Meet Rosa Isabel Rayos, The Afro-Latina Transgender Rapper Who Fights For Inclusion

Rosa Isabel Rayos BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of cutepotatoes.com

Rosa Isabel Rayos was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she first became known on the city’s warehouse rave circuit six years ago, where she discovered her skills on stage.

According to the New York Times profile on Rayos, the performer had a dance background and mixed her passion with rap, giving birth to her then-male professional name, Jay Boogie.

The combination was a total success that led her to tour several cities, countries and get to be on the cover of several publications.

Of Dominican descent, the MC always recognized the importance of the “hybrid lifestyle” she was raised in, as she told Dazed Magazine back in 2015.

What she describes as a “heteronormative gangbanging environment,” Rayos transformed into a space of its own, “looking the way I wanna look, talking the way I wanna talk, demanding the respect I deserve.”

Fast forward five years, Ms. Boogie has completed her transition to the person she has always been.

“Life is a transition, and I believe that we are all transitioning; we are all transitioning at the same time, at a different pace, toward the same direction called destiny. The fulfillment of my destiny has led me to the point where I have reclaimed ownership of my womanhood and what I find in alignment with my temple,” she wrote in an op-ed for Paper Magazine in 2018.

What followed in the scenario, according to the New York Times, was “a transformation to an effervescent performer that Ms. Lightning conjured up by mixing a bit of her mother’s tenacity, a punch of Grace Jones’s confidence and several spoonfuls of Foxy Brown’s Brooklyn pretty-girl aura.”

Now, Rayos is one of the greatest exponents of the musical genre, with a new single, “Fem Queen,” an album in the making and her first appearance in this new stage on the cover of Vogue Mexico.

“It’s imperative for me to center my work around spreading that ‘femme queen joy,'” Rayos told the Times. “It seems like the right thing to do, to create on an emotional level, to make the things I needed and continue to need to hear. I am gifting myself, too.”