While last week’s Pride Parade at Binghamton University brought vibrant streamers, posters and spirited chants to the Brain, the main road that circles campus, this week the Q Center and Latin American Student Union (LASU) will host a night of Afro-Latin reggae and rock.
Taína Asili, ‘00, and her band La Banda Rebelde will perform in the second event of a series organized by the Q Center in tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Asili is a singer, filmmaker and activist with Puerto Rican roots who is based in New York City. Her music uses strong horns and hypnotic bass as it intertwines a multitude of genres, composing a tempo that can easily get the audience dancing to the “rhythm of rebellion.” Taína Asili y La Banda Rebelde have been listed in The Huffington Post’s “12 Freedom Fighting Bands to Get You Through the Trump Years,” and their music is inspired by tradition and struggle.
“I think that it’s important that we not only recognize the ways that we are suffering — recognize our harm — but also to lift up our resilience, our strength and our power, so that we know that the next generation has that to hold to on as well,” Asili states on her website.
During her time at BU, Asili was a member of LASU, and her parents, Louie and Mimi Del Valle, were integral in the founding of the organization. Kelly Clark, director of the Q Center, met Asili two years ago and said she encompasses the intersectional essence of October, which is both National Hispanic Heritage Month and LGBTQ History Month.
“It really couldn’t be any better,” Clark wrote in an email. “I instantly fell in love with her, the music; the energy of the band was amazing. I thought [this] was the perfect opportunity to bring her to campus.”
Clark added that Asili represents the activism that LGBTQ history is associated with.
“The fact that she’s a protest musician makes it extra special because of the aspect of the Stonewall 50th Anniversary,” Clark wrote.
During this month, the Q Center and LASU hope to bring attention to the lost history of the Stonewall riots. The resistance to the arrests of Stonewall Inn in 1969 are said to have been started by two transgender women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Clark said raising awareness for the intersectional queer identities that paved the path for a large-scale movement is critical to carving equal spaces for all members of the queer community.
“This history often gets lost but is so important especially because Black and Latinx trans women are subject to so much violence in our community today,” Clark wrote. “Our whole [c]ommunity owes them such a debt of gratitude.”
Rachael Kohler, a sophomore majoring in physics, said she is excited to attend the concert.
“I am interested in Hispanic music and political activist music,” she said. “It’s also cool that Taína Asili y La Banda Rebelde have performed at the Women’s March in D.C. and at San Francisco Pride.”
The concert will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Mandela Room. Admission is free.