From Dua Lipa to Rosalía: The Meme-fication of the Modern Pop Star
On the first day of her concert tour in the UK, the 19-year-old singer released another song titled “Bella,” a lyric that’s just what she and millions of her 15 million followers were waiting for.
So far, I’ve been posting about women of color in the pop world. (My first entry on the subject was on April 8, 2011) I haven’t quite gotten to the gender stuff yet. In the meantime, pop music has taken all sorts of turns that could only be predicted from a population of mostly white people.
In “Bella,” Rosalía goes from a sultry, dark-eyed diva with a sexy French accent to a young Latina who could pass as a white woman on television and who’s so good she’s being described as the “Latin pop singer with the best voice.”
I’ve been saying this since the early ’90s: I’m not going to write a column on pop music when the music industry will pay me enough money to be a singing waitress.
But for the past two months, I’ve been living it and have been writing about it every chance I get. Because I’ve been observing Rosalía in her tour-de-force, career-making “Bella” tour.
What’s happening in pop culture right now is an explosion of gender fluidity in the field of music.
As has happened in many other arenas, the pop girl is morphing into the pop girl, the pop guy, or the pop boy as I like to call them.
And as I watch Rosalía (who is now 17) on stage, I see a woman who could be the next Britney Spears or Christina Perri, who’s still in the process of defining herself as a woman in her own image.
That’s what makes her so great: She’s both black and white. She’s a Latina who looks like a white woman and has the stage presence of an Angelina Jolie or an Eva Mendes.
The difference between the Latina teen pop phenoms like Luis Fonsi, the Colombian singer of “