariachi Bands Are Using The Power Of Their Voices To Protest

If you think mariachi bands are only good for playing at quinceañeras, you have not been paying attention. Mariachi’s are actually the secret voice of the people. Several instances of protest have been performed by mariachi’s recently and they’ve been amazing. Not just because they’re taking a stand, but because they’re dressed all the way up and playing music as a form of protest. It’s a beautiful sight. They’re basically superheroes without capes.


1. This group of mariachi performed their protest at Republican Senator Cory Gardner’s talk at a Chamber of Commerce event in Colorado Springs.

The mariachis played “¿Dónde Estás Corazón?” just as Gardner was beginning to speak and answer questions. The band was there representing the group “Americans for Conservation of the Arts” as well as the Latino community at large. A representative of that group had been trying to get a hold of the Senator who has refused to meet with constituents in a public forum according to CNN. They paid the $250 joining fee for the Chamber of Commerce just to interrupt it.


2. This mariachi band performed a remixed rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, outside the US embassy in Mexico City.

A representative of the band told reporters that they performed the song as “a gesture for building bridges” instead of building a wall.

3. There were also protests this week in Los Angeles in Mariachi Plaza against the displacement of the mariachi who live in the area.

The protests were held in Boyle Heights’ Mariachi Plaza, which is 1) not a joke, they actually live nearby and 2) that’s probably the best place in the world for mariachi to protest (okay, maybe that last part was a joke). All jokes aside, though, many people came out recently to protest massive rent hikes. Rent has gone up for some residents of the area by 80%, which is an astronomical amount for the mariachi living in the area with families and lives to sustain from their art.


4. Mariachi music is all about love, but when they need to, they can use that love to fight injustices. Like when they protested at Trump Tower.

Credit: TMZ / Youtube

Although they were escorted away by police, these mariachi made a stand and played beautifully all while being pushed out.

5. They’re even protesting internationally, like when these mariachi trolled Trump on a visit to Scotland.

Credit: COMMON FOLK / Youtube

They’re doing the work of the people!


So next time you hear mariachi, listen up and show some respect.

Credit: wecanfxit / Youtube

Or else.


READ: Valentina Took To The RuPaul Stage Dressed As A Mariachi And It Slayed


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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Women In Mexico Marched For International Women’s Day And Things Got Violent

Things That Matter

Women In Mexico Marched For International Women’s Day And Things Got Violent

March 8 is International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate women but in Mexico it is a protest against the rampant femicide gripping the country. Women marched against the femicide this year and things turned violent when police clashed with protesters.

March 8 has a different meaning in Mexico.

Women in Mexico took to the streets to protest the rampant femicides that are devastating the country. According to the New York Times, femicides in Mexico have been increasing in recent years. There was a 10 percent increase from 2018 to 2019 with a total of 1,006 incidents of reported femicide.

In 2017, there were seven femicides a day and by 2019 the number had jumped to 10.

“Women are demanding a shift of paradigm and nothing less,” Estefanía Vela, executive director of Intersecta, told the New York Times. “These are not only hashtags. These are students protesting at the universities, and mothers demanding justice for their daughters.”

People on social media are amplifying the cause by sharing what is happening.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made it a part of his presidency to downplay the extent of the crisis. At times, AMLO has gone on record dismissing claims of widespread femicide in Mexico.

“I’m going to give you another fact, which doesn’t mean that violence against women doesn’t exist, because I don’t want you all to misinterpret me,” AMLO said during a daily morning presser in May. “Ninety percent of those calls that serve as your base are false, it’s proven.”

Women are not allowing for the narrative of false reports to persist and are standing up to highlight the crisis. People are criticizing AMLO and his administration for seemingly turning a blind eye to the deadly crisis.

This year’s protest had more anger after the death of Ingrid Escamilla.

Escamilla was murdered in February 2020 by her domestic partner. Her body was mutilated by the attacker in a violent way. The press ran the photos of her body on the front page and sparked anger around the world. After being murdered, her body was displayed for the public to see and people are tired of women being treated so poorly.

“He was supposed to represent a change and it turns out that he is not,” Xóchitl Rodríguez, a member of Feminasty, told the New York Times. “The fact that you wake up in the morning and your president cannot reassure you on what specific actions he is taking to deal with the issue, is outrageous.”

READ: Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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