Calladitas No More

Trans Trailblazer Carmen Carrera Teams Up With Spotify To Inspire LGBTQ+ Youth And Raise Trans Visibility

Carmen Carrera has blazed the trail as a successful trans model, actress and advocate. The Peruvian-Puerto Rican-American has partnered with Spotify‘s “Soundtrack De Mi Vida” campaign to bring attention to the LGBTQ+ community and their fight for equality. Through this collaboration, Carrera wants to inspire the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities to hold conversations that demystify myths about trans people and break down the importance of respect and inclusion. Carrera spoke to mitú about her Spotify playlist and the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

Trans model and activist Carmen Carrera is using her Spotify playlist to uplift LTBGQ+ youth.

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“This is a great opportunity to share the songs that uplifted me as a child. They influenced me for the better to stay positive and to understand that a lot of these circumstances are temporary,” Carrera says.

“I’m happy I was chosen because who I am comes from intersectionality. I’m so many different things,” she adds. “I actually listen to this myself. I listen to this playlist when I’m riding my bike; when I’m in warrior mode, so to speak.”

And she is most inspired to give Latinx LGBTQ+ youth representation and hope.

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“To be included in doing Latino and LGBTQ activism means a lot to me because it makes my family proud,” Carrera says of her partnership with Spotify. “Aside from the other activism work I am doing, as Latinos, it means a lot for us to stick together. We have a lot of those same morals and traditions that many other Latin families have too. It’s my chance to be proud of who I am and to uplift others. That’s the most important part of any activism work: to spread the tools that have worked for you to lift people’s spirits.”

Her advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth doesn’t stop in the U.S.

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Carrera has spread her message all the way to South America. During a press tour in Mexico and Colombia, she created dialogue with reporters to learn their views and perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community in the region. She believes finding common ground is a great place to start important dialogue.

“What I’ve learned while traveling is that people are so dedicated to their traditions and their culture,” Carrera says. “Maybe we should immerse ourselves into our traditions and our culture where we come from in order to have something to relate to with people in the cisgender community or the heterosexual community. So we can have this conversation and try to open up the lines of communication and unity.”

Part of that important dialogue has to be LGBTQ+ Latinx building themselves up.

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Carrera acknowledges that there is fear in being visible and out as a LGBTQ+ person of color. She believes that being visible is important to taking away fears and changing the minds and perceptions of those who don’t understand the community. As for those who are more hesitant to accept LGBTQ+ people, Carrera says they are the ones who are the least educated about the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s because of the acceptance and love of people around her that Carrera was able to start the journey to becoming herself.

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Since before her transition, Carrera has looked up to Jennifer Lopez, even though “every Latino these days probably says that,” she jokes.

“Throughout the years, she’d watch me. I saw her at the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Awards and she congratulated me. Then I saw her again in Vegas at her concert and she asked me how things were going,” Carrera says. “It was just so good to know that someone else that comes from a similar background like me and who I have similar struggles with, other than being Latinx, [supports me]. It was just good to know that she was supportive and that she still watches so that really inspires me to be better.”

“I feel like it is important [to be visible right now] because I have nothing to hide,” Carrera says.

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Carrera made history in 2015 when she was the first trans person to get married on reality tv on the series finale of “Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn.” She believes her visibility also allows her to define herself on her own terms instead of people defining her for themselves.

By being visible, Carrera is showing that she refuses to go back into the shadows and will continue to live as she is.

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“This is the most important time to continue being visible and continue to be brave. There’s strength in numbers,” Carrera says. “We can all be united via social media and we have so much of a platform right now and it’s about time that we show up.”

Carrera wants young people in her community to know that their situation is not permanent. Things change.

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“I’m having conversations with my closest family members now that I wouldn’t have thought I’d have five years ago about my transition,” Carrera says. “People are more open-minded and people are aware of what’s happening and what needs to happen.”

“Humans, for the most part, don’t look to discriminate,” Carrera says.

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Carrera argues that people are not predisposed to discriminate against people. Instead, they are taught to think that way when they are younger and grow up with that mentality. That means that breaking down that kind of thinking and perception will also take time.

“Anyone that’s in school understands that when you’re learning something new, you don’t learn it overnight,” Carrera explains.

But, there has been some progress in starting a conversation around gender.

Katie Couric was on the receiving end of some education about how to discuss trans issues by Carrera in 2014. Couric asked a personal question that bothered Carrera and because of that Couric began to explore gender in the modern era.

“I feel like it’s really important to continue explaining, because it’s all the language. How are people going to understand who we are until the topic is discussed in different ways so people can understand it from all walks of life,” Carrera explains. “Some people don’t understand it when you are plain and simple and you’re like, ‘Hey, listen I was born in the wrong body.’ Some people don’t get that so you have to continue to break it down and I think that documentaries like [Gender Revolution] are so important.”

Despite the successes the LGBTQ+ community has seen over recent years, Carrera still thinks there’s more to do.

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My mother and grandmother came from South America and I was first-generation here,” Carrera explains. “There was a lot of that idea of pushing forward and doing whatever you can to make the life that you deserve to have in this country. We just have to keep going.”

You can check out Carmen Carrera’s playlist below.


READ: After Trump’s Anti-Trans Order, Carmen Carrera Has Some Words For Him

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

Stay grateful you did not grow up in the era of Snapchat/ Instagram/ Facebook kids because you can delete but your recorded actions can still come back to bite. Cardi B knows the story. While the Afro-Latina queen of Trap isn’ making any apologies, the latest video to be dug up from her past is requiring her to give some answers.

Video of the singer, recalling a time in her life in which she felt forced to drug and rob men while seducing them has resurfaced.

Over the weekend, video of the “Money” rapper recalling how she used to drug and rob men resurfaced.

The video, which was recorded during an Instagram live broadcast, sees Cardi as she goes on a tearful verbal tirade about her past. This after, someone apparently questioned her success and accused her of not “putting in no fucking work.”

“I had to go ‘oh yeah, you wanna fuck me? Yeah yeah yeah let’s go to this hotel.’ And then I’d drug [expletivie] up and I’d rob them. That’s what I used to do.”

Users online were quick to comment.

“The fact that cardi b admitted to drugging and robbing men she would take back to a hotel for sex blows my mind,” wrote Twitter user @itsangelaa. “That’s not ‘keeping it real.’ that’s a crime.”

“I wonder what woulda happened if it were the other way round,” @BTSisthecauseo5 commented.

At the onset of the backlash, the rapper seemed to take the comments rather lightly.

The following day she also tweeted “IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE, IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE and I love it.”

On Tuesday, however, after users on Instagram and Twitter continued to simmer, she was forced to issue comment.

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In a post to her Instagram, the rapper responded to the comments about the video by saying: “I’m a part of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are.”


Read:After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

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Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

The year 2017 marks a time of major multilingual and multicultural musical collaborations. With Luis Fonsi’s remix of “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, climbing to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks, and J Balvin and Willy William’s remix for “Mi Gente,” featuring Beyoncé, making it to the No. 3 spot, the western music market is opening up to music in Spanish. But these aren’t the only collaborations bridging different cultures and genres. In the era of globalization, K-pop, short for Korean pop music, is an international phenomenon, and the genre is beginning to meld its addictive melodies with urban Latin pop. Evidence: K-pop boy band Super Junior’s recent collaboration with Leslie Grace.

Debuting in 2005, the fellas of Super Junior are the kings of Hallyu — the Korean wave. At their height, 15 men donned the Super Junior title, but, due to departures, mandatory military service and other issues, only Siwon, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Shindong, Yesung, Heechul and Leeteuk are currently active. As a group, the men have led a revolution in the industry, spurring forward electro-pop and R&B-influenced dance tracks.

(Courtesy of Leslie Grace)

And among K-pop, they also have one of the strongest fan bases in Latin America. The group has long captivated these audiences with hits like “Sorry Sorry,” “Mr. Simple” and “Mamacita,” and Super Junior has made sure to visit their Latin American E.L.F — what they call their fans — on three separate tours since 2013, holding arena shows in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru. It must be noted that the group has yet to hold a single solo show in the U.S.

For many years, Super Junior and SM Entertainment, their label, had seen the excitement from their supporters in Latin America and wanted to show their gratitude by releasing a song partly sung in Spanish. In March, the group dropped “Lo Siento,” a tune about finding romance on the dance floor, featuring Dominican-American singer Leslie Grace and the Latino production duo Play-N-Skillz as part of the extended version of their eighth album, Replay.  

“The song with Super Junior and Play-N-Skillz came out of nowhere. None of us really knew each other,” Leslie Grace, who was recommended to the K-pop group by the Argentine-Venezuelan sibling duo Play-N-Skillz, told FIERCE. “The beauty of it was [having the opportunity of] discovering something that’s been happening hugely in its own right in a different side of the world, and discovering it for the first time and saying, ‘Man, I wanna be a part of that. I don’t know anything about it up until this point, but I really want to be a part of that.’”

While it’s commonplace for K-pop groups to release records in Japanese or Mandarin in order to cater to Asian music markets, or English one-offs for international fans, no act had ventured into singing in Spanish or acknowledged their Latin American fans with a song quite like Super Junior.

“Lo Siento” is a true K-pop and urban Latin-pop mashup. It plays up the typical Spanish guitar and blends a familiar Latin flair with the energy and the mix of pop, dance and hip-hop that K-pop is known for. The music video, shot in South Korea, even features the “Díganle” singer dancing along with the guys of Super Junior.

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The trilingual track debuted at No. 13 on Billboard’s Latin digital sales chart, the first K-pop entry ever. A bit over two weeks after the music video dropped, “Lo Siento” surpassed 20 million views, which was three times more than what their last Korean single, “Black Suit,” accumulated.

While “Lo Siento” isn’t the first time K-pop artists have teamed up with Latin ones nor used Latin genres in their music, it is the first instance that we can actually call a real collaboration. In 2016, for instance, Ricky Martin released a version of his hit “Vente Pa’ Ca” featuring Wendy from K-pop girl group Red Velvet, though she sang in English, and Mexican boy band CD9 released “Get Dumb” with Korean girl group Crayon Pop. In both cases, the artists simply exchanged vocals, put them together and released the song with little fanfare. With “Lo Siento,” however, not only did Leslie fly to Korea to be in the music video, but Super Junior invited her and Play-N-Skillz on their Latin American tour last month.

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Stopping in Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Mexico City, Leslie, Play-N-Skillz and Super Junior played before a total of 55,000 fans. The stars blew up the stage with “Lo Siento,” but both Play-N-Skillz and Leslie also had the chance to perform their own sets during the show.

“It never stops being a surprise, with my most recent released single ‘Duro y Suave,’ for [the crowd] to sing it back to me,” the 23-year-old singer, who came to fame after the release of her bachata remake of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in 2013, told us. “I know it’s Super Junior’s crowd. I know that their fans are so accepting and loving, and I knew that they would be attentive during the show, but you don’t expect everyone to connect, especially a crowd that’s so different, to your music when you’re the special guest.”

Leslie is currently finishing her new album, which she says will drop by the end of the year. She’s also very excited about potentially finishing another leg of the tour with Super Junior. “They’re trying to see if we can do some more shows in Latin America, in Central America, go to the countries we didn’t get to go to in South America, like Colombia [and] Brazil,” she said.

Just like with “Despacito” and “Mi Gente,” “Lo Siento” is bringing together different cultures, languages and even fandoms from various parts of the world that don’t get to interact as much through music in a compact, smooth earworm.

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“For us to come together just fully based off of mutual artistic respect, and for something like this to happen, and now everybody really enjoying it despite the cultural differences, that to me was the biggest takeaway and the biggest blessing to now be a part of Super Junior’s story and them a huge part of mine,” Leslie said.  

During an interview in Times Square, the dominicana gave the boys a quick dance lesson — and it was all caught on camera.

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“Bridging cultures one dance step at a time! First Super Junior with me and ‘Group Dance’ in their land South Korea, and now me with them and ‘Bachata’ in my home NYC,” Grace, 23, captioned a video of the dance sesh she posted on Instagram. “Proud to be your instructor, @eunhyukee44 hahaha! You are officially baptized the best bachatero out of Korea by the princess of bachata — BOOM!”

Catch the whole thing above!

Read: Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

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