Jennifer Arriaga's Journey Through Music
Jennifer Arriaga grew up in Long Beach, California, but after getting accepted to UCSC, she moved to Santa Cruz to figure out what she wanted to pursue. Her first year in college wasn’t so great and felt so lost that she even contemplated leaving UCSC.
After finding the radio station at school, she found a community there who she loved. Jennifer found her safe space and enjoyed the station’s mission to provide diverse programming.
She then was given her own radio show at UCSC. Jennifer wanted to be different than others and wanted to play music that she felt Santa Cruz wasnt putting a spotlight too.
She wanted to play music that was more cultural.
Her show, No Me Degas , was broadcast every Tuesday for an hour and a half and was used to play music from women of color artists/Latinx woman who helped illuminate her culture to her audience.
While doing her research, she found inspiration in a lot of Latinx artists who try to illuminate woman through music and found that she wanted to do the same.
After doing No Me Degas, one of her friends asked her to join Queen Beats, another radio show.
“Queen beats was a super revoluntionary show because no one was playing hip hop on the radio and no one was playing hip hop by woman,” said Arriaga.
While writing for the school newspaper she interviewed The Socialist Club, a group that wanted to create platforms that foster a free and liberating space for communites and individuals that are tired of homophobia, islamophobia, patriarchy, racism, and other injustices that create oppressive forces .
Soon after, the group asked her to join. It was through The Social Club that she really began getting into music and did shows with them every week at the Catalyst Club.
“Its really beautiful to see so many people of color to unite in this space,” she said.
Her routine consisted of going to work at 6am, going to school and then going to the club to perform. Since music and the Socialist Club was her love she didnt mind the schedule.
“My whole life revolved around music in order to keep me sane.”
Apart from this they participated in activist causes. They donated all profits they made to Planned Parenthood, Camp Kesem, Kapor Center for Social Impact, and the Black Student Union.
They also had different PSAs to spotlight different issues that occur in society, such as domestic violence.
“Its really beautiful to see so many people of color to unite in this space.”
Now graduated, Arriaga hopes to pursue a future in music.
“I want to change the way that we listen and experience music,” she said. “Theres so much music out there and a lot of it isnt represented.”
Jennifer is an inspiration for people of color to never be ashamed of their culture. She is an example of doing everything with passion and to follow your dreams regardless of the obstacles.