Becky G Wants to Be a ‘Bridge-Maker’ and a ‘Peacemaker’ — and She’s Changing the Industry On Her Way Up
The 2023 Billboard Women in Music Impact honoree uses her platform to elevate the artists and community around her.
The September day that Becky G learned she had scored her first No. 1 as a solo artist on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart, with “Bailé Con Mi Ex,” she woke up her fiancé, the soccer star Sebastian Lletget, with tears in her eyes. “He was like, ‘Is everything OK? Why are you crying?’ ” she remembers. “A lot of people like to say I’m only successful because of my collaborations. To be able to prove myself as an artist and carry my own weight was important for me. To show the world that whichever way, collaborations or alone, I’m good.”
That solo feat is just one of many points of pride for the 25-year-old Mexican American artist and businesswoman, born Rebbeca Marie Gomez, these days. In 2022, she earned her first No. 1 on the Latin Pop Albums chart with the 14-track Esquemas, and another album — her first regional Mexican set — is due to arrive later this year. Come April, she’ll have “a huge opportunity to reintroduce myself to the world” when she plays Coachella under her own name for the first time.
All the while, Becky G has used her platform to help elevate the women around her. “This industry has really tried to condition women to see each other as competition. We’ve had to survive these very male-dominated spaces because of that ‘there’s only one seat at the table’ mentality. So we’re looking at each other like, ‘Who’s going to get it?’ [But] at my table, everyone is welcome,” she says firmly. “When I open the door, I’m going to leave it open and make sure everyone gets in.”
That impulse, she says, comes from her experience growing up in a tight-knit community in Inglewood, Calif., where her grandmother would cook for her grandchildren and, “If Doña Lolita from down the street came over, she would have enough [food] for her kids too,” says Becky G. “My entire being has been inspired by the houses I grew up in, the people that raised me. It really does take a village when it comes to our culture. Where one person eats, everyone can eat. I’ve really lived by ‘sharing is caring.’ ”
And this year’s Impact honoree applies that kind of thinking not only within the music industry but beyond it, including as a co-chair of Michelle Obama’s voter registration nonprofit, When We All Vote. “I want to be a bridge-maker. I want to be a peacemaker,” Becky G says. “I want to be a real model, not a role model, because I know perfection is not real.”
How have you used your position to create change around you?
It’s not about what you identify as but who you are and how you treat other people and the change you want to make after you become the change. Someone told me the other day, “This contract looks like industry standard,” and I really challenged them. I said, “To be honest, that’s offensive because industry standard wasn’t made with people like me in mind.” It wasn’t made for young, brown women who are Latinas; who identify as a boss; who have ideas; who speak two languages. It’s about time that the industry starts to reflect that. And not just in how we’re represented but how we’re treated, how we’re paid, how we’re invited into those spaces. Changing those things is hard and I can’t do that alone, so I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with so many women.
Which artist made you believe you could have an impact outside of music?
Selena. She was more than just a pretty face. She was a kind person, a good person, and that heart she had for people translated not just into her artistry but how she loved her fans. Being Tex-Mex, speaking Spanglish, someone who took over genres that were very male-dominated, she inspired other people.
How have you chosen which issues matter to you most?
It’s hard to think about being one person and saving the world, but when you think about being one person and making just a small impact in your community, it feels a lot more achievable. There are a lot of trailblazers coming into these spaces, and it’s important to create alliances.
What does receiving the Impact award mean to you?
There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that you’re helping others and not expecting anything in return other than seeing people live in their truths, being inspired to be the change, live better lives because of whatever awareness I can bring. That, ultimately, is my version of success.
This story originally appeared in the Feb. 25, 2023, issue of Billboard.