Review: Ana Tijoux Performs and Delivers Inspiration at Black Cat

La cosa es que estoy empezando a pensar que yo no voy a ver un cambio en mi patria durante mi vida … Mis nietos o mis bisnietos lo van a ver.

Thing is, I’m starting to think that I will not see a change in my homeland during my lifetime. My grandchildren or great-grandchildren will see it.

That’s what I tweeted when I read the news of Nicolas Maduro, “president” of Venezuela, announcing that Banco de Venezuela will be one of the private banks that will have complete control over the management of bolivares and foreign exchange currency.

This announcement means that practically no one can get out of Venezuela if they want to because the process to leave the nation will be almost impossible. Those students who are studying abroad in countries such as Spain, will either be forced to return to their country without completing their studies or attempt to find a way to survive in a foreign land.

However, this mentality changed when I went to see Ana Tijoux, the influential and mesmerizing French-Chilean rapper, at a sold-out show at Black Cat in D.C. Wednesday.

To say that I was excited or overjoyed would be a complete understatement.

I began to listen to Tijoux’s music in 2011, when she was featured in MTV IGGY. This woman immediately captivated me. She embodied everything I wanted to be—fearless, intellectual, powerful, a symbol of hope and perseverance for those that believed they had been defeated by the hand of corruption and oppression.

For a girl like me, her words were like salve to my wounds. A girl who felt worthless and helpless because I was thousands of miles away from saving my family and my people from the terrors planted by my own government.

How powerful is your voice? What can you do to change the world?

As humans, we all have this sense of dread and shame, of failure and fear of the unknown. We want to die knowing we made somewhat of a difference in our world, that we made our mark.

The night was filled with pure power. Rebel Diaz, a courageous hip-hop group from the Bronx, dedicated one of its songs to those that had unfairly fallen under the hands of police, listing Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and several other horrible deaths that have been featured in the news this past year.

Their songs, such as “La Patrulla”, “I’m an Alien” and “Craazy” ft. C-Rayz Walz, question the current system, the fabric of our current society, specifically immigration reform and police brutality.

With a constant flow of negative news and chaos, it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook and continue fighting and searching for the truth.

So as Ana sang “Creo En Ti,”with her arms outstretched, her flower patterned dress flowing around her, I felt her words on my tongue, slipping down my throat and lighting my soul. The attendees, numbering roughly 750, swayed along, pointed their fingers in the air and chanted “creo, creo,” an unstoppable wave of faith and emotion showering all of us.

Her rapid yet composed flow left me in awe, her stage presence captivated me completely. It was the first time I had seen a woman be the leader, be the main “attraction” and not exposing herself sexually in order to maintain that.

Tijoux is sensual, just not in the definition that society has branded into our minds. Her body was surrounded by the music, in sync with each instrument played by her phenomenal band, losmasbusca2, which left the audience in wonder as each of the players performed solos throughout the concert.

Her passion pulsing in every line, her presence raw and authentic, her voice bringing the frustration and determination of Chilean students protesting for their right to get an education in her song “Shock.”

The crowd begged for an encore, shouting “Ana, Ana!” for a few minutes, to a point where I thought she wasn’t going to come out for a last song.

I wanted the night to end so I could take the energy and overflow of inspiration that I had absorbed and take action, no longer be immobile and filled with the oppressive weight of defeat.

Because I have not been defeated yet. Neither have my friends and family in Venezuela, who have been fighting for justice and democracy ever since the start of Chavez’s regime and now Maduro’s corruptive rule. Or the youth of Chile, the youth of Latin America, the youth of Egypt, the youth of Nigeria, the youth of Guatemala, the youth of the United States.

We will destroy the chains of injustice and save those who have been permanently encased in the concrete box of silence.

We will see the change for ourselves—with peace, with love and with faith and we will make a better world for the present and future.

To check out my blog about Venezuela’s Unrest, click here.

headshotKarla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached

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