Speaking Latinxs into Existence: How Two Latina Podcasters are Cultivating Safe Spaces for Women and Femmes of Color
Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez
After constant cover of rain, the sun was meant to shine on the 24th of February, at the “Mejor Sola Pop-Up” by Locatora Radio. A day where two Latina women, Diosa Femme and Mala Muñoz, provided a self-love art installation in which Latinas could “bring fotos y recuerdos” from old flames they are “ready to part ways with”. I personally found out about these two women and their movement to celebrate the Latinx experience by stumbling upon their podcast, Locatora Radio, on Spotify. I remember the first episode I listened to was when I was just starting at UCLA. As a transfer commuter, it was difficult to find community right away. Locatora Radio provided the reminder I needed of who I was. The voices of Mala and Diosa were the Latina amigas I needed to speak the Latinx experience into existence, and feelings of diaspora on the way to class.
At the pop-up, music of a nostalgic family carne asada was playing, and podcasters, Diosa Femme and Mala Muñoz, created an interactive art display with a pink heart pinata that was being filled with love letters y recuerdos to let old flames go. The area was framed by pink mirrors and huge paper flowers that reminded me of a soft feminine side to the Latina identity. The flowers also reminded me of the Latina love for las plantas that also seemed like a homage being paid to the huge tissue paper flowers that I would see vendors sell in Mexico. Onto the reflective mirrors, “locamores”, the listeners of Locatora Radio, could write words of self love and affirmation. Latinas with hair braided thick as rope, or curled with pomade in purple and blue hair dye approached the art exhibit, empowering themselves in the Spanish and English language, smiling after completing the ritual of writing a self love letter to forget a toxic person as they look at themselves and reflect in the mirror.
I decided to interview these two women to better understand their passion, and why it is important for the Latinx community to gather.
Why did you think it was necessary to start a podcast together?
Mala: Well it was Diosa’s idea, and she approached me about it. We had become friends after meeting online and then meeting up in real life at this meet up organized by Chingona Fire and Latina Rebels, and we started hanging out. And it was different, and that is what got me interested in it. You know I did not know anyone else who was podcasting.
Diosa: When we started there were not many femme Latina podcasters, so it just felt like a natural place for us to enter because there was not a voice like us at the time.
Would you say that what you are doing is a movement?
Mala: It has become a movement.
Why would you say so?
Diosa: Because the community that we have built, you know we call out listeners our locamores, not only do we call them our locamores but they self identify as locamores, and that is how they build with each other. We had a woman share with us she was in a dula training program and felt like she did not know anybody. Turns out, a listener, a locamor, they ended up finding each other because they are both locamores in that dula program and became best friends.
Mala: Our podcast does not just live online. Like we come out and do things like this, like parties, events, and live pop-ups. And our listeners also don’t just stay online. They will come out and pack a workshop or they will sell out our locatora live. I was at a sexual health summit of the day and the very first workshop of the day, I came to find there were three people in there who were podcast listeners, and who recognized me from the podcast. So like, we are out here in real ways, especially in LA.
That is so great! Especially for the Latina and femme community it is very rare to find those spaces when Latinos have been so spread out for a long time. It is awesome you guys are contributing to the unification of the community.
What is your goal as the podcast and community begins to grow?
Diosa: I think we can definitely see ourselves taking Locatora Live on the road, whether that be in New York, Portland, Texas, you know we are still trying to see. There is definitely a want for it outside of LA. So I think you can see that from us in the next few years.
Mala: You know it is still kind of our passion project right now. Although it is growing we still have our day jobs. But I think we want to this full time. And like do the podcast, media, entertainment, whatever the fuck we call it! The whole thing we do, we want to do it full time and make it our thing.
Why is this particular event important for your listeners and the community?
Diosa: You know we get a lot of questions about dating, or how to survive a breakup and heartbreak, “how do I build community?” “How do i make friends with people, I am 24 years old. I feel like I am too old to make new friends.” This is another way of practicing self love and affirmations, which we get asked all the time about. We are prioritizing ourselves and not our relationships, “I loved you but I love me more.” You know? So, that relationship with [your ex] doesn’t really matter. What matters is me. So that is still in the praxis, it is not just in the podcast, it is not just oh talk talk talk, you actually come out and live it.
Mala: Yeah, not only that but we do events like Locatora live and parties at clubs and venues when it is late at night and the weekends and it is 21+, and we do have plenty of listeners who are moms who have kids, or who are under the age of 21 so we try and do events that are free and highly accessible to everyone. S for us that is why this event is important. Everyone can come.
Diosa: We have already seen a number of mothers and daughters here together, like teenage daughters here with their moms. So being able to be in that kind of space is important to us.
What would you say your demographic is?
Definitely Latinas from 16-45.
Not a lot of people know about the growing Latino community that is branching out to unify and be successful in ways that may not be a lawyer or doctor, but as doing something beneficial for the community. You are all very inspiring to me and so many of the young listeners!
Mala and Diosa: Thank you, girl!
The podcast instagram: @locatora_radio
Mala’s Instagram: @mala_munoz
Diosa’s Instagram: @diosafemme
Photographs provided by: Jose Sanchez