GQZ (Centzi): Well as you all may know all good things have to come to an end and all things evolve or grow and that is exactly what happened after the Cihuatl project was done. About a year prior to Cihuatl Tonali dropping its first Album “No Necesistamos pedir permiso para ser libres”, Eyerie and I already had a project in mind just brewing and waiting for the right opportunity. We wanted to do a reggae /Hiphop project with live music, something totally different than what the Cihuatl Tonali project was doing. When the album finally dropped Eyerie and I were ready for our next Project “Guerrilla Queenz.”
At first we were just ganna call it Centzi & Eyerie in thetradition of the beautiful reggae duo of Althea & Donna, but then I was inspired by this Jamaican Poet by the name of Cherry Natural with her moving piece entitled “Calling all Guerrilla Queens”. In her piece she spoke out about how many times in armed struggles woman are not given the credit for their efforts and also how important their roles are in rebuilding their peoples after War. This was the exact message that we wanted to bring with music and activism. It was time for our Guerrilla Queenz to be paid homage to and for a forum of this style to be further developed as Revolutionary music. We launched Guerrilla Queenz in the Summer of 2007 with a debut at the Vault 350 in Long Beach and since than its been nothing but spiting fire and truth. Sometimes to much for some closed minded peeps to handle.
Jehuniko: I go to many places around the US and around the world. The movement in LA is like no other, no matter how splintered it can be, the energy of conscious Raza hip hop in LA is so special and extremely powerful. How has your journey been as Chicanas in LA doing hip hop?
GQz: (eyerie) There’s is def something very special about the hiphop scene in LA & the mix of the movement with hiphop has propelled it to new heights. As wombmyn of color in the hiphop comeUnity it has been quite an interesting journey to say the least. We have been blessed to have reached the right folks with our message. There have always been many obstacles for wombmyn of color to break to through in just about any type of art be it visual or performance, however the greatest purveyors of culture nourishing this comeUnity have been our own wombmyn. We find it is essential to include a feminine perspective always.
What is your opinion on all the inner-fighting within our community?
GQZ: (centzi) I have to say that it is the outcome of our colonization and the success of our oppressors to keep us divided and conquered as a people. First and foremost if we want to call ourselves a community the first thing we need to do is stop thinking as individuals and start being a true community. A community that holds each one accountable for their actions and for the actions that they are not doing. We have to be active in shaping our destiny. We must be able to bring down those borders in our minds, the prejudices that have been instilled in us and the lack of self control to make the necessary changes. We need to heal, educate and in doing so liberate our people of the conditioning that has been done to us for over 500 years. We must all see beyond the obstacles that they have put before us such as land borders, poverty, addiction, abuse, self hate, criminalization, incarceration and prejudices.
We must be able to see that we are Original Peoples of these so called Americas and that we ourselves divide ourselves by identifying ourselves as Latinos,Hispanics or even Salvadoreans, Mexicans and etc. We are Native, Original People of this continent. We don’t need to identify with our colonizers! We recognize our Nations and not our Colonizers!!!! When we can recognize this as a community then we canstop all the inner-fighting and start all the inner-healing in order to be a true Native CommUnity!!!!!! GQZ say to all our relations “Recognize your Nation and not your Colonizer!!!
What is wrong with our movement and what is right with our movement?
GQZ: What’s right with our movement we can say is that the spirit is there but we need to improve on our discipline and solidify ourselves as individuals. We pray that our people can see the bigger picture and stop living in this illusion. This illusion that blinds my people from seeing whats really happening. We feel like people live to comfortable here and thats why not much change is being made. If you look at whats happening around the world to my brothers and sisters of color its heartbreaking to see how the respect for human life means nothing to those “shot callers”, everything is $ for them at all cost. We ask our selves when will we as a people say enough is enough and take our rightful place as defenders of our earth mother, because whether we believe it or not we are responsible for all the damage done. And as the saying goes, “If your not a part of the solution then you are a part of the problem.”
As I mentioned, I care not for the politics of the movement. I am motivated by the truest sense of community, in the name of unification of our people. LA is special because there is a healthy scene so what is currently going in your scene?
GQZ: We defenitly see the people that are about “It” living and being about “It!!!!” On the other hand we also see the people that just talk about “It” keep on just talkin about”It” We don’t have time to be in a struggle with our own people……..we live in a manner that already is a struggle on the daily to survive. So brothers and sisters who understand this are already building strong communties and creating a strong support system for each other. This scene is constantly evolving hopefully one day it will be a rEvolution for all to finally live free.
I remember seeing you ladies perform a few years back, tell us about the structure of your live show, your message, the dynamics of your live performance. Our music & message first & foremost for the comeUnity, we like to say that it is our prayers & we are here to share. We approach music & palabra for what it is, sacred like our earth mother. We will always speak the truth even if it is threatening to some. It’s part of our “performance” to educate & therefore we are not entertainers, we are mothers of culture, teachers.. we speak that motha tounge & beat with the rhythm of the heart to educate the youth. Everything we do comes from the the corazon for our pueblo. We are here for Edu’tainment… to speak up for those who can’t & fight for all who know the truth will be the only thing that sets us all free.
What music do you have available? Currently we are recording our first full length album-::OUT2INFILTR8:: working with some very crucial artist worldwide, because like aforementioned we recognize NO BORDERS! And right now we have an ep that will be available soon for download on bandcamp.com & we will be posting all our material via internet soon come. We will print a limited copy of CD’s with unique art by fellow artivist & are still taking submissions for future prints
Share with us some powerful memories of your journey along your musical road. GQZ: (Centzi) I love it when a grandma of the community approaches us and hugs us with tears in her eyes and she says to us, “Thank you, thank you for telling our story……you don’t know what that means to me…or when a little girl looks at me when I’m performing and she says that she wants to do what i do. (Eye) The most powerful of experience is the present moment when someone tells us: your words inspire us, your music uplifted our spirits, you speak for those who can not, thank you for speaking the truth. Its a humbling experience, the blessings of the comeUnity.
Last CD you bought? A mixtape off some youth after one of our shows.
Give us some insight in regards to your creation process. (who does your production, allies/who is down with the team) Gqz: So far we’ve had the honor of working with familia & friends.. The recent works will include international artist/producers such as Vnrable:http://www.facebook.com/pages/VnrableQuilombo-Arte/102012236531056 who produces with the collective Quilombo world wide & local producers as well, youth like Eyerie’s brother http://www.myspace.com/ludcrew/friends who produced Stolen Lives of the Queens of the mic.
What artists are you currently feeling? Local, international, upliftment, foward movement music!
I saw you on the Guerilla Republik website, tell me bout that affiliation and what it means to you. GQZ: Well its all about unifying with like minded Peoples and building community. We all share a common history of enslavement and so supporting each other is how we will make some change, some progress!!!