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Georgel. Photo: EFE.
Georgel. Photo: EFE.

Mexico's Georgel puts R&B in the fight against oppression

Younger artists are turning a genre like rhythm & blues into the new form of protest music in the midst of the battle for black and brown rights

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Since the Black Lives Matter movement began its protests against racism and police violence in the United States, many artists of the younger generation have joined in this popular cry for a more just society that redresses the wrongs done to black and brown communities in the past - and whose traces in the present are obvious.

One of these brave artists is the Mexico's Georgel, whose commitment to music in Spanish must be added to his LGBTQ+ and anti-racist demands. 

Now Georgel, who shook the country with a version of Juan Gabriel's song "El Noa Noa," is preparing a new and vindictive EP that has made him explore the power of rhythm & blues in Spanish.

"In the United States they have put a lens on a racial problem that exists all over the world. The difference in the U.S. is that people of African descent fear for their lives when they go out on the street, when they get on the train, when they get on the bike... You think you're living the American dream but for people of African descent it's a continuous torture," he told EFE.

For Georgel "this lens (the BLM protests) gives people from different oppressed communities" the opportunity to join the movement, especially in the midst of LGBTQ Pride, the community to which the singer belongs.

R&B in Spanish is in a golden age, especially among the younger artists, who see in the great musicians of the 90s and the 2000s, like Stevie Wonder, whom Georgel listened to as a child and is his best references. 

"Since I started my project, the world started to diversify genres. You can feel a strong current of R&B in Spanish...There has been a strong parental and public response in Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru... with these megacities it is spreading to the rest of Latin America. This current of R&B in Spanish has fallen on us wonderfully," the singer told EFE.

His single with Colombia's Nanpa Básico is called "Adrenalina," something we have plenty of in this turbulent time. However, Georgel encourages us to redirect it in a good and powerful direction. 

"There was always an energy related to that relationship between wanting to get out of the picture and the stereotype and we also imagined the world in the future, that already the world politically has many restrictions, now with this it looked more restricted. We were playing with the concept of looking for adrenaline," the artist concluded.

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