Miami Beach’s Faena Forum set the stage for Billboard Latin Music Week, an annual celebration of Latin music and culture. From Oct. 2-6, panel discussions illuminated the artists’ professional trajectories, strengthening bonds with supporters and media.
Throughout the five days, Latin Music Week highlighted the contributions of women in the Latin music industry. Female artists Kany Garcia, Young Miko, Nicki Nicole, Nathy Peluso, Maria Becerra and Gale were all featured in a “Women on the Rise” panel called “Boys Club No More!”
The Latin stars discussed their experiences as women in the music industry and gave advice to rising stars looking to break into the booming Latin music market. Towards the end of the chat, each woman gave a word of encouragement to the audience.
Argentinian superstar Maria Becerra advised aspiring artists to follow their love of music rather than the money or fame.
“No pierdas el enfoque de lo que realmente importa,” Becerra said, which translates to, “Do not lose focus of what really matters.”
Reggaeton pioneer and Latin Billboard Icon award holder Ivy Queen was featured in “The Rockstar Show,” a conversation hosted by Puerto Rican artist Nicky Jam.
In this special interview, Ivy Queen was honored with flowers in recognition of her leadership as the first woman in reggaeton history. Queen talked about her humble beginnings and how hard work and dedication earned her a spot in the industry.
“I normally don’t get nervous when I interview people, but I’m a little nervous because I respect you a lot,” Jam said.
The pair discussed the challenges Queen faced early on as the only female rapper in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. The “queen of reggaeton” started off battling male rappers and beating them with her clever punchlines. Her never-before-seen talent spoke for itself, but she still dealt with insults.
“I used to get judged a lot by my appearance, especially for my nails,” Queen said.
She recounted that it wasn’t easy being surrounded by men, but she persevered with her expert lyricism.
“I earned the respect. I fought for my spot, ” Queen said. “Work hard because nothing will be handed to you.”