Many artists communicate through music, conveying a message through lyrics and sound. Some artists use this tactic to speak on relevant social justice issues throughout the world today. Many famous Latin artists utilize this method when writing songs while also using their platform to speak up on social justice issues.
One particularly famous Latina artist that uses her platform and voice to speak on social justice issues is Shakira. She started the Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1997, supporting children in underserved communities. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
Continuing to use her platform, Shakira released an essay on children being separated at the border in 2020. She speaks about the 545 children separated from their families. Shakira stresses the importance of sharing the stories of these families, and to hopefully bringing them back together. You can read the whole essay here.
One empowering performance Shakira delivered was at the 2015 United Nations General Assembly. She dedicated her performance to Aylan and Galip Jurdi and all the children turned into refugees during the Syrian War. She sings John Legend’s “Imagine” and leaves some inspiring words along with it saying, “Now is the time to not imagine, but do.” Take a look at the full performance here:
Another artist that used their platform for good is Gloria Estefan. In 1997, Gloria Estefan launched “The Gloria Estefan Foundation,” which was focused on promoting health and cultural development, as well as education. A lot of the proceeds from her songs, as well as benefit concerts, have funded this organization. Gloria speaks on the matter saying, “My foundation tries to help people that fall through the cracks, that can’t get help from big organizations… We try to fill in where immediate help is needed.” You can learn more about this foundation here.
One song that really showcases Gloria’s message is “Reach,” which was one of the official songs of the 1996 Summer Olympics. The song focuses on getting through tough times and to keep pushing forward to come back even stronger. Messages like this from artists as popular and inspiring as she is needed in our community, regardless of year. Take a listen to the full performance here.
Another artist that is extremely popular currently that uses their platform and music to take on social justice issues is Bad Bunny. In 2019, Bad Bunny joined Puerto Rico islanders in their protests against Governor Ricardo Rosello, leading to his resignation.
During this, Bad Bunny, with artists Residente and iLe, released the song “Afilando los Cuchillos” which translates to “Sharpening the Knives.” The song included lines that translate to “The people cannot stand more injustices, they got tired of your lies and manipulation on the news” Take a listen to the song here.
He also wrote a song called, “EL Apagon”, also meaning “The Blackout.” This song was written to speak on the effects Hurricane Maria had on the island’s housing and electricity years later. Here’s the full song.
There are many more Latin artists that use their platform and music to talk about social justice issues in the world currently. During Social Justice Month, be sure to continue to support the artists, because both you and they have the opportunity to make a change.