12 Jun Maya Jupiter calls for greater representation in music
Maya Jupiter is doing it all.
She’s a talented musician, a mother of two, co-founder of entertainment company Artivist Entertainment, and a radio host.
Maya grew up in Western Sydney and always had a strong passion for music. She first began with writing poetry, before falling in love with hip hop when she was around 12 years old. At 14, she wrote her first rap, recorded her first demo at 17, and released her first album at 22 with Mother Tongues, a label dedicated to women in hip hop.
“Hip hop was the culture I identified with and related to as an “outsider”,” she said.
“It has been my way to process the world around me and is a vehicle to be heard, and it has empowered me when I have felt powerless.
“It’s about being authentic and representing yourself, so I do it to be honest and unapologetically me.”
Born to parents of Mexican and Turkish backgrounds, Maya struggled to find a place in the Australian music industry. This led her to use her position on radio and TV to promote Australian hip hop with a focus on indigenous Australians, migrants and refugees. She continues this work in her new home in the United States, as the Monday radio host of The Global Village on KPFK Los Angeles.
“Using cultural instrumentation connects me to my identity; it’s my way of feeling more Turkish and Mexican, especially growing up without a Mexican community in Sydney,” Maya said.
“On one hand, being of mixed cultural backgrounds has always felt normal because it’s all I’ve ever known, but on the other hand, I have also felt like an “other”.
“I think that’s why I identify with being Chicana, it’s sort of this neither here nor there idea; too Mexican to be Australian, too Australian to be Mexican, and now living in the United States, I feel more Australian than ever.”
Using this need to showcase more artists of colour, Maya joined forces with husband Aloe Blacc, Grammy Award winning Producer and Community Activist Quetzal Flores, Sound Engineer and Musician Alberto Lopez and PR/Marketing expert Veronica Gonzalez, to form Artivist Entertainment.
“We support Artists who create Art for positive social change,” she said.
“We have produced events and collaborated with not-for-profit organisations and it has been a lot of fun and has been very fulfilling work.
“We found ourselves in a position of access and decided this was the best way to support artists and make connections.”
By continuing this work through her position in the media and Artivist Entertainment, Maya hopes to see a greater representation of multicultural, indigenous and first nations artists in mainstream channels in the future.
“I can only speak for the Industry here in the States and at home in Australia but I’d like to see more diversity in music, both musically and physically,” she said.
“I’d also like to see more artists who are creating positive social change, or at least a balance between that and club music in the pop world.
“Music is a very powerful tool to create dialogue and it changes the way we think about things.”
Find out more about Artivist Entertainment HERE.