Mabiland Makes R&B en Español for Black Queer Latines

Mabiland knows that Blackness is not solely a racial marker; Blackness — in Colombia — is a condition informed by a larger history of slavery and white supremacy. While Mabiland centers these complex realities, the artist refuses the narrative trope of Blackness and violence as always feeding into one another. The visuals in the video to “WOW,” released June 2021, center Black intimacy and relationality even while the lyrics name the racial and class violence occurring in Mabiland’s home city of Quibdó, which belongs to the Chocó Department of the country. Chocó, also home to the hip-hop group ChocQuibTown, has recently faced militant militia groups and illegal mining that is destroying ecological landscapes and Indigenous people’s access to food. In 2020, Chocó was classified as a “starvation capital.” In combining lyrics of political and social violence with visuals of Black communities in Colombia engaging in mundane events, such as hair braiding, krumping, riding bikes, and sitting on porches, Mabiland highlights the fact that even through hardship, Black Colombians continue to move through the world in quotidian ways. Without naming it, she shows viewers that Colombia doesn’t protect Black people; Black Colombians protect each other.

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