Are Women in Latin Music Being Silenced?


Although there was scarcely any presence of Latina artists in the recent Billboard Awards, that does not mean that they are being silenced in Latin music; we just need better producers for these music award shows.

Women Silenced in Latin Music

An article in Puerto Rico’s newspaper El Nuevo Día titled “Silenciada la Mujer en la Música Latina” (Women Silenced in Latin Music) written by Eliezer Rios Camacho makes the point that women are silenced in Latin music, and shows as main evidence the scarce presence of women performers at the recent 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

I share Eliezer’s concern for the lack of more female performers in the Billboard Latin Music Awards. Jennifer Lopez was the only female performer at the awards.

However, I think the conclusion that the Billboard Awards showcase an industry problem is a bit of a stretch. I believe some of these shows simply are not very balanced because they are driven by one thing only, “what’s selling the most right now”. This short-minded thinking by Latin music show producers is the real problem.

Good Crop of Women in Latin Music

To provide you another view of the issue, let’s take the Latin Grammy Awards TV show. On the last one, transmitted in November 2016, there were 32 performers, of which about half a dozen were women. That’s a little better, but still an embarrassingly low percentage of Latina performers.

Natalia Lafourcade Mexican Latin pop siger
Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade is one of the newer crop of singers that has established themselves in Latin music.

But I think there is still a good number of Latina artists out there, although I agree with Eliezer that they need better participation on the music award shows.

Besides established veterans like Ednita Nazario, Gloria Estefan, Olga Tañon, Thalia, Susana Baca, Yuri, Lucero, and many others, and not counting young experienced singers like Julieta Venegas, Natalia Jimenez, and La India, just to mention a few, there is a young crop of Latina’s making their way to the preference of Latin music fans.

Latinas like Becky G., Natalia Lafourcade, Joy Huerta (of Jesse & Joy), Raquel Sofia, Kany Garcia, Ana Tijoux, and Liliana Saumet (Bomba Estereo) are just a few of the new crop of Latina singers. I think that if some of these have been able to get through, many more can. Whether it is as easy for Latin women to get through and make it in the music business as it is for men is a topic of another blog.

Latin Music Award TV Shows Need to Improve

Not only are the current Latin music award TV shows un-proportionally skewed towards Latin men performers, but they are also skewed towards the Latin pop genre.

What we need are producers that line up performers representative of a broader segment of our Latin music. It would be naïve to think we can get all music genres represented in a TV show, but they should at least make an attempt to balance a bit the music performers at these shows.

Link to the Article in El Nuevo Dia

Here’s the link to the article “Silenciada la Mujer en la Música Latina“.

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