ChocQuibTown Talk Afro-Identity and Their Latest Video "Que Me Baile"
“I think videos give you an opportunity to demonstrate many things aside from the music and lyrics,” Gloria "Goyo" Martínez tells People CHICA. “We wanted to present a little of what the African diaspora is, say that it’s our origins, and that Afro-Latinas can be queens.”
As one of the most well-known Afro-diasporic groups in the world, ChocQuibTown understands their social responsibility to produce music that gets political but still makes you want to dance. Originally from the Chocó department of Colombia, known for its Afro-Colombian and indigenous population, they naturally remained loyal to the sounds of Afro-folkloric beats, reggae and reggaeton. “We create a lot of urban music, but with tambore [drums], and that's how we feel it,” rapper Carlos “Tostao” Valencia tells People CHICA.
Though many Afro-Latino voices in recent years have spearheaded discussions around colorism and the lack of representation in Latin American media, the Afro-Colombian hip-hop group has a history of pro-black messaging that started years before the term “Afro-Latino” became popular. For example, who can forget the time they spoke on racism and lack of black representation in the industry on Jorge Ramos's show Al Punto eight years ago? There, the group explained the reality of black experience in the country and called out problematic “normalities” in Latin American culture, like referring to people by their color.
“That's why we make songs that generate consciousness [and tell] stories from back home,” explains Miguel “Slow” Martínez, ChocQuibTown's rapper/producer (and brother of fellow group member Gloria “Goyo” Martínez). “Even if we joke about it, there are problems that people need to be aware of.” Urbano music often speaks on struggle, and the group's fearless lyrics are an example of that. “In telling a story on an album, you have to leave a message,” says Slow. “You always have to create songs that build [and] don't destroy.” Songs like “De Donde Vengo Yo” and “Somos Los Prietos” express that message, discussing the invisibility they face as artists and the invisibility they experience in their home country.
Their visual aesthetic is similarly thought out, especially in their latest video for “Que Me Baile” with Becky G. It's a love letter to diasporic rhythms and dance, and in the video, both ladies assume the roles of rulers. “I think videos give you an opportunity to demonstrate many things aside from the music and lyrics,” says singer Goyo. “We wanted to present a little of what the African diaspora is, say that it's our origins and that Afro-Latinas can be queens.”
Since its premiere, the video has racked up more than 17 million views. Though the band has been professionally active since 2000, there are goals and triumphs they still hope to meet, best explained by Goyo. “One goal we have is touring the U.S.,” she says. “We want to share our music and come here frequently… [and] collaborate with [American] artists and make more music.”
Watch “Que Me Baile”