Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with People CHICA's LatinXcellence series, spotlighting the incredible people who are changing the world through their work and activism. Today we focus on singer, songwriter, actress, and philanthropist Ivy Queen, an icon of empowerment.

Here at People CHICA we celebrate our Latinidad 365 days a year, but during Hispanic Heritage Month, we go extra hard. Established in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month (also known as Latino Heritage Month or Latinx Heritage Month) recognizes the generations of Latinos who have positively influenced and enhanced our society. All month long, we'll be celebrating with a series called #LatinXcellence, highlighting people who are making a difference in Latino culture today through their art, work, and activism. 

Ivy Queen has been making waves in the music industry since the '90s, when she joined the all-male Puerto Rican group the Noise. DJ Negro encouraged her to go solo, and in 1997, she released her first solo album, En Mi Imperio. Since then she has been a giant in reggaeton, a genre largely dominated by men. Her iconic song "Yo Quiero Bailar" is an anthem about respecting women and leaving them alone at clubs when they're just trying to dance and have fun. The singer has never let what others say or think influence her decisions, and instead draws strength from criticism. "I have always considered myself the ugly duckling of the corillo," Ivy Queen said last year. "That's not a bad thing, because you start out as a caterpillar and end up becoming a butterfly that spreads her wings."

Her latest single "Next" is just another example of the way she uses her lyrics to empower women in a male-dominated world. "When the shark gets to the beach, everyone knows you have to run because the boss arrived," the Puerto Rican reggaetonera told People CHICA about the symbolism of her new video. "In this case, it's the female boss, the mommy shark."

The song also defends women who are shamed for moving on to new relationships too quickly. "When men go from one relationship to another and say 'next' nobody judges them, but when a woman says 'next' she is judged and pointed at," the Queen said. "Women should feel free to say 'next' to a new relationship or to starting a new life on our own."

She not only uplifts her female listeners but also her nearly seven-year-old daughter, Naiovy, who inspires everything she does. "I live to impress just one person," she once wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post. "And there is only one person in the world that I would crawl for, and that person would never allow me to crawl. When impressing someone with actions and your own example is a massive gesture of love, that never goes unnoticed."