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LAMC 2020: ChocQuibTown’s Goyo Opens Up About Representation in the Afro-Latino Music Scene

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, an unarmed black man who recently died at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Gloria “Goyo” Martinez has used her platform to demand justice and police accountability. She also took time to address the matter at the 2020 Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), where she sat down with Billboard’s Leila Cobo.

“The Afro community is very hurt by this situation,” she said during the “Talks with Billboard Latin” event on Wednesday (June 10). “That [George Floyd] video shows how racism has been reactivated in a visible way. There are many people protesting on social media, I have received calls from friends. This is everyone’s problem and the Afro community in Colombia feels very bad. It is a subject that people do not want to hear or see because it is too real but it’s time to talk about it.”

Goyo, who recently elaborated her feelings in a thought-provoking open letter for Billboard, forms part of the Latin Grammy-winning Colombian group ChocQuibTown, known for fusing hip-hop with salsa, Latin jazz, and Afro-Latin rhythms. As the vocalist and one of the rappers of the musical trio, Goyo is proudly representing Afro-Latinas at an international level.

“I began young in the music industry. You have to look for opportunities, believe in yourself, and have talent. It wasn’t easy making it big outside of the Chocó community,” she said. “I feel that I represent my people and I want to go as far as I can to inspire other artists. I want them to say: ‘if she could, I can!”

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With hits such as “De Donde Vengo Yo” and “Pa’ Olvidarte,” ChocQuibTown has brought to the forefront their Afrobeat and music of the Pacific, inspiring fresh rhythms that are very popular in Latin music today.

“We believe and love every genre,” she said. “Afrobeat is worldwide, and it is growing a lot. We have been doing it for a long time: we unite the music of the Pacific and Afrobeat. I think now is the time that we can help consolidate Afro-Latin music.

On June 12, the group will drop their sixth studio album dubbed ChocQuib House, a personal and colorful album that, in part, was born during the quarantine.

“It was born out of ChocQuibTown’s essence, at the hands of Flow in the studio making beats. It has a very made-at-home concept,” she said, noting that the album has collaborations with Zion, Dalex, Rauw Alejandro, and more. “For me, this is more time to be able to return to the basics, to the essence, and have time to grow a little more on the artistic side. It’s a nice change that allows us to dream.”

Before wrapping up, Goyo confessed that another album will drop in August, which includes two collaborations with Lauren Jauregui. “We’ve become great friends. We recorded the songs from scratch at a studio and we’re very excited.”

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