“Who says women can’t rap?” asks Mynda Guevara in one of her songs. It has always been an artistic area dominated by men and sometimes linked to a misogynistic discourse, but the game is changing, and voices like this young rapper full of determination and vocation have contributed to that.
Seeing her on stage is like seeing a hurricane, with words that come out of her soul. “When the black woman moves, the entire structure of society moves with her”, as Angela Davis said. Proof of this is, for example, the nickname she chose for her stage name, ‘Guevara’. mirrors his “revolutionary spirit” and his thirst for “making a difference.” In the song Na Nossa Língua (2020), for example, the message is strong: “Black woman who came from the ghetto, from nowhere / And wants to be in the mouth of the people”.
Living in Cova da Moura, where she grew up, is a constant presence in her work. In this regard, she explains that, “coming from a social neighborhood and being black”, she has always suffered from “discrimination at all levels”, which necessarily has repercussions on her view of the world. “Our struggle, our fears and the way we face life is different”, she guarantees.
It was there that she also risked her first steps in music. At the age of 13, she began attending the already renowned Kova M Estúdio, part of the Associação Cultural Moinho da Juventude. Shortly after, she wrote her first song – or statement of intent – Mudjer na Rap (2016).
Rap is assumed to be an essential instrument of contesting expression and this female presence has only reinforced the ever-growing desire to intervene and denounce, to express that they are “the voice of the people, of the oppressed”, as Mynda says. “If we are in a prominent position, it is important that we have an active role in our community”, she reinforces, and has done so.
In recent years, despite being young and keeping a day job in a restaurant, she has been tireless in her message and in the production of several songs, some in collaboration with other artists. In the lyrics, creole predominates. It is also a political choice.
The artist, daughter of Cape Verdeans, welcomes the fact that Creole is gaining a growing prominence in the Portuguese artistic context. “This creation of bridges between the two cultures is important and enriching”, she says.
This impulse to use Creole as a major voice is shared by Dino d’Santiago, who claims that he only discovered his place in art when he began to compose in “Cesária’s language”. “While I was writing in Portuguese, I was more cerebral”, explains the musician. “When I started singing in Creole I recognized my complexion. And by recognizing my color, I stopped being afraid to say things. He freed me”. She tells us that it was precisely at that moment that she discovered the most authentic tone of her voice, “that soul that she was looking for in American soul or British pop”.
This liberation that the singer with roots in Santiago Island talks about is also related to the grammatical structure of the Cape Verdean language, which is less oppressive. “Grada Kilomba begins the book Memórias da Plantação with a great explanation in which she reports that, when trying to translate the work into Portuguese, she suffered horrors because she did not see the inclusion that she found in English expressions. There is no such predominance of gender in Creole either”, reports Dino.
Issues related to gender inequality are, in fact, paramount in the singer’s political agenda. He even goes so far as to say: “I finally discovered what my ism is. I consider myself fully a feminist.” Evidently, Mynda also places this fight at the top of her priorities, inside and outside the artistic environment.
Although she admits that the journey in the hip-hop movement is more difficult and difficult for women, that doesn’t stop her. On the contrary: “Give me more determination. I am in the fight every day so that more sisters have the will and strength to stay and enter the game, without fear”.