the kids of mexico city, straight up

Amy Troost takes to the streets of Mexico City, to meet a generation of young Mexicans looking to change the world.

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Jan 8 2018, 9:15am

This article originally appeared in The Sounding Off Issue, no. 350, Winter 2017.

Emiliano Cruz, 19

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? Noise. What would you like to change about the world? I think the list of things I would like to change would be endless. What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? The people. There’s more variety than people think. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? Sadly there are few things that inspire me from my country, but certainly the people of Mexico do.

Samantha Menchaca, 22

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? Death, inequality, crisis. What song makes you want to start a revolution and why? I don’t care about revolution, I believe in resistance through subcultures to survive in this system. What would you like to change about the world? The world is perfect, humans are the problem. What can we do if we are the problem? We need to change in every way. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? Everything you can see in the streets.

Diego Gamaliel, 20

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? Raindrops crashing on the ground. What song makes you want to start a revolution and why? I haven’t heard it yet, but when I do, you’ll see... What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? Since it is hard for me to answer this one I asked Google for help and this is what it said: In the minds of most people, Mexico is usually seen as a beach resort destination or a corrupt narco-state. What would you like to change about the world and how? Get rid of private property. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? Kindergarten murals.

María González Rojas, 17

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? Reggaeton, because of the freedom it brings to people both listening and dancing to it. What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? Mexico lives with the stigma of being traditional, we have beautiful and old traditions and festivities, but we’re not just that. Mexico is reinventing itself all the time. I love tradition, but we are more than our past. Every day things are being created, and that must be celebrated too. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? The youth. We’re in the middle of a transformation as a country, and this shows in the music and all the arts. This makes us a very rich society.

Alan Balthazar Del Angel, 1988-2017 "Performer, model, muse, beautiful soul. Thank you for being a source of inexhaustible inspiration, you will last forever in our memory. R.I.P."

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? Reggaeton, New Perreo. What would you like to change about the world? We need to stop global warming and end hunger in the world. We need to work seriously on these problems. What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? The wealth and the poverty. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? The different types of people, the diversity, the art movement, and the nightlife.

Aureliano Alvarado Faesler, 19

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? For me, without contest it’s Yo Quiero Chupar by Super Lamas. What song makes you want to start a revolution and why? Get Got by Death Grips, it perfectly describes a reckless night out. What would you like to change about the world? I’d like to get rid of the Eurocentric capitalism and western imperialism that’s destroying our world. What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? That we’re the ‘new Berlin’. Gentrification is toxic for our society. We’ve got a long way to go, and no need to identify with the first world.

Natalia, 20

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? The beeping of car horns and reggaeton. What would you like to change about the world? I dream of a system where regardless of how much money you have, your religion, sexuality, nationality or background, you receive a good education. What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? We all wear sombreros, drink tequila and eat tacos every day! What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? I think it is inspiring how the young, talented and creative people are changing how others perceive us. In Mexico there is a lot of talent and diversity that needs to be made known.

Havi Reyes, 23

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? It sounds like noisy reggaeton and sad cumbia. Fear of alarms after the earthquake. Transphobic slurs and pick up lines. So many voices on the streets. What would you like to change about the world? Get rid of everything that means one human can dominate another. What’s the biggest misconception about life in Mexico? Life here is easy and cheap, or that’s what rich people from first world countries think. My life isn’t easy or cheap. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? The people around me fascinate me. All of Mexico’s different cultures are rich and broad and beautiful. I think if we weren’t fighting just to survive in a capitalist system or against our corrupt government, we’d be a great country.

Marcela Velázquez, 19

What’s the sound of Mexico right now? People shouting against injustices, marches, traffic, a group of salsa musicians in the metro Hidalgo, government reports with vain promises and false notices, a saxophone coming out of the subway Chilpancingo, a boy asking for money, Mon Laferte songs, the TV, bullets at two in the morning, serenatas from time to time. It sounds of thousands of things. What song makes you want to start a revolution and why? This Place Was a Shelter by Olafur Arnalds. It leaves me thinking a lot about the situation of the world, eager to go out and fight together with those who need it.

Gerardo Rocha, 24

What's the sound of Mexico right now? War, blood and drugs. What would you like to change about the world? End racism and violence. What do you find most inspiring about Mexico at the moment? Northern culture, piracy and narco aesthetics.