Music

Meet Yanna, the Independent Queer Afro-Peruvian Artist Making Waves

In a society that condemns what’s different, it’s a revolutionary act to speak from experience, use art to tear down systems of oppression without losing joy, and stay grounded.

By using compelling self-made beats mixed with powerful lyrics that reflect some of the everyday struggles of Black communities in Peru, Yanna, an independent queer Afro-Peruvian artist, is making waves in the local music scene–and we can’t get enough of her.

Her story makes her unique and inspiring, yet close to home for many Black and brown folks. Yanna grew up in a neighborhood called San Martin de Porres, a historic Afro-descendant and indigenous district segregated from “modern Lima.” At 25 years old, and while living with her cat called Eclipse among her friends, Yanna decided to say f*ck it to everyone who has ever doubted her–including herself–to become a full-time, invested artist committed to the antiracism work through art, more specifically through music.

To achieve her dream, she is now playing the roles of singer, beatmaker, cover designer, and producer. Inspired by her roots, and everyday experiences, her room has become her recording and producing studio, crushing boundaries by making everyday life a form of art.

Yanna explores different genres with Afro-diasporic roots like hip-hop, dancehall, trap, reggaetón, house, funk, and salsa. “For me, music is like food: It has to be slowly cooked, detail-oriented, and with good content,” she tells Remezcla. “The lyrics of my songs are straight forward. The truth needs to be told. Not the truth understood as universal, but everyone’s own truth. For that, my reality, where I come from, and my day to day life are important ingredients when creating.”

The freshly debuted artist has already released two singles this year. First, “Marcaperu” where she highlights the contradiction of the Peruvian state that sells itself as an international brand without really taking care of the needs of the country’s most vulnerable communities.

“La Vuelta,” her latest single, talks about the importance of acknowledging where we come from to understand where we are headed. Yanna was inspired by a traditional Afro-Peruvian oral expression called “Ya yo ta cansá” from the renowned Afro-Peruvian artist Victoria Santa Cruz. “I believe in honoring those who were before us as a way of thanking them for their art, struggles, and inspiration.”

As a queer Afro-descendent femme from the same neighborhood, this last song makes me feel strong and heard. With a chorus that states: “If you get lost in the way, come back to your roots and you will know the right path,” listening to her music has become a path of healing itself.

“My legacy is to open a bridge for others. I know how hard it is to position yourself in the art scene. Thus, I want to become an inspiration for the people who can identify or relate to me and my story. If they have the calling, I want them to know, they can do it…We need to reclaim our connection with spirituality to understand our purpose. In the end, is all about healing and evolving.”