Queer Dominican Singer-Songwriter Rita Indiana Celebrates Pride With A One-of-a-Kind New Release

Rita Indiana BELatina Latinx
Photo Credit MAYIMBA MUSIC

For those who thought that Reggaetón was a genre reduced to cis-straight misogyny, Rita Indiana has news for you.

The Dominican writer and singer-songwriter Rita Indiana has released Miedo, her third single which precedes the release of Mandinga Times, her new album after 10 years of absence, and which will be released on September 8.

Mandinga Times is an album about the end times,” Rita says. “I like to call it a songbook for the end of the world.”

At a time when politics and art seem to have deeply porous boundaries, Indiana’s new release hits the nail on the head.

“For the LGBT community, fear is something to be conquered every day, fear of violence, rejection and injustice,” she tells Billboard. “This song is for my community, for whom love has always been a heroic trait.”

Produced by Eduardo Cabra (Calle 13), the album promises to be a masterpiece of Latin urban music. After her first release “El Zahir,” inspired by a piece by acclaimed Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, Indiana mixes electronic beats with post-punk connotations.

“This album surpasses anything I ever did with Calle 13,” Cabra said in a statement, mentioning that Rita had strongly influenced their song Vamos a Portarnos Mal. “I’d learned a lot about Dominican music working with Vicente García, and both Rita and I are into making eclectic music. I’ve grown a lot in my career, and RitaI like to say this is really her fourth album because she grew as an artist through her writing since her last album.

Since the release of her groundbreaking album El Juidero in 2010, Rita Indiana has focused primarily on her literary career with prestigious novels such as PAPI and Tentacle. Both her musical and literary works explore and deconstruct ideas about contemporary Caribbean identity, gender, class and race, through a masterful fusion of pop music and rhythms from across the African diaspora.

In 2011, she was selected by Spanish newspaper El País as one of the 100 most influential Latino personalities and, while her literary work has focused on homosexuality, her songs have covered a wider range, from social issues to divergent sexuality.

Miedo is the intersection of both discourses, and it comes out as the anthem of a community that has returned to its origins of social protest, in search of equal rights that still seems unattainable.