The Music Called Out

Latinix students make up 40% of the population, yet its music is underrepresented at school dances

Hispanic students like me make up around 40% of the student population at Branham, yet we don’t hear the music we enjoy at dances and rallies. It’s just the same pop songs over and over. We hear different types of music when it’s Multicultural week, but after that, it seems to be forgotten, and the same trending music is played again. 

Freshman Kyle Chieng is an ASB student on the tech committee, which is in charge of setting up tech for school events, including the speakers. The tech committee chooses music on the playlists too. He said that in one instance, the color fest during dig pink week, very energetic and upbeat music was chosen.

Chieng says there aren’t any specific artists or genres the committee chooses, but anything that is upbeat and clean is acceptable. However, there definitely isn’t any Hispanic music on those playlists.

You would think that a school with a large amount of racial diversity would include music from those cultures. So why aren’t there many Hispanic songs and artists being played at school?

Erica Marquez, a Spanish teacher who also helped supervise the Love Ball, has been pushing for Hispanic music to be played at school events to increase inclusivity, because she feels like the school has not properly represented the community. She said despite their being inclusivity training, representation isn’t shown when it needs to be, and that dances are a perfect opportunity to showcase inclusiveness.

Marquez expressed frustration that nothing seemed to be getting done towards better representation, and said that she felt like the only person that was pushing for it. However she’s not giving up because she knows how important it is for students to feel included. 

To Marquez’s point, diversity does need to be properly celebrated and acknowledged. If we are to accurately show our population in school wide events such as dances, we need to play music from all of their culture. With certain countries having especially popular music such as Mexico and Korea, it provides even more reasons to showcase this music, and puts into question why they wouldn’t be included at events. 

At the Love Ball, there were some Hispanic songs played, but only because Marquez, who was supervising, requested Hispanic music with the approval of the principal. The student DJ said he could only play pre-programmed music, then his system broke down and a leadership student took over. Marquez spoke to that student. I saw people get really hyped up when the Hispanic music was on, but they were disappointed when it stopped.

Marquez went to Heather Cooper, the leadership advisor, and asked that they put the Spanish songs back on. She said Cooper didn’t cooperate, despite her mentioning that the school is very diverse and multicultural. 

While there were rules that ASB had to follow during that specific event, it is unfortunate that Marquez’s attempts to showcase cultural music was not appreciated, even though the students were enjoying the music. If the international songs are a hit with a student population, the music shouldn’t be discouraged. If anything it proves that our generation appreciates music from all over the world, and that language doesn’t matter if the music speaks to them. 

Although it didn’t happen at the Love Ball, Marquez hopes that eventually, more music and cultures will be represented at school. According to her there are already plans to include different types of music, including Hispanic songs. In the future, however, she wants there to be more change in more representation in the coming years. Some may argue that something as small as a school dance isn’t that significant when it comes to proper cultural appreciation, but these small events are where we have to start if we are to have broader and more school-wide coverage of all the cultures our students are from. 

This story focused on Hispanic and Latin music, but the issue doesn’t just apply to us: it applies to everyone – to all cultures and ethnicities – and to you. Representation, inclusivity, diversity – has your community followed through on its promises? Remember, you have a voice… use it.