If you have ever examine Dominican dembow, chances are high you have learn Jennifer Mota’s work. Mota has turn out to be one of many quintessential historians of Dominican dembow music, penning the first history and timeline of the genre and archiving notable artists and moments in dembow. She’s managed artists, began a podcast, interviewed among the most distinguished Latinx artists on the planet, created her personal clothes model, and even tried to be a Disney Channel child. The bodega child from Philadelphia is out right here placing on for her metropolis and her individuals in additional methods than one.
Mota inherited her curiosity in music and writing from her father, a journalist who she says inspired her to jot down in a manner that modified minds and to concentrate on the corrupting drive of the media. “It was nearly like he low-key coerced me into being a journalist identical to him,” Mota says with a snigger. “That actually planted the seed after I was little.”
While finding out at Philadelphia Community College and Temple University, she started creating and altering her personal garments. Eventually, it opened doorways within the Philly music scene. “I began interning for music manufacturers and working carefully with the creatives that had been arising on the time,” Mota says.
When an Instagram good friend reached out on the day of her faculty commencement, she had no concept she can be supplied the job that may give her the assets to make historical past. “I acquired a DM from a follower of mine. . . . She was like, ‘Hey, are you performed with college?’ I used to be like, ‘Yeah.’ And she was like, ‘Do you will have a job?’ And I used to be like, ‘No.’ She was like, ‘My boss desires to interview you.’ It was for People Chica . . . that was my first big-girl job.”
“I had no concept it was by no means deliberately put collectively in a timeline . . . I needed to watch 40 to 50 interviews to place the timelines collectively.”
When Mota realized her colleagues had by no means heard of Dominican dembow, it was determined that a deep dive on the topic was so as. What was presupposed to be a fast article was a undertaking that spanned over 4 months. Mota even moved to DR to be nearer to the scene and to higher perceive the ecosystem. “I had no concept it was by no means deliberately put collectively in a timeline . . . I needed to watch 40 to 50 interviews to place the timelines collectively,” Mota says. “[I had to] see when songs had been dropped, what Dominican society was like, additionally what the politics regarded like on the time and the way it was affecting music. Also the intersections of gender, queerness, and sexuality and how all [those] issues performed a function within the evolution.”
At the identical time, she stepped in as a digital assistant, creating the house for “urbano” (now known as “El Movimiento”) and Afro-Latinidad content. “One of the primary individuals I interviewed was Ivy Queen. That was simply a second, I used to be like, ‘Hell yeah, I’m meant to be right here,'” Mota provides. Her article resulted in a column for Remezcla titled Si Tú Quiere Dembow, named after the track by Pablo Piddy. There, she would examine the nuances and alternate realities of dembow, bringing queer and nonbinary dembow artists like La Delfi into the discourse.
“My greatest query was: how is it that the DR has a lot cultural weight in music however we’ve no visibility outdoors of that weight?”
“My greatest query was: how is it that the DR has a lot cultural weight in music however we’ve no visibility outdoors of that weight?” she says. “I began questioning a lot of issues: why had been our artists brainwashed into considering that their Dominican Spanish wasn’t ok to create music internationally?” Along with fellow music historian Katelina Eccleston, Mota cohosts reggaeton podcast “Dímelo Cantando,” the place they interview artists about race, class, and gender inside Latinidad.
With bylines in Rolling Stone, Vibe, GQ Middle East, Pitchfork, and Teen Vogue, Mota has proved to be a drive in reporting on Latin music, in addition to El Movimiento particularly. But she would not need to cease there. With her enterprise associate, she created El Recap, a multimedia storytelling and inventive company the place she works with artists and pitches their music to get them press and playlisted. “Right now, my most important focus is basically pushing El Recap into doing extra storytelling content material,” Mota says. “One franchise that I began was ‘This Is How,’ and it breaks down the story behind a track. It could possibly be any track any yr . . . I’m wanting ahead to highlighting extra individuals shifting ahead. I hope to create extra space for Latine artists with the platform, and I hope to additionally maintain having conversations about Dominicanidad and id and the best way we affect tradition.”