A newly released corrido honors Sylvia Rivera
The Latinx LGBTQ+ icon’s song is a message to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community throughout the whole calendar year.
Music artists Renee Goust and La Bruja de Texcoco premiered their song "El corrido de Sylvia Rivera” on July 16, honoring transgender rights icon Sylvia Rivera.
Sylvia Rivera a New York native, was a transgender actvist and fought for the rights of transgender people, especially transgender people of color. According to Goust, who wrote the lyrics, the song tells the story of Rivera’s historical significance with music that traditionally doesn’t show critical LGBTQ+ issues.
“I really wanted to tell stories that are relevant to me, as as a queer person who lives in the United States, but also who is of Mexican heritage and who grew up in Mexico.” Goust told Latino Rebels.
Rivera, who is African American and identified as a drag queen, continued to fight for LGBTQ+ rights since the early 70s, as she participated in many demonstrations, such as the Gay Liberation Front, until she died in 2002 at the age of 50.
“Before gay rights, before the Stonewall, I was involved in the Black Liberation movement, the peace movement… I felt I had the time and I knew that I had to do something. My revolutionary blood was going back then. I was involved with that,” Rivera said in a 1989 interview.
As reported by Latino Rebels, Goust said she wrote the song about Rivera because growing up she would listen to corridos, but it was a genre of music she didn’t enjoy because of the music’s content, saying that it wasn’t something she could relate to.
“My uncles, when they would start drinking, basically, they would listen to a lot of corridos, and a lot of norteño music you know, and I was inevitably influenced by that just by virtue of being surrounded by it all the time,” Goust said. “And actually, it’s a genre of music that I didn’t enjoy. But more recently in life, I learned that it wasn’t because of the music, it was because of the content, the what they were promoting, it was so violent. And so I decided that I was going to sort of claim the genre, for myself and for people like me.”
The newly-released song not only honors Rivera’s significance, but also pays tribute to both Goust and La Bruja de Texcoco’s Mexican heritage.
The location for the music video highlights costumes and scenery that celebrate Mexico. The video was shot in Xochimilco, a borough in Mexico City and shows a party aboard traditional Trajineras, colorful gondola-like boats.
The corrido is a celebration of not only Rivera’s life, but the LGBTQ community.
With that being said, both artists also wanted to send a message about the need to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month, and also year round.
“I wanted to keep sort of pushing forward the narrative, this is we’re still here. It’s July. And we’ll be here in August. And we’ll have other things to talk about. And not to be self-centered or greedy. I think everyone deserves to be noticed and acknowledged all year, like Black people are not only existing in February and women are not only existing in March. It’s important to normalize us year-round,” Goust said.