In recent weeks, countless artists have voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Lizzo, Halsey, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Ice T, and BTS have fundraised, expressed support and even protested in person for the cause of racial justice.
But some have noted the lack of a powerful Latinx voice within the movement. That changed, however, when Goyo, the Colombian-born lead vocalist for the band ChocQuibTown, announced plans to include over a hundred Latinx musicians in a social justice initiative.
Latinx allies of the BLM movement have been present on the frontlines of many of the protests demanding racial justice. The recent surge of demonstrations has also shed new light on police practices in Latinx communities across the United States. But a few well-known Latinx musicians have garbled the messaging.
Reggaetón singer Koral G, for instance, posted a picture of her spotted bulldog. A cringey caption read, “Black and White TOGETHER look beautiful!” Many have criticized the childlike tone of the post, particularly considering Koral’s broad audience.
Fashion icon Bad Bunny has also been accused of making tone-deaf statements of support. He posted a poem on social media that included the line, “Living in a world like this, none of us can breathe.” While the line was intended to show empathy, some think it veers a little close to the “all lives matter” argument, which diminishes the specific struggles of black people.
These less-than-inspiring remarks have created a demand within Latinx communities for a more robust response by visible Latinx celebrities. Enter Goyo.
Organizing for Change
Gloria “Goyo” Martínez is now working to bring Latinx artists together to create a cohesive message. The afro-Columbian hip-hop singer has organized the “Conciencia Collective,” a coalition that stands in support of BLM. The group already includes over 100 musical artists and 35 professionals of the Spanish-language music industry.
Goyo took to Twitter to demand that the industry take time for “ethno-education.” To this end, the Collective has announced that it would participate in streamed conversations regarding race and injustice. These discussions will be accessible on Mitú, a website devoted to Latinx media.
The roster for the talks should be able to drum up enthusiasm. Kali Uchis, Anuel AA, and Farruko all made the list. The Collective has also pledged to put in the time, with weekly Mitú meetings scheduled until October 15th.
You can also support the Collective on Spotify. Conciencia teamed up with Spotify to create a playlist of work from the artists in the coalition.
Goyo wrote the mission statement for the coalition, in a lengthy, personal address. In it, she points out that no musician in the reggaeton genre could say they haven’t benefited from or collaborated with a Black artist. In a section directed specifically at her fans, she writes, “If you love my music and if you believe me, I invite you to join me in my struggle. Join me in making people understand that racism is prevalent and has very deep impacts. It is something basic to understand.”
As a Colombian of African descent, Goyo represents the obvious alliance between black and Latinx interests, both in Latin-America and across the world.