Musician Leafar Seyer is just one of several Latino musicians making social commentary
The Republican presidential nominee has inspired many artists to speak out
Musician Leafar Seyer has a message for Latinos who might feel singled out by what he sees as the divisive rhetoric in this presidential campaign: “Unidos jamas seran vencidos,” which means: “United, we will never be defeated.”
Seyer, whose real name is Rafael Reyes and who fronts the two-person electronic duo that is Prayers, said he didn’t start paying attention to politics until Latinos became the main issue of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s platform.
“When you’re being under attack, then you pay attention,” Seyer told CNN. “It wasn’t until Trump came into the scene that I started paying attention to more politics because I realized how it was affecting me and my community.”
As a Latino himself, Seyer said he felt he needed to make social commentary during his shows (and he’s performed before with punk rock band Downtown Boys) to get his fans to realize how he sees these issues concerning his community.
From the start of his campaign, Republican nominee Trump’s rhetoric has angered Mexican immigrants.
“When Mexico sends its people,” Trump said during his presidential announcement last year, “they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”
These words have followed Trump throughout his presidential campaign, and last month Trump took a trip to Mexico to visit with President Enrique Peña Nieto to try to make amends.
“To see communities on the border of Texas that are like, ‘We can’t be divided, we can’t be separate’ is so impactful,” said Downtown Boys singer Victoria Ruiz in a separate interview. “This is why we play music – so that we can participate.”
Downtown Boys is well known for weaving social issues into lyrics of their songs – with Ruiz leading efforts when she commands the stage with her microphone.
The band takes long-held issues and challenges them, as punk bands are famous for.
“I think it’s impossible not to be watching some of these figure heads and how they’re expressing a kind of systemic hatred,” said Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, the guitarist in Downtown Boys. “It’s reached a fever point. It’s of course impossible not to be paying attention to someone like Donald Trump.”
As of 2015, there are 55 million Latinos in the US, or 17% of the US population. And in the most recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll, only 24% of Hispanic voters opted for Trump, while 65% backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“What we really try to do is open it up, always try and create more dialogue and create more power to confront a lot of things that are holding a lot of people back right now,” Ruiz said.