BMI’s Posada en Rosa Showcases Emerging Latina Voices and helps St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research

IMG_0130

Alih Jey and Mitre

Story and Photos by Oscar Bautista

IMG_0011

Chongo Head T-shirts

The Gibson showroom in Beverly Hills housed a great lineup of emerging Latina singer/songwriters this holiday month. Hosted by Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)’s Latin division, Posada en Rosa brought together amazingly gifted female artists, as well as community vendors to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Along with the music, attendees were treated to pastries from local SoCal small enterprises Mi Kaffe and Viva Los Cupcakes. Chongo Head T-shirts, a family business started by 14 year old Soraya Gonzalez, showed off amazing T-shirt concepts she designs with her father.

Proceeds from the night’s sales were donated to St. Jude, whose representative Odette Gutierrez took the time to educate us about the global organization’s history of improving children’s cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% today. She thanked us in gratitude, saying since they are primarily funded through donations and children’s cancer research is less funded than adult cancer research, every effort counts and is appreciated!

The main draw for the night was the showcase with five great performances by some of Latin America’s young emerging singer/songwriters. Artists for this night included Mexican singer/songwriters Anna Sophia, Vanessa Zamora, Alejandra Alberti, Cuban singer/songwriter Ilza Rosario, and Dominican singer/songwriter Alih Jey who was accompanied by fellow BMI artist Mitre. Continue Reading →

Museum of Latin American Art: Summer Kick Off of Afro-Cuban Concert Series!

SM_1updated(1)
by Linda Vanessa “Nuves” Tovar

(LONG BEACH) — Having a father who has played percussion instruments for a majority of his life and a lover of salsa dancing for a mother, I made sure I was at the Museum of Latin American Art for their Summer Music Series Kick Off Party! Founded in 1996 by philanthropist, Dr. Robert Gumbiner, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, California is the first and only museum in the United States that exclusively features modern and contemporary Latin American fine art. Only a 30 minute drive from Downtown Los Angeles, the MOLAA has featured exhibits including: Viva La Muxer by Las Fotos Project and “Frida Kahlo, Her Photos”. The MOLAA’s mission is to educate the American public about contemporary Latin American fine art through the establishment of a significant permanent collection and the presentation of dynamic exhibitions and related programs.

image1

Dedicated to preserving and sharing the Latino experience and culture, MOLAA curates special programs and events for all to enjoy. Currently on exhibit is, Miradas: Ancient Roots in Modern and Contemporary Mexican Art, Miradas is a temporary exhibition provided by Bank of America Art in our Communities program can be visited through September 27th.

image2

To kick off the Summer Series was, “Remembering the Palladium Days, Chapter 3: Mambo is Back and here to stay”, which featured six-time, Grammy Award-winning percussionist, Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez and Freddie Crespo’s Mambo Revue Orchestra. Many of these musicians have shared the stage with greats like Tito Puentes! The caliber and professional experience of these musicians is not to be missed or overlooked. I mean, watch this short clip if you don’t believe me! Continue Reading →

14 Rappers, 14 Countries for UNICEF: Where are the Women MCs?

FRAME
by Tom Nguyen

Dear San E and UNICEF,

I was excited to discover your music video #HIPHOPISHIPHOP – Hip Hop for the World bringing together 14 rappers from 14 countries to express the unifying love of hip hop. I love that this video was made in the tradition of the iconic song We Are The World, to bring light on an important global issue: children’s access to education. Except for the venerable KRS-One, I love that I didn’t know any of the rappers. Thanks for giving talented rappers around the world a chance to shine!

Now, I ask…where are the women? I was quickly disappointed to see that out of 14 rappers, there was only one woman, YACKO from Indonesia. Why does this bother me? While every rapper in that video is talented and deserving and I applaud each of them, I have so many reasons for why this gender imbalance in your video upsets me.

Hip hop has historically been a very unfriendly and unfair place for women and it still remains so. Misogyny, homophobia and transphobia are big problems in hip hop songs, lyrics and culture. I’m afraid your video only reinforces the exclusion of women in hip hop. If We Are The World had better inclusion of women in 1985, I’m sure we can do better in 2015.

Since you are using hip hop as a platform for children’s education and your own statistics show that girls suffer greater disadvantage and exclusion from education in so many parts of the world, wouldn’t you have wanted to represent more women as role models? If you had included more women cyphers, I think your message would have been much more powerful and inspiring in your quest for gender equality in education.

After all, you released this video during Women’s History Month and right before International Women’s Day. I think you squandered a very good opportunity to not only address the inequality of access to education, but to also give strength to the message that the ones most affected by that inequality are girls around the world. You could have shown young girls everywhere that they have the same right and ability to succeed in any male-dominated space.

However, I have faith in an organization that is doing so much to achieve gender equality. We’re far from achieving equal human rights and opportunities for one half of the world’s population and it’s critical to keep empowering girls and women worldwide. There are no lack of girls and women on the front lines of society fighting for equality and freedom every day in every part of the world, and hip hop is no exception. In many countries, just being female, queer or trans in male-dominated hip hop is defiant and revolutionary. Below are just 14 of so many countless talented female, queer and trans rappers (in alphabetical order) who are not only rapping but doing so by challenging the status quo and giving voice to marginalized communities around the world. I hope you’ll consider them in a second hip hop video.

Respectfully,
Tom Nguyen

Continue Reading →

Our Hot LA Picks for Valentine’s Week!

picstitch
Valentine’s Day is a week away: You haven’t made plans yet? Or you’ve got no one to spend it with? Or maybe you’re just not buying into the whole Hallmark Holiday hype? Well, there’s something for everyone leading up to Valentine’s in LA…at least for those of us looking for more than just a once-a-year-gesture. If you’re looking for something with more cultural substance, worldly stimulation, and plenty of gyrating & sweating on the dance floors in our romantic city, look no further. Here are our recommendations, LA lovers….so relax, don’t put this much pressure on yourself….(take a date or find one at Irene Diaz‘s show and more!)

Continue Reading →

Two great films about Cuba: One Environmental, One Musical

powerI saw 2 great films this past week. The first, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, is a documentary about how Cuba dealt with a sudden unavailability of oil when the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s. Because of this event, Cuba became to the first country to experience literally overnight what we will all eventually face globally: Peak Oil, the point when the burgeoning use of oil to fuel our civilization’s growth can no longer be sustained by dwindling supplies of oil and our societies will have to find radical new ways to adapt. Continue Reading →