South by Southwest 2019 has offered many fun and inspiring moments. As I attended shows throughout the week, I kept finding myself in awe of the many strong women who dominated the stages. It's by no means a complete list, but here are five women from around the world who inspired me simply by being unapologetically authentic.
Brazil's Karol Conka: She's blazed a trail for black female rappers and singers in Brazil, but also for the young women who look up to her. She raps about self esteem and strutted on stage Friday wearing a bold, bright yellow and black coat and multicolored jumpsuit. She was continuously smiling and laughing on stage, which instantly became contagious among her fans. And when sound issues cut off her music, she didn't let it shake her.
Hawaiian artist Taimane: I didn't see anyone at the festival doing anything close to what she does on stage. She shreds on a ukulele and rocks everything from Beethoven to Led Zeppelin. Somehow she manages to not only rock out but connect the audience with meaningful Hawaiian traditions and dances.
Colombia's Mabiland: Medellín-based rapper and singer Mabiland exudes passion and soul. Her music has an urgency and it doesn’t matter if audiences don’t understand her Spanish-language rhymes. They can be felt. She’s the goosebump-inducing artist whose poetic songs about love and life are therapeutic and cleansing for the spirit.
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New Jersey's Ambar Lucid: She may still be a teenager, but the singer-songwriter’s stage presence, extraordinary depth, and powerful vocals blew me away. She's the future of bilingual indie rock, and I can't wait to see how bright her star shines as she evolves.
Mexico's Ximena Sariñana: She had a baby 10 months ago, released an album and now kicked off the first leg of her latest tour at SXSW. Oh, and she brought her daughter with her to Austin. Come on, that's just shero-level stuff. Not to mention her new album is all about female empowerment. All hail, Ximena!