Brenda Jackson

Spanglish Music and Latinx-American Identity

Faculty Mentor: Jongnic Bontemps, Music Department

Major: Music, Urban & Environmental Policy

Funding: Arts and Urban Experience Mellon


The recent surge in Latinx Spanglish music can be seen as a product of the bicultural identities these bilingual and often first and second generation American artists inhabit. In this project I used the Bicultural Identity Integration concept as the framework for investigating how Latinx bicultural individuals perceive their two cultural identities in relation to the music they consume. I created an online survey that provided insight on who are consumers of Spanglish and Spanish music and found the large majority of Latinx identifying individuals listened to Spanglish and Spanish music and over half of the non-Latinx respondents did as well. My research found that all of the Latinx-American folks whomst I had interviewed once felt a sense of shame in their Latinx culture to some extent as a result of pressure to assimilate to white American culture. But as they got older, Spanglish music made by Latinx artists became a powerful form of representation and resistance to the pressure to assimilate. Behind the scenes, Latinx managers of Latinx indie artists in LA saw a gap in representation of Latinx artists in indie music and have done successful organizing work to promote their and other Latinx indie artists, and using their platform in support of other social justice causes. This research is a part of a larger on-going project for my senior comprehensive project for the Spring of 2021.


Watch my research presentation below.

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