2018 Pride Issue - Featured Stories - Lila Star: America's First Transgender Latina Rapper
When I first heard of Lila Star, I was intrigued. “The First Trans Latina Rapper,” as she was billed, caught my eye and imagination. I could not wait to talk to her. Excited to speak with Star, who will be performing at The Pride & Equality Magazine 15th Anniversary Ball on September 14th, we settled down for our Q&A, drinks in hand, and began to chat like two old friends.
Star is making a name for herself, working with big names from Rupaul’s Drag Race and taking the title of the first Trans Latina Rapper, a title she is very proud to claim. Her journey started some time ago with a video that paved her career. “About four years ago, when I made the video for my song “The Truth.” The director didn’t even know I was trans until much later. I have since worked with the director, Nestor, many times.” The title of “first trans-Latina rapper” is an important one to Star and she is proud to claim it. “There is no one doing what I am doing. If there is, she isn’t speaking up. When you are younger you don’t realize that you have something special, a unique voice. I am a triple threat. I want to express myself any way I can.”
Lila is the first rap or hip-hop artist to appear in our publication and taking the mantle of LGBTQ’s first Latina female artist is a title she wears proudly. When it comes to how she is accepted by the hip-hop community, the experience has brought some harsh feelings into the limelight. “Well, I think it’s sad,” says Star. “The hip-hop and gay communities have always influenced each other with different slang and fashion and such. I have had to deal with a lot of prejudice in the hip-hop community with people who are not supportive because they are dealing with their own sexuality. I got to where I am all on my own. I plan to knock down any doors that come before me on my own. It makes me more driven to prove that I can do it.”
When it comes to Star’s influences when creating her music she shares that everyday living is always the best way to create. “The usual life experiences. When I grew up Lil’ Kim and Tupac were my saviors. They were my hip hop Gods. As I get older just the lessons life has taught you.” She continued to share her love for Lil’ Kim when it comes to how the sometimes controversy artist’s style appears in her videos. “I am the trans-Lil’ Kim! When I was a kid I was a regular church-goer but my alter ego is a bad girl. It helps me express my sexuality. I can be her unapologetically and it is easier to say things you really feel.”
Lila is truly making a name for herself, recently collaborating with Drag Race alumni, Shea Coulee, and season 10 contestant, Vixen, on the song Cocky. The video, a powerful, fierce form of expression, leaving those who watch it wanting to strut their stuff after viewing. A childhood connection led to the collaboration. “Shea and I met because we are both from Chicago and we got to talking and were both dealing with losing our dads. ‘Cocky’ just kind of came out of those talks.”
When it comes to Star’s aesthetic, it should be no surprise that she is a fan of fashion. “I love fashion! It’s been a childhood inspiration. “ I love clothes. Growing up, I would play with pieces. I was scared growing up in the hood - being half Puerto Rican. Everyone was uber masculine. So I got to play with boy sides. I love thrifting. I am obsessed with designers. They make me feel expensive and beautiful and diva-like.”
Star has a few upcoming projects on the way. “I just completed a short film called “Lake Shore Drive” and have a role in an upcoming movie that I can not talk about just yet.”
Lila Star is determined to be a powerful element in the music scene and if her attitude and style have anything to say about it, we’ll be seeing more of her in the future.
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