During the 2022 installment of Billboard Latin Music Week’s Women on the Rise panel — which, as moderator Elena Rose said, was full of “bosses and bad b—-es” — four artists on the rise discussed a variety of topics. While speaking on everything from how their careers have changed in the last six months to what freedom means in this industry, one question in particular warranted the most impactful replies: “How are you contributing to their culture?”
It was especially meaningful for the panel, held on day two (Tuesday, Sept. 27), to be hosted by superstar songwriter and artist Elena Rose, who just last year sat on the panel herself. This year, she welcomed reggaetonera and Miami native Mariah Angelique, Argentine multi-hyphenate Emilia Mernes, Domincan singer-rapper Tokischa, Chilean singer-songwriter and actress Denise Rosenthal and regional Mexican trailblazer Lili Zetina.
Regardless of personal paths, Rose summarized the panel best when she said: “We’re not going to talk about women, we’re going to talk about warriors.”
Below are the most empowering quotes from each artist on the rise.
Tokischa on freedom: “For me, when I feel free is when I’m myself. For me, freedom is to feel comfortable with what surrounds me, with what I do, to feel unique. To feel special and loved by myself because one of the steps toward freedom is self love, and if I love myself and understand and know myself, and know what I need, I know where I’m going to walk and how I’m going to do it.”
Denise Rosenthal on representing for women in Chile: “There are a lot of women creating incredible music and I think the message I would communicate to them is keep looking, keep trying to find yourself. When we are finding our identity and the tools we need to communicate honestly, it’s very profound. Sometimes it’s very painful, because sometimes we have to deconstruct ourselves to be able to build ourselves back up again… For me, the most important thing is to create and establish goals and work toward them and don’t stop until I do. But we have to enjoy the path. Sometimes we’re so focused on where we want to get and what we want to reach, but for me I love the process of getting here.”
Emilia Mernes on balancing a personal life with stardom: “The hardest things as artist we have to handle is separating our private life from the artist who transforms and goes on stage. I have received lots of negative feedback on social media just because I’m a woman… Sometimes I believed all that people said and that affected my self esteem, I doubted every time I started walking on those stage and that destroyed a big part of my personality, so I had to work hard to get back from that.” As Angelique nodded in solidarity, Rose offered this advice: “Most of the time I just have in mind that I am a person who is working and representing my culture… We’re all in this together representing and working.”
Mariah Angelique on having a message offstage: “Everything has changed very fast in the last year. I live in the airport… but this is what I’ve always wanted to do. Truly, the message we all want to communicate is that we are powerful, we are capable and we can say and do whatever we want and we can have success.”
Lili Zetina on contributing to her culture: “In my case, I want people to understand that I come from a ranch, I didn’t know how to read until I was 13 years old… not even my family believed in my dream. I had to leave the ranch, cross a desert and come here — even having children. Sometimes we think having children that we can’t go after our dreams, but after having three children I started singing and I grabbed that American dream. I lost a child, he is my angel… I am a single mother but now, we have a better life.”