CVC Bay Area

Chulita Vinyl Club

Frauen müssen zusammenhalten. Frauen, die DJs sind, erst recht. Frauen of Color sowieso. Frauen of Color, die DJs sind – Halleluja. DJ-Crews wie der Chulita Vinyl Club schaffen deshalb einen eigenen Raum nur für junge Frauen of Color, die Vinyl sammeln und auflegen.

Nach wie vor ist die Musik- und DJ-Szene eine, wie man sagt, Männerdomäne. Und, wie das so ist mit einer Männerdomäne, erweckt sie bei jungen Frauen häufig den Eindruck, dass sie in ihr nichts verloren haben. Wenn sie trotzdem als DJs auflegen oder anderweitig Musik machen, wird ihnen allzu gerne Talent abgesprochen. Schade daran ist, dass junge Frauen schlichtweg entmutigt werden, es überhaupt zu versuchen.

Als Claudia Saenz, auch unter ihrem DJ-Namen Tear Drop bekannt, anfing aufzulegen, merkte sie schnell, dass es zwar durchaus Girls gab, die sich für Musik und Vinyl begeistern, aber keine Plattform, auf der sie sich behaupten konnten. 2013 gründete sie den Chulita Vinyl Club in Austin, in dem sich junge Frauen, vor allem Latinas, als DJs probieren, ihre Skills verfeinern und voneinander lernen können. Zwar sind alle Musik-Genres willkommen, als Latina-DJs zelebrieren die Chulitas aber stolz ihre Kultur, wenn sie alte Cumbia-, Oldies- oder Rancheras-Platten spielen. Inzwischen gibt es Ableger in Los Angeles, der kalifornischen Bay Area, San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley, Santa Ana und San Diego.

Mit Gründerin Claudia Saenz, Evelyn Gomez (a.k.a. DJ Nopalera) und Gisele Herrera (a.k.a. Pituca) vom Chulita Vinyl Club Bay Area sowie Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera (DJ Hysteria) vom Chulita Vinyl Club Austin sprach ich darüber, warum es so wichtig ist, dass sich Womyn of Color zusammenschließen.

When did you decide to start the club and how did you find each other?

Claudia Saenz, Chulita-Vinyl-Club-Gründerin, DJ-Name Tear Drop:
I created Chulita Vinyl Club in 2013 in Austin, Texas, out of love for music, the lack of womyn* invited to be involved in the conversation of music and for the purpose of empowerment and collectiveness for vinyl loving girls. Womyn empowerment is important, and even on a small-scale move, a vinyl club, it can help us as womyn move forward. CVC encourages womyn to be independent, to create and recognize it’s difficult being a woman, and we need each other for support. After a year of Chulita Vinyl Club existing in Texas (Austin, San Antonio & Rio Grande Valley) I decided to create chapters with Chulitas that showed support and interest in the Bay Area and later Santa Ana, Los Angeles and San Diego. It was not hard to find Chulitas that would be interested as there was already a community of womyn vinyl collectors that were ready to organize and spin.

* Von Claudia bevorzugte Schreibweise

Evelyn Gomez, DJ Nopalera, Chulita Vinyl Club Bay Area:
I instantly wanted to be a Chulita as soon as I heard of CVC through a friend, Gisele, who is also an active member of the Bay Area Chapter. It is rare to find womyn of color who collect vinyl records and are passionate about it as I am. Claudia created such an amazing safe space for womyn of color and for that I am truly thankful for. She created a movement for not just for Latinas that collect records, but also empowering all womyn of color.

What does »Chulita« mean? And what does it means to each of you?

Claudia In Spanish, the Spanish slang »chulita« which is derived from the word, chula, means »cute« or »pretty«. The word Chulita to us becomes empowering and confident sort of like Beyoncé calling herself »FLAWLESS«.

Evelyn Chulita is Spanish slang, derived from the word chula, and means »beautiful girl«. Chulita for me is like saying »soy chingona,« I am a badass. I am a beautiful badass chicana.

Gisele Herrera, Pituca, Chulita Vinyl Club Bay Area:
Chulita is like »Cutie« in Spanish and it’s directed as a compliment for womyn. In CVC we use it as a form of empowerment like yes, »I am a Chulita,« and I’m confident in that and proud in that.

Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera, DJ Hysteria, Chulita Vinyl Club Austin:
It means a beautiful, powerful woman.

Chulita Vinyl Club Los Angeles
Chulita Vinyl Club Los Angeles,
CVC Austin San Antonio
Chulita Vinyl Club Austin & San Antonio, © Arlene Mejorado
Chulita Vinyl Club Bay Area
Chulita Vinyl Club Bay Area, © Raul Barrera
Who is the club for?

Evelyn Chulita Vinyl Club is a beautiful safe space for womyn of color who collect vinyl records.

Gisele CVC is for any womyn who want to join who have an interest in vinyl and music.

Is there a preferred musical genre?

Evelyn The beauty of Chulita Vinyl Club is that we all have our very own style when it comes to our record collection, but connects us all to one. The beauty of CVC is the passion we have for music, vinyls and empowering each other. It’s not only a club now, it is a movement for brown womyn, it’s sisterhood.

Gisele We all bring our own personal style to the space and obviously we have our similarities. A lot of us collect music we grew up with that’s really popular in our cultures. Whether it’s cumbia, oldies, punk, rancheras, or rock en español, there’s a distinct style with every Chula and we like to keep it open and diverse within ourselves as well.

Men have long identified themselves through their knowledge of music. And have been admired for it, knowledge has been a part of  »ideal masculinity.« Does the question why there are so few female record collectors interest you?

Claudia Creating spaces for womyn of color is important and as I’ve learned, stereotype threat exists and when men dominate a space, we think, »If girls like me aren’t represented in this scene then it must not be and I don’t belong here.« Chulita Vinyl Club hopes to continue creating a space for womyn that allows growth and encourages empowerment. As womyn in society we recognize that it is difficult being a woman and that society has a tendency of making it difficult for womyn to succeed in all industries. Being a mujer in the DJ scene can be tough. It’s almost our duty to deal with the defeatist nature that comes with it. CVC has brought the community of vinyl loving girls together and that’s been the best part.

Evelyn Long story short, as a little girl I never would’ve imagined myself where I am today. I never pictured myself being a DJ and that’s because I honestly never saw a woman being a DJ, especially a brown woman. It has always been a man’s »thing« and it is very upsetting. Now I am glad Chulita Vinyl Club has inspired womyn of color to pursue that dream and continue to empower womyn through music.

Gisele I understand why some womyn are hesitant to be in spaces or create spaces that have always been centered by men. We are constantly patronized and belittled, especially with music. I have experiences in record stores where I know men want to »mansplain« a record to me. »Mansplain« a genre like I don’t know what I’m looking for or what I already collect. But I think we’re at a time where there aren’t a »few« womyn record collectors. There are a lot of us and we’re growing and taking back space that we have every right to be in.

Yoalli I believe that knowledge of music has been masculinized, although there always have been womyn who love music. We are making more visible that there all also womyn lovers of music and who know about music.

Why is important to mention that this club is for womyn of color only?

Evelyn It is extremely important to mention this club is for womyn of color because it is already hard enough being a woman, but woman of color is a whole different level. It is important for minority womyn to be in the forefront. We have always had to fight to be heard and now we are doing that with our music. Music that represents us and our roots. Creating safe spaces for people of color to dance to music our grandparents used to listen to. This is our time to show society we, womyn can get down on the one’s and two’s, not just men.

Gisele CVC is inclusive to all womyn but we are focused on womyn of color. 

What do you tell people that may be offended?

Evelyn I don’t think anyone should be offended by this. It is just a form of keeping our culture alive and empowering brown womyn.

Gisele We focus on womyn of color because as womyn of color we haven’t been recognized or represented and we’re constantly pushed to the side. Our space has become one where we can come together as mujeres of color and be down and proud without stigmas and without shame. It’s a space where we can be unapologetic and inclusive and respect one another’s experiences and connect through that and through music.

Is one more important than the other: music or activism?

Evelyn Music is a form of activism, and activism is a form of music.  

Yoalli  I think they are both interrelated. The music we play, who we are, and which spaces we chose to play, we are creating a political statement.

What are your favorite records?

Claudia

  1. Deep Shadows’ by Little Ann
  2. Talk To Me’ by Sunny and the Sunliners
  3. Ven Conmigo’ by Selena

Gisele One of my all time favorite records and in my opinion one of the BEST records ever made is ›Dreamin’ Wild‹ by Donnie and Joe Emmerson.

Let’s talk about Selena Quintanilla. I saw a few posts related to Selena on your Instagram and Claudia names one of her songs in her Top 3. Why is Selena so significant?

Evelyn Selena Quintanilla is extremely important to the Latino community, especially brown girls, because she broke down barriers and became the first Chicana, Mexican-American woman, to make it big in the music scene. Through her music and style, she embraced her culture and was very proud.

Gisele Selena is really important to the Brown/Chicanx/Latinx community because growing up in the United States, there is barely any representation for us. Selena is an iconic figure who defied all stigmas and stereotypes against brown womyn. She showed little brown kids that you could follow your dreams and reach success while speaking both English and Spanish, reconnecting with your roots and overall get to the top by being a good person. Her music still resonates 20 years after her death and we still bump it and will continue to bump it.

Yoalli She has become a symbol of latinx culture and womyn of color inside a masculinized-racialized music space and her music has gone beyond borders.

Do you have any advise to other non-white feminists?

Claudia Know that you have a place in the world. You are not the problem and there is a seat for you everywhere.

Evelyn Embrace your inner chingona.

Yoalli Create safe spaces and collective spaces for womyn of color, where you all can have fun, talk, reflect and enjoy your beings.

Do you have any advise to white feminists?

Claudia Listen to people of color. Don’t appropriate and always check your privilege in this world.

Evelyn Respect womyn of color’s spaces.

Gisele LISTEN. Don’t speak over womyn of color. Don’t patronize. Don’t compare situations/experiences to your favor. Don’t appropriate. Be inclusive. Check your privilege. LISTEN.

Yoalli Foremost: Learn to listen to others, even their silences. Be aware of your privileges and be aware from which standpoint you are talking.

 


 

Chulita Vinyl Club

Check out some mixtapes on 8tracks.

@chulitavinylclub on Instagram.

Chulita Vinyl Club on Facebook.


Ein Artikel von Contributor-Team-Mitglied Sophia Wolff. ♡
Nach dem Literaturwissenschaftsstudium zog es Sophia nach New York, wo sie seitdem über Mode, Kultur und Feminismus schreibt.

Photo credits: Arlene Mejorado, Raul Barrera.