Amada Echeverria is a data scientist and cartoonist based in Brooklyn. Born in Mexico and raised in Miami, her love of reggaeton knows no bounds. Her series Reggaetoons explores iconic reggaeton lyrics through a modern lens. We sat down for a little Q&A with the creator of the cartoon strip.
Tell us a little background about yourself in general.
I’m from Miami, the 305, just like Pitbull. If he’s Mister Worldwide, then I am La Marquesa de Worldwide. I’m Mexican, so, essentially a minority in Miami. I came to New York 8 years ago to study sociology and then computer science, and because data from my head shows that the percentage of abuelas who ask you “cuando te vas a casar?” is lower in New York than in Miami. I’ve spent the last 8 years terrifying white people on the Lower East side by kissing them on the cheek and using Amanda as my Starbucks name, which makes no sense because most of the people who work there are Latino or from Latino neighborhoods.
How did you get started as an artist?
I kept having ideas for memes I wanted to make for Instagram but I couldn’t put them together because I don’t know how to use Photoshop. I would ask my graphic designer friends, “I don’t like computers. They’re annoying. I don’t wanna learn Photoshop. Can you make this meme for me?” And they would say, “Amada – you’re literally a computer scientist.” I realized the only way I could make the memes myself was by drawing them. My entire stint as a drawing-lady was born out of procrastinating learning Photoshop and a desire to make people [laugh]. I draw memes. I don’t know if I’m an artist, but I’m definitely a con-artist.
How did the idea for Reggaetoons come to be?
I was thinking about how most reggaeton lyrics are not progressive or millennial enough, and I thought, let’s update these babies. Also, I did ask a waiter at brunch once to “dale huevo.” He made a face and did not bring me eggs. I will now exact my revenge by returning to that same restaurant with an iPad and showing him this article as proof of my success. I will scream, “You thought I was weird!? WHO IS THE WEIRD ONE NOW?” and stomp while exiting the restaurant. I will most likely do this this Sunday.
What do you foresee for the future of the genre, and for yourself as an artist?
Maybe more Spanglish – more collaborations with English-speaking artists. I don’t know anything about the music industry, but if you let me do a TED Talk on it, I would definitely put on a black turtleneck and tell you all about the fate of reggaeton based on data from my head.
What do you want people to take away from these?
I want people to buy them. Don’t take away anything. Just give me money (not bitcoin please).
Follow Amada on Instagram @amada.cartoons, and check out the series below.