I’ll admit it, I was never into the hip hop scene so I had no idea who Angie Martinez is before finding this memoir listed among Hispanic memoirs somewhere. I don’t have any particular problems with it, I’m just not among the people it spoke to. I’m aware of the feminist issues with the way that women are talked about in many lyrics but I’m also aware of the fact that I don’t listen enough to judge whether or not it’s indicative of the culture it came out of or particular artists or any of that stuff, so I reserve judgement on it as a whole. Nevertheless, I understand why people like it. I understand why Angie Martinez liked it.
She actually explains it pretty well at the beginning of the memoir. Rather than focus entirely on her career, Martinez begins with where she found her love for hip hop and how it manifested into her career. I love stories like these because I love the idea that you can love something so much that it really can be your life in a healthy and productive way. I also love the way she talks, she reminds me of an aunt of mine and it was really comforting. I love the way she has encouragement for everyone, even the readers too. Her advice is pretty great too, especially about work and not always knowing where your going. There are careers that you need to map our your life to attain and then there are careers that people find or fall into out of love or persistence or both.
As someone unfamiliar with the hip hop world, there are still a few recognizable moments in this book. You’d have to have your head under a rock or something to not know the names Tupac and Biggie Smalls and about their feud and deaths. Those names still resonate in this country with all kinds of people. I may have never understood much about what was going on, but I knew who they were and that they were a part of hip hop and seen plenty of remembrances. Given the time frame of the book, it was also bound to have a description of 9/11 in New York and what was going on the author’s world when it happened.
More than anything, though, I love the way the title plays into the story of Martinez’s life. So much of the journey is about finding and using her voice. It’s such a minimized thing, our voices. She gives a lot of encouragement when it comes to reader’s finding our voices too. Without figuring out who we are and how to talk to people, how to get them to listen, we’re going nowhere fast. She got to use her voice to do some pretty incredible things in her sphere, particularly on a day like 9/11. She found her voice in so many ways for so many settings and that’s something that is ever evolving for all of us. Just when I feel like I’ve found my voice for one setting in my life, it’s time to pack and move and start at the bottom all over again and figuring out how to be heard. In some places, it never seems to work. I can go on a whole rant about that, but a review isn’t really the place for that. I just really appreciate Angie Martinez for throwing it out there and emphasizing the important of voice in several settings and what we can accomplish by using it.
This is a book for anyone that enjoys women’s memoir or biographies, feminists, anyone interested in Latin or Hispanic personalities or authors, or anyone just trying to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through reading like I am. It’s definitely one I’d take with me to reread when I need to remember that I have to love my career to be truly successful at it because that’s been harder of late. I borrowed the audiobook from Scribd (which is read by the author herself and how she really sounded so much like my aunt it made me homesick sometimes), but it’s available for purchase worldwide and there are options at Booklikes if you click on the cover or just add to Goodreads for later. I know they have plenty of options too.