If you grew up in New York City – even if you didn’t you’ve probably heard of Angie Martinez. In 2007, President Obama referred to her as “Voice of New York.” The voice of this Latina is undeniably one of the most recognized radio personalities in NYC. She was raised by a single mom spending her younger years living in Brooklyn and Washington Heights. Ms. Martinez’ Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican roots are palpable in all her words. She carries and infectious energy with a passion for the hip hop and Latino culture.
She first discovered the inside of a radio station during her teen years when her mother moved her out of the city to Miami to keep her out of trouble. It was at that point she discovered a love for the radio. She returned to New York City after graduation acquiring an internship with Station 97.1 later famed as Hot 97. The culture was extremely male-dominated but persistence and determination finally got her a shot to show off what she could do. Ultimately, prevailing in the mostly male hip hop radio environment. Popularity only grew from there on, as she had one of the hottest and most controversial hip hop stars of the time sit with her for an interview. Tupac Shakur was in the middle of an East Coast vs. West Coast music rivalry but she never backed down from the real topics. Her love for the culture, people and love for music was bigger than anything becoming a staple for the station. She ended the 20-year run on Hot 97 when she moved on to Power 105.1.
She is the definition of success in many ways. Ms. Martinez’ is fulfilling personal goals while she continues her efforts to bring a positive spin to the Latino Culture in our city. She’s gained respect among the biggest names in the hip hop industry which isn’t easy for a woman, even today. The use of her voice in support of her community while remaining authentic in the process is something she does flawlessly. She has written a memoir, recorded on rap albums, collaborated on cookbook with a Top Chef contestant and developed a blog among other side projects. Her face is a brand but the voice is her personal autograph.
Today, she is the first Latina radio personality to be nominated for induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. We need to begin throwing our support not only her way but for each other, as Latina women. My vote went to her earlier today (Dial 96000; Text 300). I tip my hat and wish her luck. She is a representation of what can happen when we remove the word limitation from our dictionary and push the envelope. You Go Girl!
We should work towards eliminating all mental barriers to allow ourselves a real opportunity to move mountains.
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