“Cumbiatón is a party for the hood by the hood, it’s lead by women, queer, and trans people of color … It is a party where you can come and be your most authentic self and rejoice in your own existence.” DJ Sizzle Fantastic knows that at a time when we’re all feeling more isolated from one another, having a sense of community and a place where you can shed your layers and be your authentic self is vital. That’s why when COVID-19 threatened to put a pause on Cumbiatón, a haven so many had come to rely on as a safe space of self-expression, Sizzle, and her Cumbiatón co-founder Normz La Oaxaqueña stepped it up and got creative.
“Shifting our production from being out with people in real life 3D to Instagram or Twitch … it’s definitely been a journey,” says Sizzle in the above video, “But I think the love for the music and the love for my community fueled me to keep going and to keep learning.”
Prior to the pandemic, the Cumbiatón crew had taken their intergenerational movement from the LA barrio of Boyle Heights, California to communities in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, acting as a vessel of art and music, and a healing place for people looking to belong.
“Cumbiatón is a space for you to come and be yourself and you will be loved and respected for that,” says La Oaxaqueña, and Cumbiatón’s ability to weather a pandemic proves just how essential that sense of community they were able to foster truly is. Every aspect of Cumbiatón is rooted in community, with various collaborators and contributors on a first name basis with Sizzle and La Oaxaqueña, whether it’s Armando Ibanez, or Monica Medellin capturing the electrifying scene on the ground in full-motion video, Paolo J. Riveros documenting the nightlife in still images, or its the music by Discos Resaca Collective pumping out of the loudspeakers, Cumbiatón is truly a communal effort built from the heart by people invested in the movement.
Get to know the people behind Cumbiatón in the above video, which is the second episode of our Los Ángeles series.