Friday, May 27, 2011

Lah Tere

Lah Tere (born Teresita Ayala) is a humanitarian, activist female emcee, songstress and a visionary speaker for the 21st century. The AfroAntillian / Puerto Rican / Boricua sister grew up in Chicago’s historic P.R. diasporic community of Humboldt Park near the famed Paseo Boricua. She is a first-generation born in the mainland, and the daughter of revolutionary educators and survivors of Chicago’s notorious ghettos.

Lah Tere integrates bilingual lyrics over hard-hitting beats with crunk, Caribbean, and world music influences. She uses hip hop as her weapon to speak against injustices in Black and Latino communities.

Lah is a founding member of Rebel Diaz, an international rap group that takes a critical and political stance on many social issues from police brutality on the streets of New York to violence against women globally.

The Chi-town native and her group of Latin rappers seek to unify black and brown people through their African-, Latin- and hip-hop-inspired grooves. Lah Tere provides powerfully soulful vocals and thought-provoking, sometimes-bilingual lyrics that easily draw comparisons to Jill Scott, La Lupe and Queen Latifah. She was also a founding member of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC) in the South Bronx.

The proud Afro-Taina currently is one of the creative minds behind Mama's Hip-Hop Kitchen, a hip-hop theater showcase aiming to unite women of color through art and spoken word.

Mama’s Hip-Hop Kitchen, the Soup Kitchen for Hip-Hop Soul is a multifaceted event designed to showcase women artists, especially women of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color on issues that impact their lives including HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice. She is also the founder of 5 events that are themed around very important topics in her life. She invites women who can identify and/or represent the topics through the art form of their choice.

The focus of this year’s edition was “Let’s Get Active!” Since MHHK’s inception Lah Tere knew that as the event grew momentum and exposure many women’s lives would be changed. Little did she know that it would radically change hers as well. “As we were developing the event, something deep inside me was stirred. My personal health and wellness needs my undivided attention and I have made a commitment to make this a priority once and for all. In the process of activating others, I have activated myself.”

Through her political and local activism, Lah Tere has worked to carve her unique feminist niche outside of the commercial, often misogynistic music industry that objectifies females and she’s focused on building community from within.

As an emcee, she uses music as a didactic tool as well as an emotional release. Lah Tere writes and performs about domestic violence issues and links popular media examples of violence against women to secrets and silences in communities of color around molestation, rape and other forms of violence against women’s bodies that are too often normalized and naturalized in the media and by society.

Currently, Lah is working on a debut solo album as well as a collaborative album with her brother. Armed with piercing lyrics and a message to change the world for the better, Lah Tere brings everything to the party. I had the opportunity to meet this warm, fun & inspiring women when she gave a motivational talk as part of Women’s History Month in March at Montclair State University. She is honest and eye-opening in everything she covers from alcoholism in the family, to gangland murders, to lesbian-baiting. In her own words:

“Peace-paz. There are so many things happening around the world right now. And our commitment to the universe is imperative. We must take care of our health, families, communities, Mother earth. We must educate ourselves about the survival tactics, that our ancestors once used. My goal in life is to use spirituality, arts and culture as a tool for education and reclaiming our power. Berdiciones and lots of ache!”

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