As an artist you must stand out, which sounds fairly relative to what an individual’s identity should signify. A musician must profess originality and creativity while your personal identity sets you apart from the crowd. The question is will we ever see an artist whose identity expresses something we’ve never seen before.
The answer is yes! Meet Alexandrea Lushington a dedicated and passionate artist whose soulful melody is one we will be seeing more of. Her Afro-Latina identity is one she truly takes pride in and contributes to her diversity in music and shapes her as an artist. With the lack of many Afro-Latina artist in the mainstream media, Lushington’s ambition will take her to the top and create a platform for many aspiring Afro-Latina musicians.
Lushington has been seen on The Apollo, American Idol, The Queen Latifah Show, The Jenny Jones Show, 106 & Park and more. It’s her time to shine so let’s join her on this wonderful journey.
How do you express your Afro-Latina?
Alexandrea Lushington:I express being Afro- Latina with my words, my actions, and my everyday life. It’s just something that you don’t think about. It’s a part of you!
What age did you begin embracing your Afro-Latina identity?
AL: I didn’t really start embracing being Afro – Latina until right before I graduated high school. Like most of us, I went through different identity crisis. Asking myself or my family, “Am I black or am I Latina?”
Eventually I grew up and I started to understand that it was more than the physical, and it was all about the upbringing and culture.
What does being Afro-Latina mean to you?
AL: Being Afro- Latina really helps with understanding how rich our African history is. Being of Latino culture as well as African descent, allows me to understand the struggle and the strength of my ancestors outside of just American history and knowing about other regions of the world that my ancestors made their mark and contributed to the culture we know today.
What was it like growing up Panamanian? Did you ever struggle with your cultural identity?
AL: Absolutely I did! Growing up Panamanian wasn’t anything that I thought about until I began to socialize with others in school who only understood black and white and maybe Hispanic. It wasn’t Latino to others around me. It was Hispanic or Mexican. Then it was the discussion of my physical appearance.
My peers would always assert that I wasn’t really Latina because I appeared “too black” or my hair appeared “too kinky.” I found myself defending my background almost too much, to the point where I was almost trying to eliminate my African ethnicity. It was hard, but after growing up and learning to love myself overall, I began to embrace being of African descent and realized that there were others exactly like me that looked like me and had similar backgrounds and experiences as I did growing up.
When did you discover your passion for music ?
AL: I discovered my passion at a very young age. Five years old to be exact. From there my parents had me involved in talent shows, performing arts programs, voice lessons, piano lessons, television shows, etc. I was very decisive for such a young child, and I still am LOL. And ever since then I’ve dedicated my life to music.
Has you being Afro-Latina help shape you as an artist?
AL:Absolutely! I grew up listening to a diverse selection of genres, which also included Latin music. I learned how to sing in Spanish. It has definitely helped mold my ear and my rhythm for different sounds that you can only get from growing up listening to Latin music.
Who are some of your top musical influences?
AL: I’m an old-school kind of girl. So I grew up listening to a lot of old-school soul and R&B. Of course I absolutely love Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Phyllis Hyman, just to name a few. My all-time favorite artist, which some people wouldn’t believe, is Jason Mraz. I discovered his music around the time he first came out when I was 12 years old and I just admire his sound, his writing styles, his versatility with his vocal performance. I just really connected with him and his music.
Do you see a lack of Afro-Latino/a artist in the music industry? Do you think there is room for Afro-Latino artist to go mainstream?
AL : I do see a lack of Afro-Latino artists in the music industry, and even in the entertainment industry as a whole. And it’s not because there aren’t any talented artists out there. I think the main issue is that they are too busy only be recognized for being “black.” Which isn’t a problem, however, it is this trend of being put in this box, like because we look black, then that’s all we can be.
So, a lot of the times when these artists are being promoted, they’re not being promoted for their art and being Afro-Latino. There are many people in the entertainment industry we don’t know is Afro-Latino until they say that they are or we search their Wikipedia lol. And I believe that’s what needs to change. There needs to be more representation in the mainstream media for the Afro -Latino community. Instead of this closed minded idea that Latino people are only fair skin with straight hair.
How do you want people to view you as an artist? What is your story?
AL: No matter what I do, I always want my integrity to shine through. I want people to know and understand the hard work that I put into my music. The passion that I have for my music and for my people. And that for me it is all about the music, not the fame, not the recognition or admiration, or even the compliments. I was brought up very old fashion, so my way of thinking and carrying myself is how they would have back in the day.
I believe back in the day they believed in doing everything with the purpose. Music from 20, 30, 40+ years ago is so timeless because it was made to last and made to make a statement to touch people. My story has yet to be told because there’s so much that goes into it, but no matter what I do, just know that I try to do everything with integrity.
Would you ever consider doing music that embraces your Afro-Latina roots?
AL: Of course I do! One of my goals is to finally learn Spanish, not just how to sing it but to speak it fluently. I didn’t grow up with Spanish as my first language but, I know that one day I would like to perform and write music that embraces my culture.
How can you use your platform to educate people on the Afro-Latinidad experience?
AL: I would really love to be one of those artists that really sheds light on our community. Overseas as well as here in the states. There’s so many young people that come from these backgrounds, so many young Afro- Latinos that would love a great representation of their culture. And I just want to do it justice especially for the Panamanians.
Music has a way to get people to pay attention to you and to hear what you have to say and I believe that my platform will be the perfect position to show people that I’m Afro- Latina, I’m Panamanian, I’m black, and we are all these things, and this is what we’re capable of, and this is what we contribute to the culture and the world; and to let our people know that they can too!
Whats next for ALush music?
AL: I am currently finishing up my debut EP, which is due to be released really soon. My first single off of my EP, Simple, will be released May 19. I’m really excited and it’s been a long time coming, and I just hope everyone enjoys my music and rocks with it and continues to support me in the long haul.
Check out some performances below from Alexandrea.
For more Alexandrea Lushington , Follow her on:
Personal Website :www.alexandrealushington.com
Facebook : @AlexandreaLushington
Twitter : @Alushmusic
Instagram : @Alushmusic