If there’s one thing that Niña Dioz, a queer Mexican hip-hop artist with more than 10 years in music, wants to get across with her work it’s to inspire others to be themselves, no matter their race, color or religion.
“Coming out as the first openly gay rapper in Mexico, in such a machista society, is something that makes me proud,” Niña, a former Latin Artist on the Rise, tells Billboard.
Now, three years after her 2018 album, Reyna, Niña Dioz (real name: Carla Reyna) continues to empower fans through her raw lyrics and powerful sound as heard in her latest studio album Amor, Locura & Otros Vicios.
The rapper is authentic, innovative and a voice for human rights, flirting with Latin trap, sultry R&B and old-school reggaeton melodies. Embracing her identity in a male-dominated industry was challenging for Niña but when she finally did, it was liberating.
“I started to use my art even more as a tool for visibility of people and situations that used to be very taboo, especially in Mexican society,” she says.
In honor of Pride Month, the Mexican rapper explains how coming out has impacted her art and how she will be celebrating Pride this year.
How did the decision to come out impact your art?
It impacted my career because I started 13 years ago in a very machista music genre. I used to be cautious about not using “she” or “he” in my songs so that people could imagine whatever they wanted. I finally felt more like myself when I was able to use my art and my platform to express my sexuality more freely. It was newfound freedom for me and it made my connection with the fans even deeper. Then, I started to use my art even more as a tool for the visibility of people and situations that used to be very taboo, especially in Mexican society.
Did you ever have an LGBTQ+ idol growing up?
I used to love Madonna and George Michael because their videos were fearless and bold. I also loved the music of Pet Shop Boys.
Would you say the industry is more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community compared to when you first started your career?
For sure, it has changed a lot. I think the machista mentality is breaking down little by little. Now, there are many openly gay rappers and trans rappers that are crazy talented. We have the biggest artist right now, Bad Bunny, dressed up as a woman in a music video. I think especially for urban music it has changed tremendously over the last decade. Before it was OK to be homophobic in rap music but now, you just look dumb if you dare say anything against the community.
What would you say to new artists who are on the rise and are unsure about coming out?
Take your time to come out when you know you’re ready and when you do, I hope you can see as I did, the power that facing your fears can have an effect and inspire many others to do the same and live their best lives. Know that there’s a music community here to back you up.
Any up-and-coming LGBTQ+ artist you’re excited about?
Shygirl, Arka, Javiera Mena, Snow Tha Product and Chika.
This year, I’ll be celebrating Pride by:
Celebrating the love and the freedom with my community and partner, but also remembering that there’s still a lot of work to do and keep fighting until everyone can celebrate Pride in every corner of this world.