As Digital Media Director for The Futuro Media Group, producers of Latino USA, one of my more enjoyable tasks is to monitor and analyze the real-time social and online reactions to our latest podcasts. This week, the team produced Lady Liberty (headline h/t @antoniacere), a show that introduced us to some very liberated women. While many of you showered kudos for our segments on Cherríe Moraga, Nicaragua’s Hall of Femme, Princess Nokia and producer Daisy Rosario‘s latest installment of Diversity in Geekdom, it was a story about an LGBT mariachi group from Los Angeles that became our most popular story of the week, accounting for 50% of all the web traffic to this site in the last 72 hours.
Which led me to ask: how did this happen?
Let me get the non-scientific answer out of the way first. Producer Marlon Bishop had a theory about why the Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Ángeles story was so popular. “Mariachi always does well for us,” Marlon said. And as much as I wanted to let the analytics do the talking, Marlon’s right: Mariachi Opera and Mariachis in Alaska are both two very popular stories, but (now having looked at the analytics) the web traffic for this weekend’s LGBT mariachi story in the last four days was ten times greater than any other mariachi story from previous shows.
It’s LGBT Pride Month. I can speak for the team and specifically for producer Camilo Vargas (who produced the Mariachi Arcoiris segment): we didn’t intentionally plan to publish this segment during LGBT Pride Month, but it’s safe to conclude that some of the interest in the story came from greater awareness of the month. Yet, even with that, it’s still not the real reason.
Facebook. We promote all our latest stories on social channels, including Twitter and Tumblr. Yet, no matter how many places we share our segments, Facebook continues to be the place receive the most impact. Such was this case with this mariachi story. Here is where it stands as of this posting in terms of shares and likes.
The comments from users were mostly positive too, which didn’t hurt either. Once you start getting the comments (and yes, not all of them were positive), a conversation starts. People come back to your site. More conversation. Rinse and repeat.
One or two of the comments we received on our site wanted to clarify one part of this entire story. Let me share what two readers had to say about Natalia Melendez and how we described her as “the world’s first openly transgender woman in the history of mariachi:”
“I have to say Teresita la Campesina sang as an openly trans woman in mariachis from the 1970s to the 2000s in San Francisco’s Mission District, so Natalia is not the first openly trans mariachi in history, but I wish her and Mariachi Arcoiris the best!”
“Yes.!!!! Teresita sang mexican music for many years in the Mission district, and she was GREAT.!!!!!”
The history of Teresita la Campensina is not that well-known, and we thank those who mentioned her name to us. You can read more about Teresita in this chapter of an oral history anthology as well as in these excerpts. In fact, the story of Teresita la Campensina interested our team so much, that we plan to see if our team can produce a segment about her as another example of an untold history. Nonetheless, from what we could read and discover, Teresita was a trans woman in ranchera and mariachi, while both Mariachi Arcoiris and Natalia identify her as a trans mariachi singer, a charra. That, however, does not mean that we are downplaying the accomplishment of Teresita and what her story meant in the context of the Mission’s community. For us, those reader comments have led to another future topic to consider.
One more thing about this week’s show. When some Facebook fans saw that we were promoting a segment about Cherríe Moraga and the impact of This Bridge Called My Back, you were all wondering why we didn’t include Gloria Anzaldúa, the book’s other co-editor. Anzaldúa passed away in 2004, but our story did mention both Anzaldúa and Moraga.